Beijing (CNN)A week after a CNN team aboard a U.S. Navy P8-A Poseidon heard the Chinese military issue warnings eight times to a U.S. surveillance plane flying over disputed waters in the South China Sea, a senior official with the People’s Liberation Army has called Chinese response “professional” and suggested Washington is playing up the issue with ulterior motives.
“For a long time, the U.S. military has been conducting close-in surveillance of China and the Chinese military has been making such necessary, legal and professional response — why did this story suddenly pop up in the past weeks? Has the South China Sea shrunk?” Senior Col. Yang Yujun asked rhetorically at a press conference Tuesday.
“A certain country has increased the frequency of its close-in surveillance of China and that has caused a problem,” he added. “Some people have been intentionally and repeatedly hyping this topic. Their purpose is to smear the Chinese military and dramatize regional tensions. And I’m not ruling it out that this is being done to find an excuse for certain country to take actions in the future.”