The Pentagon said that an American B-52 bomber "unintentionally" flew over the South China Sea within two nautical miles of an artificial island built by China. Chinese authorities described the move as "provocation."
The US military has adopted a mild tone this time, but its action is aggressive. The B-52 flew within two nautical miles of the islands built by China, which severely threatened the security of the islands.
The moves of the US will undoubtedly propel China to accelerate militarizing its newly built islands and make them capable of coping with direct military threat from the US. As the Chinese mainland is far from this area and China only has one aircraft carrier, it would be too late for China to send fighter jets from the mainland when US jets intrude into the airspace of the islands. The only choice is to deploy the fighter jets on these islands.
China has stressed that these islands serve a peaceful purpose, but the premise of such assertion is that no external military force threatens their security. The US military is undermining this premise, and China should carry out corresponding security deployment.
Nowadays US warplanes and bombers fly over nearby waters and airspace at will. If China does not take due measures, it can be implied that it tacitly approves such hostile actions. This in turn will jeopardize the country's South China Sea strategy. China therefore has no other options, but to build up its military capability on those islands. In that case, next time when the US warplanes come over again, there will be Chinese military planes taking off and safeguarding our sovereignty.
There is worry that militarization of the islands will bring more pressure on China from the international community and some Southeast Asian countries will especially be unhappy about it. But it is the US military provocations that are propelling China to do so. China's countermeasures will be morally correct. They may further complicate the situation in the South China Sea, but will not tarnish China's international image.
The Southeast Asian countries have no reason to oppose China's countermeasures against US provocations. Instead, countries such as the Philippines and Singapore should realize that their support for US military bases contributes to regional tension.
If all parties wish for a peaceful South China Sea, they should fulfill their responsibilities rather than providing assistance to the US which intends to intrude China's island de-militarization.
The island militarization doesn't mean a significant rising potential for military clashes. Neither Beijing nor Washington wants a war.
The US' exercise of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea should not threaten the security of Chinese facilities. In view of China's overall military capability and national strength, the US should renounce its arrogance.