China plans blunt move into 'open seas,' warns foreign powers not to meddle
a new strategy unveiled today, the South China Sea continues to be a
potential flashpoint for China and its neighbors, and between Washington
By Yahoo News
China outlined on Tuesday a
strategy to expand the reach of its military, as it continues to press
its territorial claims in the South China Sea. The strategy came amid a
series of louder warnings to the United States to divert its military
presence in the area.
navy will shift its focus to "open seas protection" rather than
"offshore waters defense" alone, according to a policy document issued
by the State Council, China’s government cabinet. Meanwhile, China's air
force will shift its focus from territorial air defense to "both defense and offense.”
new plan threatens to escalate tensions in a region already closely
watching the extent of Beijing’s maritime ambitions. The State Council
criticized neighboring countries that take “proactive actions” on reefs
and islands claimed by China.
While the document highlights
four key areas of China's national security – the ocean, outer space,
nuclear force, and cyber space – its naval strategy carries the greater
sting, given its recent activity in the South China Sea. Satellite
images released last month show the construction of a runway on Fiery
Cross Reef, part of the Spratly Islands, an archipelago claimed by at
least three other countries.
CHINA BUILDING ISLANDS AND BASES
The construction on Fiery Cross Reef is part of a larger Chinese reclamation project
on at least five islands in the South China Sea, reports The New York
Times. China is converting tiny reefs into islands big enough to handle
officials say China has created about 2,000 acres of dry land since 2014
that could be used as airstrips. State news agency Xinhua reported
Tuesday that two lighthouses are under construction on the Spratly
At a news conference on Tuesday, Defense Ministry
spokesman Yang Yujun defended China’s reclamation work by claiming that
it was no different to building roads or bridges on the
mainland. "Looking from the angle of sovereignty, China's development of
construction on its islands is no different,” he said, according to The Associated Press. . CHINA THREATENS TO 'ENGAGE' . Mr.
Yang added that island building was "beneficial to the whole of
international society" because it aided China's search and rescue, and
environmental protection work. He also delivered a strong message to the United States, as Reuters reports:
countries with "ulterior motives" had unfairly characterized China's
military presence and sensationalized the issue, he said. Surveillance
in the region was increasingly common and China would continue to take
"necessary measures" to respond. "Some external countries are also
busy meddling in South China Sea affairs. A tiny few maintain constant
close-in air and sea surveillance and reconnaissance against China," the
strategy paper said in a thinly veiled reference to the United States. Yang’s
comments followed an incident last week in which a Chinese navy
dispatcher warned off a US spy plane as it flew over Fiery Cross Reef.
On Monday, the official Communist Party newspaper Global Times warned in
an editorial that Washington should not test Beijing's restraint or
China would have "no choice but to engage."
has overlapping claims with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan,
and Brunei in the South China Sea, one of the busiest shipping lanes in
the world. An estimated $5 trillion in trade passes through every year.
The US Navy regularly patrols waters in the region to monitor the shipping lanes and keep them open and undisturbed.