As Beijing launches new maritime exercises, it has warned that future US naval patrols through the region could have a bad result.
In recent months, the Pentagon has launched a number of provocative “freedom of navigation” patrols within the 12-mile territorial limit of China’s land-reclamation projects in the Spratly archipelago.
During a closed-door forum on Monday, Sun Jianguo, admiral and deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission, stressed that freedom of navigation has never been threatened, but added that further acts of military aggression could have dire consequences.
“When has freedom of navigation in the South China Sea ever been affected? It has not, whether in the past or now, and in the future there won’t be a problem as long as nobody plays tricks,” he said.
“But China consistently opposes so-called military freedom of navigation, which brings with it a military threat which challenges and disrespects the international law of the sea. This kind of military freedom of navigation is damaging to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and it could even play out in a disastrous way.”
Beijing is stepping up its own presence in the region. On Monday, China’s Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) announced that the country would launch a series of drills. While these exercises will end on Thursday, Beijing has stressed that no civilian vessels are permitted in the area until the drills are complete.
Full article: Chinese Admiral Warns of ‘Disaster’ for US Patrols in South China Sea (Sputnik News)