Beijing is telling the United States to get lost as China continues its construction of new air bases in the South China Sea. The US Navy has been conducting patrols across disputed waters on the grounds of keeping free navigation in one of the world’s most traveled sea lanes.
China has been telling the United States to stay away from the disputed waters for quite some time. This time, however, the message came from the Hainan-based National Institute of South China Sea Studies.
According to Forbes, the Beijing-backed think tank reports that the American navy and air forces carried out several surveillance patrols. They revealed that in 2015 alone, the US has carried out more than 700 patrols in the area.
China Preepared To Set Up An Air Defense Identification Zone In The South China Sea
Officials from the institute also warned that Beijing is prepared to set up an Air Defense Identification Zone in the area unless Washington withdraws its military from the region. The United States has yet to issue a statement regarding this recent statement from China.
Beijing might be spouting things like diplomacy and restraint, but actions speak louder than words. Because while they call out other countries who are building structures on the disputed islands, China itself has been building bases on the islands at an alarming rate.
Chinese Magazine: Graphic Showing Of Chinese Defense Plan For South China Sea
According to National Interest, a graphic insert from the June 2016 issue of Chinese naval magazine “Naval and Merchant Ships” showed a disturbing glimpse of the future for the region. In the graphic is a map showing three of China’s airstrips built in the disputed Spratlys Islands.
Alongside them are overlapping arcs of air defenses. These are composed of HQ-9 air defense systems and YJ-62 truck launched anti-ship cruise missiles. These weapons have a range of 120 miles and 190 miles respectively, easily capable of taking out ships and aircraft long before they can get a glimpse of the airstrips.
Chinese J-11 and JH-7 jets are also included in the graphic suggesting that they will also be part of the island’s defense network. With a range of 930 miles, the jets cover nearly all of the disputed territory.
However, the most disturbing part of the graphic shows what appears to be a burning aircraft carrier. Having been apparently sunk by missiles launched from Chinese frigates, could this image be a challenge to the United States? Is China saying that it’s the dominant power in the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole? Let us know what you think in the comments below.