BEIJING, December 21 (ChinaMil) -- As American media reported that two B-52 strategic bombers of the American military approached Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea in the early morning of December 10, the situation in that region has once again drawn the world's attention, and the Chinese Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry respectively responded to the matter.
American military's statement about this matter is rather interesting. The Pentagon confirmed that their B-52 bomber approached Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea and there was an effort made by Chinese ground controllers to reach out to that aircraft.
But the spokesperson of the American military claimed B-52's flight as unplanned. " For this mission, there was no intention of flying into 12 nautical miles from South China Sea islands and reefs", and the U.S. is investigating the matter.
The U.S. seemed to explain to China that the unpermitted entry of its B-52 bomber into airspace close to Chinese islands was unintentional and a "mistake", and hoped to mitigate the consequences.
The U.S. has adopted a two-sided approach toward the South China Sea issue. On the one hand, it tries to maintain pressure on China.
As a military power, "muscle flexing" is America's usual practice, as evidenced by the USS Lassen's entry into waters close to China's Nansha islands in October and B-52's approaching China's islands and reefs in the South China Sea in November. In the pretext of "asserting freedom of navigation", the U.S. claimed to "normalize" such actions.
American officials have also fanned the fire. Its defense secretary Carter boarded the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier sailing near the South China Sea on a high profile and claimed to deploy "the most advanced" equipment in the Asia Pacific region to deal with the South China Sea issue. Meanwhile, the U.S. has criticized China's construction on the Nansha islands and accused it of "militarization" on multiple occasions, playing both the stick and the carrot to stop China's activities in the region.
On the other hand, the U.S. has also tried hard to keep the situation within control. When the USS Lassen entered waters close to Chinese islands and reefs, it stopped all military exercises onboard, shut off the fire-control radar and avoided helicopter takeoff and landing.
According to American officials, having weighed the pros and cons, the Obama administration decided not to send more warships to waters off China's islands and reefs in the South China Sea before the end of this year. Harry Harris, chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, preciously argued that America's "demonstration of freedom of navigation" is to support international rules and not a military threat.
But neither the aggressiveness nor the double-speaking can gloss over the fact that the U.S. has carried out frequently military activities in the South China Sea, including close-in reconnaissance of Chinese islands and reefs.
The "mistaken entry" is essentially "unpermitted entry". China has also noticed that the U.S. is trying to convince its Asia Pacific allies to join the patrol of South China Sea in hopes of "besieging" China.
China has repeatedly stated its standpoint to the U.S. First of all, it firmly opposes such provocations.
Instead of safeguarding the peace and security in the South China Sea, America's so-called "demonstration of freedom of navigation" is an important factor that pushes the "militarization" of the region, and its "muscle-flexing" near Chinese Nansha islands is detrimental to China's sovereignty and security interests.
Second, the U.S. has no right to interfere in the South China Sea issue. It is not a concerned party in the South China Sea dispute and this issue isn't one between China and the U.S.
At last, China doesn't court trouble but it isn't afraid of trouble either. The Chinese military is ready to "adopt all necessary measures and means" according to the situation. Chinese troops stationed on the reefs have closely monitored and maintained high alert against activities of the American B-52 bomber and warned it to leave.
By sending its warplanes and warships to areas of the South China Sea "without permission", the U.S. has overstepped its authority, and China will not accept that.
(Hua Yisheng, expert on international issues)