The Chinese are using the traditional view of U-2s as aerial imagery platforms to present a picture of the dangerous penetration of closed exercise airspace, ”said Schuster. The Chinese could not intercept and support the U-2, but they returned to any collection of their exercise activities. ”
China launched three military exercises on Monday alone in Pacific waters, from the South China Sea in the south to the Bohai Sea in the north. Meanwhile, another exercise ended in the Yellow Sea on Wednesday, according to a China Daily report.
“The past month has seen more military exercises conducted by the PLA than any previous month for many years,” China Daily reported, citing Li Jie, a retired researcher at the Naval Research Academy. of the PLA.
The United States, meanwhile, has stepped up its own military activities in the Pacific.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in July that the US Navy’s freedom of navigation operations, in which US warships sail near disputed islands occupied by China, were at record levels l last year – and that this pace would continue in 2020.
US Air Force deploys bombers
Esper’s statement came after the U.S.
Navy organized exercises involving two aircraft carrier strike groups in the South China Sea, the first time it had done so in six years.
The US Air Force has also been active around the Indo-Pacific, recently sending three of its B-2 stealth bombers to an island base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, as well as B-1 bombers at Andersen Air. Force Base in Guam. .
On August 17, the US Pacific Air Force touted the fact that B-1s, B-2s, as well as fighters and jets from the US Navy and the Japanese Air Force Marine Self-Defense Force were all engaged in exercises in the Indo-Pacific in a single 24 hour period.
US Navy F / A-18s, Marine Corps F-35s and a US Air Force B-1B bomber conduct large-scale joint and bilateral integration training exercise at the start of the month. Tractor in Hazfi Cup final the best way
US Navy F / A-18s, Marine Corps F-35s and a US Air Force B-1B bomber conduct large-scale joint and bilateral integration training exercise at the start of the month.
“These missions demonstrate the ability of the Air Force Global Strike Command to deliver deadly, ready, and long-range strike options to geographic combatant commanders anytime, anywhere,” a Pacific Air Force statement said. .
China says US aviation activity over the South China Sea in particular has been significant.
In an interview with state-run Xinhua News Agency in early August, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi accused Washington of sending 2,000 military flights over the South China Sea in the first half of this year. year. That would be a rate of almost 11 per day.
US officials would not confirm those numbers.
“There has been no significant change in our military operations in or around the South China Sea,” said Maj. Randy Ready, spokesman for the US Indo-Pacific Command. “Although the frequency and scope of our operations vary based on the current operating environment, the United States has a persistent military presence and operates regularly throughout the Indo-Pacific, including the waters and airspace surrounding the China Sea. Southern, just as we have done for more than a century. ”
Tensions have also increased on the Taiwan issue. In August, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar visited Taipei – the highest US official to have gone there in decades – and the sale of 66 US F-16 fighters to the self-managed island was finalized.During Azar’s visit, the PLA sent fighter jets across the midline of the Taiwan Strait that separates Taiwan from the mainland – only the third time it has done so on purpose since 1999.
US “accelerated” defense strategy
This week, Esper wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal saying that the United States was “accelerating” its National Defense Strategy (NDS).
“The NDS guides our efforts to adapt and modernize the American military for competition between great powers, with China being our primary focus,” Esper wrote.
The US chief of defense said the PLA is a tool of the Chinese Communist Party.
“Chinese leaders see the military as central to achieving their goals. Among them, one of the most important is reshaping the international order in ways that undermine globally accepted rules while normalizing authoritarianism, creating the conditions to enable the Chinese Communist Party to coerce other countries and prevent their sovereignty, “Esper wrote.
He said he would come to the Pacific this week to meet with leaders from the region, with stops in Hawaii, Palau and Guam.
Esper’s stop in Hawaii will come when the United States concludes the two-year RIMPAC exercises in Hawaii. Usually the largest naval exercises in the world have been downsized this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with only 10 participating nations.