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Chinese navy warns off U.S. reconnaissance plane over Spratlys

Taipei, May 21 (CNA) A United States P8A surveillance aircraft flying near the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea on May 20 was asked by the Chinese navy to leave the area. "You go!" the personnel on the Chinese naval vessel shouted at the U.S. aircraft though a broadcast system as the plane approached an island where a land reclamation project is in process, according to a video report by CNN. China is expanding several Spratly islands under its control, by means of a reclamation project and by establishing military facilities, including airstrips, control towers and shipyards, to increase its military presence in the area. Michael Morell, former deputy director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, said that judging from the scenario, there is a risk of war in the region, according to the report. Footage shot by the reconnaissance aircraft showed that in addition to building a control tower, China was deploying early warning radar and about 30 vessels around the islands, according to the report. It said the U.S. is worried that all of those islands will be militarized in the near future. China is also developing missile systems capable of destroying U.S. military vessels, in bid to challenge the U.S.' leading role in the region, the report said. After more artificial islands are created, the report said, the People's Liberation Army will try more aggressively to keep U.S. aircraft away from the area. The Spratly islands, reportedly sitting on rich oil reserves, are claimed wholly or in part by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei. (By Bear Lee)

Updated : 2021-09-22 17:36 GMT+08:00