News / Asia

China Conducts Military Exercise in South China Sea

TEXT SIZE - +

China says it has held a large scale military exercise in the South China Sea that coincided with drills in the Sea of Japan by the United States and South Korea.  

State media say China's military forces this week conducted the largest exercise of its kind since the founding of the military, known as the People's Liberation Army. The official Xinhua news agency reports numerous warships, submarines, and combat aircraft took part in live fire exercises held Monday in the South China Sea.

The exercises, which were not made public for three days, were overseen by senior military leaders, including the army's chief of staff, Chen Bingde. China's official Central Television quoted Chen as saying they must watch the situation in the South China Sea carefully and prepare for potential military conflicts.

Regional tensions

Analysts say the show of military capability will raise concerns among Southeast Asian nations that have competing claims with China for territory in the South China Sea.  

Ian Storey, with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, said the exercise was a message to the United States that China is upset with its getting involved in the territorial disputes.  But Storey predicted the military exercises will also be viewed negatively by others in the region.

"For the countries of Southeast Asia and elsewhere, including countries like Japan, they will see this as another example of China's increasingly assertive behavior in the South China Sea," said Storey.  

China has been exercising its claims to the South China Sea by seizing Vietnamese fishing boats and pressuring western oil companies not to do business with Vietnam.  The U.S. navy says last year Chinese ships harassed one of its vessels in international waters that China claims as territory.

Beijing's military buildup

China has built up a navy base on its southern Hainan island raising concerns it aims to project power in the important shipping lanes. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also lay claim to islands and waters in the South China Sea.

China has increased its percentage of military spending by double digits every year for more than a decade, raising concerns about Beijing's intentions. China says the spending is aimed at modernizing its military but maintains a historic claim to Taiwan, which it says must one day be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

China's actions have increased tensions in the region says Carl Thayer from Australia's University of New South Wales.  

"Whatever China sees that it argues is defensive vis-a-vis the United States or Taiwan is causing security anxieties in Southeast Asia... So this is a time, I don't want to be a doomsayer, but this is a time where the warning bells should go on, quite early, to say this is time for the regional architecture to try to address these tensions and prevent them from getting worse," Thayer said.

U.S. offers diplomatic solution

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week told a regional security forum in Hanoi that Washington was willing to facilitate multilateral dialogue on the disputes.  She said the U.S. opposed the use of coercion and threats or the use of force. China responded by calling the comments an attack on China and an attempt to internationalize issues it wants addressed bilaterally.

A spokesman for China's ministry of defense, Geng Yansheng, on Friday repeated objections to Clinton's comments and China's claims to the South China Sea.  But Geng said that China would not interfere with foreign ships and aircraft passing through the area as long as they were in compliance with international law.  

The drills came as the South Korean and American militaries conducted similar exercises in the Sea of Japan. The joint exercises were a show of force to North Korea, which Seoul and Washington blamed for sinking a South Korean war ship and killing 46 sailors.  Pyongyang denies it was responsible and both North Korea and China objected to the military drills.  

It was not clear if the Chinese military exercises were planned in advance or were a response to those by the United States and South Korea. But, the official China Daily newspaper linked the two, saying the Chinese maneuvers were just one of many the PLA carried out before and during the South Korea-U.S. maneuvers.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid