Wilkerson on Heightened Tensions in the South China SeaSHARMINI PERIES, TRNN: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.
Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a US military aircraft over the South China Sea on Tuesday. The incident happened in international air space. The US maritime reconnaissance aircraft carried out a routine patrol in the area. Also indicating that Chinese maneuvers were dangerous as it forced the US aircraft to drop 200 feet to avoid collision. Later on Thursday, Hong Lee from the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to the US allegations saying they were not true. The US plane flew close to Hainan Island two Chinese aircrafts followed and monitored at a safe distance. There were no maneuvers from the Chinese aircraft. Their actions were completely professional and safe said the Chinese foreign ministry. Several nations claimed territory in the resource rich South China Sea. Tensions in the region have increased recently with China and the US trading accusations over military activity.
On to talk about all of this is Colonel Larry Wilkerson. He was a former chief of staff for the US Secretary of Collin Powell and he’s currently an adjunct professor of government at the college of William and Mary.
Larry thank you so much for joining us today.
LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Thanks for having me Sharmini. It’s probably also important to point out I was Collin Powell’s chief assistant or principle assistant when he was chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. So a little military bit of it there.
PERIES: So Larry tell us what all of this means, this recent heightened tensions and what this adds to those tensions?
WILKERSON: Well as you probably are aware we’ve negotiated an agreement much like the Incidents at Sea Agreement the so called INCSEA agreement that we have with the Soviets with the Chinese. So there is a way to respond now, it’s called the Code for Unplanned Encounters, CUES, an acronym and that’s what’s supposed to govern incidents like this. I have to assume that it did play a part because it didn’t wind up in any kind of casualties or any kind of damage to the airplanes. That said even with these kinds of agreements worked out at the highest levels you have problems and you have problems with the individual aviators, you got problems with the individual aircraft themselves and profiles, and even problems with the commanders who send them out and are constantly pushing the envelopes.