Sunday, May 22, 2016

Beijing lodges formal complaint over US spy plane flight in the South China Sea


Beijing lodges formal complaint over US spy plane flight in the South China Sea


Monday, 25 May, 2015



Beijing has lodged a complaint with Washington over a US spy plane that flew over parts of the disputed South China Sea last week.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing that China urged the US to correct mistakes and avoid “irresponsible words and deeds” about the issue of the South China Sea.
The US surveillance jet flew over areas where China is building artificial islands. Washington has called the flight entirely appropriate, but China has said it endangered the security of its islands and reefs.
A Chinese state-owned newspaper, the Global Times, said on Monday that “war is inevitable” between China and the United States over the South China Sea unless Washington stops demanding Beijing halt the building of artificial islands.
The newspaper, an influential nationalist tabloid owned by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper the People’s Daily, said in an editorial that China was determined to finish its construction work, calling it the country’s most important bottom line.
The editorial comes amid rising tensions over China’s land reclamation in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea.
China last week said it was strongly dissatisfied after the US spy plane flew over areas near the reefs, with both sides accusing each other of stoking instability.
China should carefully prepare for the possibility of a conflict with the United States, the newspaper said.
“If the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea,” the newspaper said.
“The intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as ’friction’.”
Such commentaries are not official policy statements, but are sometimes read as a reflection of government thinking. The Global Times is among China’s most nationalist newspapers.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which US$5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.
The United States has routinely called on all claimants to halt reclamation in the Spratlys, but accuses China of carrying out work on a scale that far outstrips any other country.
Washington has also vowed to keep up air and sea patrols in the South China Sea amid concerns among security experts that China might impose air and sea restrictions in the Spratlys once it completes work on its seven artificial islands.
China has said it had every right to set up an Air Defence Identification Zone in the South China Sea but that current conditions did not warrant one.
TheGlobal Timessaid “risks are still under control” if Washington takes into account China’s peaceful rise.
“We do not want a military conflict with the United States, but if it were to come, we have to accept it,” the newspaper said.