US military patch draws ire in China
The United States has staged a simulated island assault exercise featuring a red silhouette of China on air personnel’s uniforms, in what Chinese state media described as a provocative gesture. The drill was being conducted in California but triggered warnings from Chinese state media that China would fight back if the US attacked it in the South China Sea. US-based Air Force magazine reported that the US veteran drone fleet’s training, which began on September 3, suggested that the US Air Force was focusing more on the Pacific region. Patches on uniforms made for the exercise featured an MQ-9 Reaper drone superimposed over a red silhouette of China, the report said. Despite the training ex
Beijing tells troops ‘not to fire the first shot’ in South China Sea
China has told its service personnel “not to fire the first shot” as Beijing looks to de-escalate tensions with the United States in the South China Sea. Both sides have stepped up their operations in the disputed waters, increasing the risk of incidents that spiral out of control. Still, Beijing does not want to give American hawks the opportunity to escalate things further, sources familiar with the situation told the South China Morning Post. Beijing had ordered pilots and naval officers to exercise restraint in the increasingly frequent stand-offs with US planes and warships, the sources said. Meanwhile, further details emerged about a phone conversation between the two countries’ defens
China unsure if it should unveil its new stealth bomber this year
China’s new generation strategic bomber is likely to be ready for delivery this year, but Beijing is said to be undecided about unveiling it at a complex time in regional relations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Military sources said the Xian H-20 subsonic stealth bomber – expected to double the country’s strike range – could make its first public appearance at China’s largest air show, in the southern city of Zhuhai in November, if the pandemic is sufficiently under control. “The Zhuhai Airshow is expected to become a platform to promote China’s image and its success in pandemic control – telling the outside world that the contagion did not have any big impacts on Chinese defense enterpri
The US is patrolling the South China Sea more than ever
US Navy patrols near disputed features claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea hit a record high last year, newly released figures show, as the Trump administration ramped up its efforts to challenge China’s territorial claims in the contested waterway. US Navy vessels sailed within 12 nautical miles of features claimed or occupied by China seven times in 2019, according to data released by the US Pacific Fleet – the highest number of so-called freedom of navigation patrols (FONOPs) since Beijing controversially began constructing artificial islands around disputed reefs in the waterway in 2014. Washington carried out five such operations in 2018, six in 2017 – President Donald Trump’s fir
China imposes sanctions after Trump signs democracy act
China has suspended visits by US military vessels and aircraft to Hong Kong, and sanctioned several US-based organizations, a few days after US President Donald Trump signed a law increasing scrutiny of the city. Beijing said it was sanctioning US-based non-government organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, alleging they are “supporting violent activities” in the city.