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Why China’s Anti-Air Exercises in the South China Sea Should Spook the U.S. Military

Written by Ariel



Why China’s Anti-Air Exercises in the South China Sea Should Spook the U.S. Military

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China’s Navy recently conducted anti-air exercises in the South China Sea. The drills were reported by the Hong Kong–based South China Morning Post (SCMP), which cited an article in the People’s Liberation Army Daily, the Chinese military’s official newspaper. The drills simulated defeating an aerial attack, the SCMP said, and including “three target drones making flyovers of a ship formation at varying heights and directions.” The PLA Daily report said that the drones were used to “precisely verify the feasibility and effectiveness to ensure a close stimulation of an aerial attack target.” The Chinese military’s paper added that drones had been used during exercises at least thirty times before. As the SCMP pointed out, the Chinese military didn’t release many details about the drills, including the precise timing, location or what Chinese Navy ships participated. As others have noted, these anti-air drills come on the heels of two U.S. B-52 bombers challenging China’s claims of sovereignty over artificial islands it built in the South China Sea. On June 5, two B-52 bombers—which, unlike the B-1, are nuclear capable—flew within twenty miles of the Spratly Islands, according to CNN. The exact parts of the Spratly Islands weren’t mentioned in the report. The United States has repeatedly sent warships to sail in the vicinity of China’s artificial islands as a way to challenge Beijing’s excessive sovereignty claims. The Spratly Islands are also claimed in part or in whole by Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan. In 2013, Washington also used B-52s to challenge China’s claim of an air-defense identification zone around the East China Sea. The decision to use bombers to challenge China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea is unusual but may have been a response to reports that Beijing had landed its own bombers on the artificial islands in recent weeks. It i…
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Ariel

Lawyer, Musician, Serial Careerist, Amateur Chef, Papercut Survivor. Is this water dry?.

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