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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid