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Chinese Military Stages Exercises in South China Sea

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Image available from the BBC.

China staged massive naval military exercise in South China involving over 100 ships and 1,800 troops.   The drillsinvolved a beach front exercise, amphibious sweeps, mine sweepers, and subermarine chasers off shore.  The exercises occurred close to the Spratly Islands near Vietnam.

According to the Chinese paper, the Global Times, 40 countries observed the exercise which was codenamed Jialog-2000.   The Chinese claim the exercise is part of an annual exercise.  “This is basically a routine military exercise but it is also based on the current combat situation in the South China Sea,” Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Global Times yesterday.  However, the exercises were likely meant to be a display of force and show of growing presence in the Pacific Ocean.  China has claimed an Exclusive Economic Zone beyond the internationally recognized 200 nautical miles, and wants to express claims over islands that Japan and Vietnam also lay claim.

A naval officer runs past Chinese Navy missile destroyer 115 Shenyang docked at Qingdao port

Image available from the BBC.

China is certainly trying to build its fleet to try to be on par with the U.S. naval capabilities.  China still has room for growth. “In no way is the Chinese navy on a par with the United States – or even Japan,” said Bates Gill, an expert on the Chinese military. Despite a gap between other naval sources, China can more aptly express its territorial and economic claims through a greater naval presence. China is has been recently infuriated by U.S. attempts to get involved in the Senkaku/Diayou island dispute and the $6.7 billion the U.S. pledged to give to sell to Taiwan in weapons.  The naval exercises are likely partially motivated as much by the U.S. action as anything else.

#China #MaritimeandInternationalSecurity

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