US flies bombers over South China Sea amid heightened tensions with Beijing

Adjust Comment Print

It is not uncommon for China to deny USA port call requests when it is displeased with the countries' relations - as was the case in April 2016, when Beijing refused to allow the aircraft carrier USS John Stennis to visit Hong Kong amid rising tensions in the South China Sea.

The Chinese government is not going to allow a U.S. Navy warship to dock in Hong Kong.

Further inflaming tensions, the US State Department said Monday it was set to approve a $330 million sale of military aviation parts to the self-governing island of Taiwan. The Chinese foreign ministry warned of "severe damage" to bilateral relations if the sale announced Monday goes through.

"For requests for US military ships to visit Hong Kong, China has always carried out approvals case by case, in accordance with the principle of sovereignty and the detailed situation", Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters gathered in Beijing.

The moves come as trade tensions soar between Beijing and Washington, which this week enacted new tariffs against China covering another $200 billion of its imports.

Military experts said the balance of power between Taiwan and China has shifted in favor of China, which could probably overwhelm the island unless US forces came quickly to its aid.

But Beijing's decision follows the Trump administration sanctioning one of China's military units and its director over its purchases of Russian fighter planes and missile equipment. "In China, they are debating how they can respond and there are hawks who say, 'we have to strike back'".

Iranian Militant Threatens to Open ‘Gates of Hell’ on U.S
Meanwhile, the EU has vowed to stick with the deal and updated legislation to protect European companies from future sanctions. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic is determined to promote peace as a pillar of its foreign policy.

Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said that B-52 bombers transited over the South China Sea as part of "regularly scheduled operations created to enhance our interoperability with our partners and allies in the region".

China's Defense Ministry, in a separate statement, also condemned the planned sale, adding that the Chinese military had a "firm and unshakable" resolve to protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring what it sees as a wayward province under its control.

Three months ago, US Defence Secretary James Mattis attempted a reset of relations with China, pledging to "keep our relationship on the right trajectory". In his address Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Trump thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for his assistance with the North Korea problem, but he also blasted China for what he called unfair use of global trade rules to diminish U.S.jobs and deepen USA trade deficits.

The USS Wasp, an amphibious assault ship, had been due to make a port call in the former British colony of Hong Kong in October, diplomatic sources said. Those purchases violated a 2017 law meant to punish the Russian government for interfering in US elections and other activities.

"For requests for US military ships to visit Hong Kong, China has always carried out approvals case by case, in accordance with the principle of sovereignty and the detailed situation", he told reporters, without elaborating.

Comments