PLA on alert amid US' provocative destroyer, carrier activities in South China Sea

(Global Times) 09:49, September 09, 2021

A fighter bomber attached to a naval aviation brigade under the PLA Northern Theater Command receives power-on inspections in its hangar after completing a recent round-the-clock flight training exercise. (eng.chinamil.com.cn/Photo by Yu Zhengqing and Zhang Qiang)

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command on Wednesday vowed to stay on high alert and safeguard China's sovereignty and security, and protect peace and stability in the South China Sea, after it warned off a US destroyer that trespassed into Chinese sovereign waters in the region on the day, a few days after a US aircraft carrier entered the region for a provocative deployment.

On Wednesday, the US guided missile destroyer USS Benfold trespassed into areas adjacent to the Meiji Reef in the South China Sea without China's permission, and the naval and aerial forces of the PLA Southern Theater Command conducted whole-process tracking and monitoring of the US destroyer and warned it off, said a PLA Southern Theater Command spokesperson in a written statement.

The spokesperson, Air Force Senior Colonel Tian Junli, pointed out that the US move seriously violated China's sovereignty and security. It was the latest ironclad proof of US' navigation hegemony and militarization of the South China Sea.

 "More and more facts have proved that the US is the biggest risk maker and the biggest breaker of stability and peace in the region," Tian said.

Tian stressed in the statement that China has sovereignty over the islands and nearby waters, and the troops of the PLA Southern Theater Command will stay on high alert. The troops will firmly perform their duties and missions to safeguard China's sovereignty and security, and protect peace and stability in the South China Sea.

According to monitoring by the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a Beijing-based think tank, the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier entered the South China Sea via the Bashi Channel on Monday. The carrier's deployment was confirmed by the US Pacific Fleet later on Tuesday in a tweet.

It was the sixth time a US aircraft carrier entered the region this year, the SCSPI said.

Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military expert, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the US destroyer's trespassing into Chinese sovereign waters and the US aircraft carrier's deployment in the South China Sea are provocative moves aimed at China, and they could be coordinated with the UK's HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, which was operating near Japan.

The USS Carl Vinson carried the US Navy's first fully integrated air wing to deploy overseas with both the F-35C fighter and the new CMV-22B tiltrotor, according to a report published on August 2 on the website of the US Naval Institute.

As the first carrier to get the F-35C, the USS Carl Vinson went straight to the South China Sea with the aim of deterring China, but China has already developed a number of anti-stealth radar systems, so the F-35C can be detected, Fu said, noting that China also has countermeasures against the vertical take-off and landing-capable CMV-22Bs, which could land on islands and reefs in the region.

China is fully capable of and confident in dealing with such provocations, Fu said. "The PLA cannot be defeated within the second island chain." 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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