WASHINGTON: What are China’s intentions in the South China Sea? It’s a question intelligence analysts, diplomats and the senior leadership of the United States and its Pacific allies are all asking in the wake of a range of increasingly belligerent and threatening comments and actions by the rising global power.
Perhaps most worrying is that the Kyodo News Agency and other Japanese outlets have reported variations of a story that China’s ambassador to Tokyo Cheng Yonghua said in late June that the Japanese Self Defense Force would “cross a red line” if they took part in Freedom of Navigation operations in the South China Sea. “(China) will not concede on sovereignty issues and is not afraid of military provocations,” Cheng is reported to have told Japanese officials.
Then Chinese military aircraft, including a bomber, penetrated South Korean airspace yesterday. The region includes part of the Chinese ADIZ declared in 2013. South Korea expanded its own ADIZ as a counter to Beijing. No country accepts China’s assertion of the ADIZ.