As part of Washington’s increased military presence in Indo-Pacific, the month of July has seen a record number of aerial surveillance flights by US military aircraft in the South China Sea and near China’s coast. A Beijing-based think tank counted over 50 sorties by US military aircraft in the region in the first three weeks of July.
“At the moment the US military is sending three to five reconnaissance aircraft each day to the South China Sea,” the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI) said. While July saw record numbers, the increased flights started earlier this year with “much higher frequency, closer distance and more variety of missions,” SCSPI said.
The closest flight to China’s coast happened in May, when a US Navy plane almost flew within the 12 nautical mile zone of China’s Hainan Island. SCSPI statistics show that flights by US planes within 50 to 60 nautical miles of the Chinese Mainland were “frequent.”
With US-China relations rapidly deteriorating in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the South China Sea has seen massive US military exercises. Twice this month, two aircraft carrier strike groups led drills in the contested waters. The Trump administration also formally rejected most of Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea, ratcheting up tensions even more.
In 2001, a US reconnaissance plane collided with a Chinese military aircraft 59 nautical miles off the coast of Hainan Island. The collision killed the Chinese pilot and forced the US plane to land on Hainan. The ramping up of US flights in the region increases the risk of accidents like the 2001 incident, and souring US-China relations makes solving future incidents diplomatically less likely.
6 thoughts on “US Military Flies Record Number of Planes Near China’s Coast in July”
Our problem is not China. Our problem is, in light of our Quixotic response to the Corona virus, the world will classify us a developing economy–and one that is moving downhill, and fast. Hallelujah!
It’s not like the good old days where we could just accidentally bomb their embassy if they annoyed us.
Yes those pesky Chinese now have the ability to turn Washington DC and in fact any or all US City(ies) into a glowing Slagheap! Would China win ….. NO …. but neither would the US. Which is why I find the posturing amusing. the US Would most definitely not survive such an encounter without serious and significant destruction of Life and Property. A hundred Million deaths and injuries, would be a likely scenario. For those that think the US carriers would be their savior, If I was the Chinese Commander, they would be the First strike targets to go after with Nukes, worth a whole ICBM with ten Mirvs to take out each one, remembering that the loss of Carrier Task forces also means that those aircraft can no longer attack China with their Nuclear weapons.
Keep burning that fuel, boys… dump it in the Pacific when it’s leftover. Gotta get oil back over $50…national security depends on it.
Our country is falling apart at the seams, and Washington is worried about the South China Sea?
Just think how Trump and the US Congress would react if China or anyone did what the US does, attempting to use Gun Boat diplomacy to intimidate other countries. Maybe it is time China and Russia put together a Task force to sail up and down the US Coastline 12 miles from land and see just how much the US likes it! We see how much the US dislikes the Russians flying down the middle of the Bearing Strait international waters, they send out War planes and claim that the Russians are in Their defense zone, but if China does it it is dangerous posturing in International waters!
Comments are closed.