The USA has sought to portray China as aggressive, claiming its warships and warplanes operating just off the Chinese coast are being harassed in unprovoked incidents.
Now, Beijing has fired back, publishing proof the US warships, thousands of miles from US territory, are doing the same.
In response to the Pentagon releasing footage of allegedly risky air encounters between USA and Chinese aircraft near Chinese airspace, Beijing has replied in kind with videos of its own.
Last week, Sen. Col. Wu Qian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense (MND), presented reporters with footage of two incidents on August 19 involving US Navy and Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warships that he described as provocative.
Both incidents occurred in the South China Sea near the Xisha Islands, a Chinese-controlled archipelago called the Paracel Islands by the English speaking Five Eyes nations.
In the first clip, the USS Ralph Johnson, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that is 513 feet long and displaces 9,217 tons, is seen maneuvering near the PLAN Type 051 destroyer Guilin, which is 433 feet long and displaces 3,670 tons, and the Type 054A frigate Huangshan, which is 440 feet long and displaces 4,053 tons.
The clip shows the USS Johnson performing several maneuvers, including cutting across the Guilin’s bow, which forces the Chinese ship to sail through the disrupted waters of the Johnson’s wake, and engaging in a sudden acceleration.
The MND noted the maneuvers violated the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, and the Rules of Behavior for Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters between China and the USA.
In a second clip, the USS Johnson is seen sailing through a gap between the Chinese warships Guilin and Huangshan, which were sailing in a line as a task group. This video proves that it is the US side that is making provocations, taking risks and muddling the water.
We have much similar video evidence, but I won’t show them today because of time constraints. What I’m emphasizing here is to pay close attention to where things are happening.
We all know that all the close encounters between Chinese and US aircraft and warships were all in the waters and airspace around China, not in the Gulf of Mexico or on the West Coast of America.
It was the US side that came to China’s doorstep to provoke and stir up troubles. How is the Chinese military supposed to intercept the US aircraft and warships if they don’t come?
That is an impossible task for the US to endanger China’s national security while making unfettered provocations.
The Chinese military is always on high alert and will take all necessary measures to resolutely defend China’s national sovereignty, security, and maritime rights and interests.
The Chinese release comes a week after the US Department of Defense published dozens of photos and videos depicting encounters between US spy planes and Chinese fighter aircraft in the airspace off China’s coast.
In many of the examples, the Chinese aircraft are flying close to US aircraft, sometimes as close as 30 feet, and engaging in maneuvers such as dropping flares or flying directly in front of the US warplanes.
The Pentagon said the releases underscore the coercive intent of (China) by engaging in behaviors particularly in international airspace, adding that this type of operational behavior can cause active and dangerous accidents and can lead to inadvertent conflict.
In recent years, the USA has dramatically increased its military presence in the air, sea, and land near China as part of its “great power competition” with China as well as Russia.
The US regime has accused both nations of seeking to overturn the so-called rules-based international order, including by making what Washington considers excessive claims of control, such as over islands and waterways in the South China Sea or over Taiwan and the strait that separates it from the mainland.
The USA and its allies engage in what it calls freedom of navigation operations in such areas, which involve their aircraft and warships passing through them as if China had no claim over them, resulting in frequent tense encounters between them and the Chinese military units ordering them to leave.
In the South China Sea, Beijing has joined other regional nations in attempting to forge a code of conduct for the waterway, which will regulate encounters between nations at sea based on UN conventions, in a bid to defuse tensions.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.