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Aggressive US close-in reconnaissance undermines peace and stability in Asia-Pacific

By Curtis Stone (People's Daily Online)    10:49, July 25, 2017

A U.S. Navy EP-3 spy plane flying over the East China Sea was driven off by armed Chinese J-10 jets Sunday, U.S. media reported.

According to the Navy Times, the U.S. electronic surveillance aircraft was flying in international waters in the East China Sea, 80 nautical miles south of Qingdao, China, when two Chinese J-10s approached from behind, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.

Chinese authorities have yet to confirm or comment on the incident. But if the facts are as reported by U.S. media, then the U.S. spy plane may have been flying over China's Exclusive Economic Zone in the East China Sea.

U.S. military vessels and aircraft frequently carry out reconnaissance missions in Chinese coastal waters. China has long demanded that the U.S. side cease actions that endanger its maritime and airspace security to prevent these sorts of incidents from happening.

The latest intercept comes as the Trump Administration has reportedly decided to increase the number of planned so-called “freedom of navigation” patrols in the South China Sea. China respects freedom of navigation, but views U.S. behavior in the region as threatening and intended to undermine the sovereignty and security of China and other regional countries.

China has long maintained the position that U.S. behavior in the Asia-Pacific region is counterproductive to the region’s shared aspiration for peace, cooperation, and development, and China hopes to see the U.S. play a more constructive role in the region rather than take actions that fuel tensions in the region.

The more aggressive U.S. posture comes amid reports that the U.S. military will soon carry out another test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which China opposes because its powerful radar can probe deep into its territory, damaging China’s strategic security interests and also the national security interests of other countries in the region.

The increase in aggressive activity by the U.S. in Chinese coastal waters is viewed by many as proof that the U.S. is still bent on containing China’s peaceful rise in order to its maintain military dominance in the region.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Wu Chengliang, Bianji)

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