Posts Tagged ‘PLA’

Philippines Seeks Dialogue With China Over South China Sea Construction, Militarization — “The Philippines will not be giving up a single inch of its territory in the South China Sea.” (Unless it’s it too late)

January 5, 2018
Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) – January 5, 2018 – 5:46pm

Aerial photos aired by China Central Television show the completed construction of facilities on Fiery Cross Reef, one of Beijing’s artificial islands in the Spratly Islands. CCTV via Asia Times

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/05/1774949/philippines-insists-dialogue-china-amid-completed-airbase-south-china-sea#zpal2hWeYuwAWwMw.99

MANILA, Philippines — Following recent reports that one of the Manila-claimed features in the South China Sea has been transformed into a fortified airbase, the Philippine government insists on pursuing dialogue with China.

“The Philippines pursues cordial but frank dialogue with concerned parties on the issue of the South China Sea through various bilateral and multilateral platforms,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television recently aired aerial photos of Fiery Cross or Kagitingan Reef in the Spratly Islands, which is now a 2.8-square kilometer airbase.

READ: Fiery Cross Reef transformed into Chinese airbase, says report

Hong Kong-based Asia Times reported that the island contains a runway long enough for H-6K strategic bombers to land. The artificial island also has a hospital and military installations.

Fiery Cross Reef, reportedly the third largest island in the contested waters, has become a logistics hub in support of Beijing’s sovereignty claim over the South China Sea, according to the report.

The DFA, however, reiterated that the Philippines will not give up its territory in the disputed region as stated by Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano before.

“Nevertheless, Secretary Cayetano has stated several times that the Philippines will not be giving up a single inch of its territory in the South China Sea,” the DFA added.

In its July 2016 ruling, the United Nations-backed tribunal agreed that Johnson Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Fiery Cross Reef are rocks. This means that the three features appear during high tide but cannot sustain habitation or economic life. They are allowed a 12-nautical mile territorial sea.

The tribunal also ruled that China violated its obligations under the UNCLOS to protect and preserve the marine environment with its island-building activities at Fiery Cross Reef.

RELATED: Palawan within range of China’s jets, missiles in South China Sea

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/05/1774949/philippines-insists-dialogue-china-amid-completed-airbase-south-china-sea#zpal2hWeYuwAWwMw.99

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

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South China Sea: Fiery Cross Reef transformed into Chinese airbase, says report

January 4, 2018
Aerial photos aired by China Central Television show the completed construction of facilities on Fiery Cross Reef, one of Beijing’s artificial islands in the Spratly Islands. CCTV via Asia Times

MANILA, Philippines — Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef, one of Beijing’s artificial islands in the Spratly Islands, has been transformed into a fortified airbase complete with military installations.

A yearend feature aired by Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television showed an aerial shot of Fiery Cross Reef which has transformed into a big island.

Hong Kong-based news site Asia Times reported that the island now features a 3,125-meter runway for 6K strategic bombers to land.

 This image provided by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe shows a satellite image of Fiery Cross ...This image provided by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe shows a satellite image of Fiery Cross Reef in Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, annotated by the source to show areas where China has conducted construction work above ground during 2017. Photo: AP

The island also has a hospital and military facilities including early warning radars and close-proximity weapons systems. More than 200 soldiers are also stationed on Fiery Cross, according to the report.

Telecommunications provider China Mobile and China Unicom have base stations on the island to provide 4.5G communications.

One of China’s “great wall of sand” in the South China Sea, Manila-claimed Fiery Cross Reef is now reportedly the third largest island in the contested waters.

In June 2015, Chinese online news agency Sina first released photos from the Fiery Cross Reef showing vegetable gardens, animals and female soldiers in a bid to assert dominance in the maritime area. The slideshow did not show photos of military structures and radar captured in satellite photos prior to the release of Beijing’s projects in the artificial island.

Beijing first test-landed two civilian aircraft in January 2016. The first visitors of the reef were wives and children of garrison soldiers and officers there.

Since then, the island has become a logistics hub for China.

In April 2016, China’s navy dispatched a military plane to Fiery Cross Reef to pick up injured construction workers.

The Department of Defense then said that China’s efforts of landing a military aircraft on the island were provocative. This occurred before the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a ruling on the Philippines’ arbitration against China, which invalidated Beijing’s nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea.

RELATED: More Chinese island-building? Rody relies on ‘good faith’

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/04/1774601/fiery-cross-reef-transformed-chinese-airbase-says-report

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

Taiwan demands immediate halt to new China flight routes

January 4, 2018

Beijing has cut off official communications with Taipei since Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen came to power in May 2016. (AFP)

TAIPEI: Taiwan on Thursday demanded China immediately close new flight routes launched close to the island, calling it a “reckless” and politically motivated move.

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The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced Thursday that it is opening four routes to help ease congestion in its airspace over the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from mainland China.
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But Taipei said Beijing had not consulted it over the move which “ignores flight safety and disrespects Taiwan.”
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“We believe … this is purposefully using civil aviation as a cover for improper intentions regarding Taiwan politics and even military affairs,” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement.
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Critics say that the main route in the dispute, M503, runs too close to the island’s airspace.
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China’s first attempt to open the route in 2015 sparked protests that prompted Beijing to move it closer to the mainland and use it only for north-to-south flights.
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“The rapid growth of flights in western Taiwan Strait airspace in recent years has caused increasingly serious delays,” CAAC said Thursday.
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The M503 can now be used for south-to-north flights too, it announced, adding the four new routes are only for civilian flights and that China will maintain technical communications with Taiwan.
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Taiwan’s defense ministry said Thursday that the military will intercept, warn and repel if necessary any planes that cross into Taiwanese airspace and threaten the island’s security.
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China and Taiwan split after a civil war in 1949 and the island has been self-ruled since. But Beijing still claims the island as part of its territory to be brought back into its fold — by force if necessary.
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Beijing has cut off official communications with Taipei since Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen came to power in May 2016, as it does not trust her traditionally pro-independence party.
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Beijing has also exerted military pressure on Taiwan’s airspace by stepping up drills around the island.
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China Tells Taiwan To Get Used To Chinese Military Harassment — Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen Says China military causing regional instability

December 28, 2017

BY  and Reuters
Newsweek
December 27, 2017

Taiwan will gradually get used to Chinese air force drills around the island, Beijing said on Wednesday, as Taiwan accused the mainland of posing a threat to its national security.

On Tuesday, Taipei said that frequent and increased Chinese military drills pose an “enormous threat” to Taiwan’s security, in an annual defence review, according to the South China Morning Post.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) carried out 16 drills near the self-governed island in the past year, said Taiwan’s defence ministry in a white paper this week. China’s military threat was growing by the day, it adde

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This photo taken on January 2, 2017 shows Chinese J-15 fighter jets on the deck of the Liaoning aircraft carrier during military drills in the South China Sea. Taiwan ‘Will Get Use’ to Military Encriclement Drills, says China, after 16 were carried out in 2017.GETTY

When asked about the continuing drills and the footage released by the air force, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) stated that it and the defense ministry had repeatedly said the exercises were routine.

“Everyone will slowly get used it,” TAO spokesman An Fengshan told a news briefing, without elaborating.

China considers Taiwan to be a rebellious province and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control. Taiwan is well armed, mostly with U.S. hardware, but has been seeking to purchase more high-tech equipment from Washington to defend itself from China.

Beijing suspects that Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, who leads the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, wants to maintain full-fledged independence for the island at all costs. Tsai says she wants to preserve peace with China but will defend Taiwan’s security and way of life.

Chinese state media has given broad coverage to “island encirclement” exercises near Taiwan this month, including showing pictures of Chinese bomber aircraft with what they said was Taiwan’s highest peak, Yushan, visible in the background.

Proudly democratic, Taiwan has shown no interest in being run by the mainland and its government has accused Beijing of not understanding democracy when it criticises Taipei.

http://www.newsweek.com/china-military-drills-threat-taiwan-get-used-them-759888

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Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen Says China military causing regional instability

TAIPEI (REUTERS) – China’s frequent military activity is causing regional instability, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Thursday (Dec 28), adding that the island’s forces have been keeping a close eye on what they are up to.

Ms Tsai, speaking to senior military officers in Taipei, said the island wanted peace but could “not have a single day without combat preparedness”.

“In this period of time, the frequent military activities of mainland China in East Asia have already affected safety and stability in the region to a certain extent,” Ms Tsai said.

“Our country has always been a contributor to safety and stability in the region, this is why the national army has to keep an eye on movements of the Chinese military and take appropriate actions when needed to guarantee the safety of the country and region.”

China considers self-ruled and democratic Taiwan to be its sacred territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring what it views as a wayward province under Chinese control.

China has taken an increasingly hostile stance towards Taiwan since Ms Tsai, from the island’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, won presidential elections last year.

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 Chinese H-6 bombers near Taiwan

Beijing suspects her of pushing for the island’s formal independence, a red line for China. Ms Tsai says she wants peace with the mainland, but that she will defend Taiwan’s security and way of life.

China’s air force has carried out 16 rounds of exercises close to Taiwan in the past year or so, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said in a white paper this week. China’s military threat was growing by the day, it warned.

Beijing has repeatedly said its drills, which have also taken place in the disputed South China Sea and the Sea of Japan (also known as the East Sea), are routine and not aimed at any third party.

China has warned Taiwan against “using weapons to refuse reunification” and its state media has given high profile to images of Chinese jets flying close to the island.

Tension rose this month when a senior Chinese diplomat threatened that China would invade Taiwan if any US warships made port visits there.

Taiwan is well equipped with mostly US-made weapons, but has been pressing Washington to sell more advanced equipment.

The United States is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, to China’s distaste.

Proudly democratic Taiwan has shown no interest in being run by autocratic China, and Taiwan’s government has accused Beijing of not understanding what democracy is about when it criticises Taipei.

Taiwan warns Chinese military drills pose ‘enormous threat’

December 26, 2017

 

Chinese military drills pose an “enormous threat” to Taiwan’s security, Taipei warned on Tuesday. (File photo: Reuters)

TAIPEI: Frequent and increased Chinese military drills pose an “enormous threat” to Taiwan’s security, Taipei warned on Tuesday in an annual defense review that starkly highlighted rising cross-strait tensions.

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China views Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified at some point — by military force, if necessary.
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The two sides split after a civil war in 1949. Although Taiwan is a self-ruling democracy, it has never formally declared independence.
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Beijing has stepped up drills around the island since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office last year, as she refuses to acknowledge both sides are part of “one China.”
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Local media estimate Chinese warplanes have conducted at least 20 drills around Taiwan this year, compared to just eight in 2016.
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Chinese long range bombers of the PLA air force flying neat Taiwan
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The latest known drill took place last week when several Chinese planes, including jet fighters, passed through the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan to the Pacific and back.
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The frequent drills “have created enormous threat to security in the Taiwan Strait,” Taiwanese defense minister Feng Shih-kuan said in the 14th national defense report released Tuesday.
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The report highlighted the David versus Goliath mismatch between the two rival’s forces, saying Taiwan’s military needed to adapt to a “multiple deterrence strategy” in the face of the fast-growing Chinese army.
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The report estimated Chinese troop numbers at two million compared to around 210,000 in Taiwan’s army.
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“Taiwan cannot compare with China’s defense budget and military developments,” Feng said in the report.
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Instead Taiwan was “seriously reviewing and drawing a plan to develop asymmetric warfare to deter advances by the Chinese military,” he added.
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In response to increasing China’s electronic warfare capabilities, Taiwan established its own cyber army command center this year, which currently has around 1,000 people, according to the ministry.
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It has also restructured its air force to centralize its anti-aircraft and missile defense command.
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Chinese jets also flew over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) earlier this month, prompting South Korea and Japan to scramble jets.
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China’s air force said then it was the first time its aircraft had flown through the Tsushima Strait between South Korea and Japan.
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Earlier this year, China sent its only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, through the Taiwan Strait during a drill as a show of strength, but it did not enter Taiwanese waters.
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Chinese military aircraft carry out multiple drills around Taiwan

December 20, 2017
© AFP/File | Relations between Taipei and Beijing have rapidly deteriorated since the inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen last year
TAIPEI (AFP) – Chinese jets conducted drills near Taiwan’s airspace on Wednesday for the sixth time this month, as relations between the two rivals worsen.China poses the biggest military risk to self-governed Taiwan, as Beijing sees it as part of its territory to be reunified at some point — by force, if necessary.

The two sides split after a civil war in 1949. Although Taiwan is a self-ruling democracy, it has never declared independence.

 Image may contain: sky and outdoor
FILE photo

The latest drills come just days after China’s warplanes flew to the Sea of Japan, prompting South Korea and Japan to scramble jets.

Taiwan’s defence ministry announced Wednesday that Beijing had sent several planes including fighter jets through the Bashi Channel south of the island to the Pacific, and back.

“China’s long-distance (drills) have become more frequent,” it said, but urged Taiwanese people not to worry.

It added that it would dispatch its own aircraft and ships to monitor drills “according to protocol”.

Relations between Taipei and Beijing have rapidly deteriorated since the inauguration last year of President Tsai Ing-wen, who refuses to acknowledge both sides are part of “one China”.

Beijing has cut all official communication with Taipei and stepped up pressure on Tsai’s government, including staging a string of naval and air drills near Taiwan since last year.

Local media reports estimate Chinese warplanes have conducted drills around Taiwan at least 20 times this year, compared with a total of eight times last year.

In August, a Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) during a drill, prompting Taiwan to urge restraint.

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The ADIZ stretches beyond Taiwan’s airspace and is used to give early warning of possible incursions.

Five Chinese warplanes entered South Korea’s ADIZ during Monday’s drill, according to Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

China’s air force said it was the first time its aircraft had flown through the Tsushima Strait that lies between South Korea and Japan.

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Beijing accuses Taipei of persecuting political opponents, conniving with separatists

December 20, 2017

South China Morning Post

Raids on homes of four officials from pro-mainland New Party showed Taiwan was ‘wantonly cracking down’ on opposition

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 12:29pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 3:11pm

 

Beijing has expressed its strong opposition and concern after the Taiwanese government began a probe into a tiny but passionately pro-mainland opposition party for national security reasons, the latest flashpoint between China’s mainland and the self-ruled island.

Taiwanese investigators on Tuesday searched the homes of four officials from the New Party, which has no members of parliament, on suspicion they had violated the National Security Act.

A New Party delegation, including at least one of those whose homes were raided, party spokesman Wang Ping-chung, visited the mainland last week as part of a scheduled trip to meet China’s policymaking Taiwan Affairs Office.

The New Party has denounced the raids as politically motivated, although Taiwanese prosecutors and the government have not given details of what they are suspected of.

 New Party spokesman Wang Ping-chung is taken in for questioning in Taiwan. Photo: CNA

Party chairman Yok Mu-ming said he wondered how such a small party with no legislators could be considered to have any secrets, and said that they had nothing to fear from the investigation, Taiwanese media reported.

In a short statement released late on Tuesday, the Taiwan Affairs Office praised the New Party for its stance in opposing Taiwan’s independence and upholding the one-China principle, which states that Taiwan is part of China.

“Recently, the Taiwanese authorities have shielded and connived with independent splittists, and taken various moves to wantonly crack down on and persecute forces and people who uphold peaceful reunification,” it said.

“We strongly condemn this and are paying close attention to developments.”

The New Party broke off from the Kuomintang, who once ruled all of China, in 1993. Defeated Kuomintang forces fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the Communists.

Relations between Beijing and Taipei have soured since Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won presidential elections last year. Beijing suspects she wants to push for Taiwan’s formal independence.

Tsai says she wants to maintain peace with the mainland but will defend Taiwan’s security.

The People’s Liberation Army has stepped up air force patrols around Taiwan in recent weeks. Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring what it considers a wayward province under Chinese control.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2125037/beijing-accuses-taipei-persecuting-political-opponents

Chinese military transport plane flies near Taiwan

December 17, 2017

Taiwan dispatched aircraft and ships to “monitor and deal with” the Yun-8, similar to one above, which returned to its base after flying through the Bashi Channel and Miyako waterway.

TAIPEI: At least one Chinese Air Force Yun-8 transport plane conducted a long-haul flight near Taiwan on Sunday, the island’s Defense Ministry said, amid simmering tensions between the two rivals.

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Taiwan dispatched its aircraft and ships to “monitor and deal with” the Yun8, which returned to its base after flying through the Bashi Channel and Miyako waterway, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan said. It was unclear whether one plane or more made the flight.
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There was no untoward incident and the public should not be alarmed, Feng said. He did not give further details.
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China has considered Taiwan to be a wayward province since Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist troops fled to the island in 1949 after losing the Chinese civil war to Mao Zedong’s Communist forces on the mainland.
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Beijing suspects Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party wants to declare the island’s formal independence. Tsai says she wants to maintain peace with China but will defend the island’s security.
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China has never renounced the use of force to bring the self-ruled democratic island under its control.
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China has conducted numerous similar patrols near Taiwan this year, saying such practices have been normalized as it presses ahead with a military modernization program that includes building aircraft carriers and stealth fighters to give it the ability to project power far from its shores.
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In September, the US Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2018 fiscal year, which authorizes mutual visits by navy vessels between Taiwan and the United States.
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That prompted a senior Chinese diplomat to say this month China would invade the island if any US warships made port visits there.

China showcases jet fighters on South China Sea island

December 4, 2017

China claims almost all of the South China Sea but Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the waterway.

By: PTI | Beijing | Published: December 3, 2017 9:20 pm
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China showcases jet fighters on South China Sea island

An airstrip, structures and buildings on China’s man-made Subi Reef in the Spratly chain of islands in the South China Sea are seen from a Philippine Air Force C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force. (Source: AP/File)

China has showcased its J-11B jet fighters in the disputed South China Sea islands as Beijing seeks to consolidate its hold over the region.

Footage aired by state-run China Central Television (CCTV) on Wednesday for the first time confirmed deployment of the fighter aircraft in a hangar on Yongxing island, a Chinese name for Woody Island, which is part of the Paracel islands -also claimed by Vietnam.

China calls the Paracels as the Xisha islands.

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The presence of the bombers showcases China’s improving air and sea control in the South China Sea, state-run Global Times quoted a Chinese military expert as saying.

The footage was broadcast in a CCTV report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force’s drills to improve its nautical combat capability.

Yongxing island is the largest of the Xisha islands in the South China Sea which is also the seat of the Sansha city government established by China’s Hainan province.

With a three-kilometer runway, the airport in Yongxing island is an important dual-use airport in the South China Sea region, the CCTV report said.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea but Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the waterway.

The US is periodically deploying its naval ships and fighter planes to assert freedom of navigation. Two Chinese J-10 fighter jets were reported to have intercepted a US Navy surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea in May.

The thermostabilized hangar boosts the jet fighters’ durability and resistance to the island’s humidity and high temperatures.

More importantly, the special hangar helps to realize regular deployment of fighter jets in the Xisha Islands, TV commentator Song Zhongping told the daily.

“Other islands in China could also use such aircraft hangars and China’s overall control of air and sea in the South China Sea would be greatly improved as well,” Song said.

China will enhance its capability to safeguard its legal rights in the South China Sea through military and legal enforcement channels, he said.

“Legal enforcement channel” means Chinese fighters intercepting foreign aircraft flying over the South China Sea, he said.

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App

Source:http://indianexpress.com/article/world/china-showcases-jet-fighters-on-south-china-sea-island-4966302/

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China says it has sovereignty over all the South China Sea north of its “nine dash line.” On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration  in The Hague said this claim by China was not valid. But China and the Philippine government then chose to ignore international law.

China’s new role in Syria

December 2, 2017

Maria Dubovikova |

What is China’s incentive for greater involvement in Syria, which will lead to further competition between Washington and Beijing? China will deploy troops in Syria as Beijing is very concerned about the increasing number of militants of Chinese origin (Uighurs) who have joined Daesh in Syria and Iraq. China does not interfere in any country unless there are economic and political benefits.

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Its Defense Ministry is considering sending two special forces units to fight terrorists in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, as some of them have Chinese nationality and would pose a high risk if they return home. An estimated 5,000 Chinese militants are fighting alongside various insurgent groups in Syria. Moreover, China has invested tens of billions of dollars in Syrian infrastructure.

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Beijing does not want Syria to become a base for Uighurs to launch terrorist attacks against Chinese citizens and interests overseas. The Aug. 30 bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, which was planned by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Syria and financed by Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front), was cited as justification for the Chinese to be in Syria.

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Some analysts say Chinese and Russian involvement in Syria is similar to that of the Americans in Afghanistan in 2001, who wanted to deny Al-Qaeda a base to launch attacks against US targets.
The delayed involvement of the Chinese army indicates that China’s main objective in Syria is economic. Beijing recently received Syrian government representatives who asked for further Chinese economic support, resulting in the announcement of more than $6 billion in direct investments.

Chinese and Russian involvement in Syria is similar to that of the Americans in Afghanistan in 2001, who wanted to deny Al-Qaeda a base to launch attacks against US targets.

Maria Dubovikova

After the demise of Daesh, China will be investing heavily in Syria. Politically, Beijing will try to coordinate with all concerned parties, including Moscow and Washington. Last week, there were talks between Beijing and Damascus on countering ETIM terrorists in Eastern Ghouta. ETIM is said to have committed more than 200 terrorist acts in China in the last few years.

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China relies on Central Asian and Middle Eastern energy sources, and thus seeks stability in those regions. Meanwhile, Xinjiang in northwest China is restless and susceptible to violence, which Beijing blames on radical separatist movements such as ETIM. More than 10,000 Chinese police marched through Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, in February in a show of force.

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According to sources, Chinese military advisers are already in Syria, paving the way for troops. And combat drones have been shipped from China to Syria for counter-terrorism operations.

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The extent of China’s involvement hinges on the conduct of the US, which is wary of a greater Chinese role in the Middle East and Central Asia that could affect American strategic interests. The coming few weeks will witness many meetings between Chinese and American military and security officials.

– Maria Dubovikova is a prominent political commentator, researcher and expert on Middle East affairs. She is president of the Moscow-based International Middle Eastern Studies Club (IMESClub). Twitter: @politblogme

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1202236/columns