News / Asia

China Conducts Military Exercise in South China Sea

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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs