TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A day after complaining that the U.S.' naval presence in the region is not good for peace, Beijing announced on Tuesday (Jan. 26) that it will be conducting military drills in the disputed South China Sea.
China’s Maritime Safety Administration issued a notice prohibiting entry into areas of the Gulf of Tonkin to the west of the Leizhou Peninsula from Jan. 27-30, but it did not elaborate on the specific location or how big the exercises would be, Reuters reported. The move comes after the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group entered the South China Sea on Jan. 23 to promote “freedom of the seas.”
Beijing on Monday criticized the U.S. for frequently sending vessels and aircraft into the disputed waters to “flex its muscles” and said such actions are not conducive to peace and stability in the region. Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, China, and Malaysia all have territorial claims in the South China Sea.
China’s criticism of American military maneuvers in Asia come amid Beijing’s continued harassment of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). On Saturday (Jan. 23), 13 People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes, including eight Xian H-6K bombers, four J-16 fighter jets, and one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare plane, were tracked in the southwest corner of the ADIZ.
This was followed on Sunday (Jan. 24) by 15 Chinese planes, comprising two Y-8 anti-submarine warfare planes, two SU-30 fighter jets, four J-16 fighter planes, six J-10 jet fighters, and one Y-8 reconnaissance plane entering Taiwan’s identification zone. In response, the country's military scrambled fighter jets, issued radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the Chinese planes.