Rein in your frontline forces, China tells US

Beijing, April 29

The Chinese defence ministry urged the United States on Thursday to rein in its frontline forces which Beijing has said have become more active in the air and on seas near China this year.

President Xi Jinping-led China has frequently maintained that a US military presence in the South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Strait is the main destabilising factor in the region. The US has said it has freedom of navigation in these areas, which China regards as its geo-strategic backyard.

‘Considerable rise in army activity this year’

  • China defence spokesman Wu Qian says US warship operations on the seas around China have risen by 20%, while reconnaissance aircraft activity has risen by 40%
  • Biden has maintained a tough-on-China stance inherited from the Trump administration

Since US President Joe Biden took office in January, operations of US warships in the seas around China have risen by 20%, while the activity of US reconnaissance aircraft has risen by 40% compared with last year, Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said at a press briefing on Thursday. “We urge the US side to strictly restrain its frontline forces, abide by regulations including the Rules of Behaviour for Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters and International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, and prevent similar dangerous incidents from happening again,” Wu said.

The US Navy earlier this month took the rare step of publishing a photo on its main website of a US guided missile destroyer, the USS Mustin, watching China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier carry out an exercise. Wu said the USS Mustin had interfered with the Chinese exercise and threatened the freedom of navigation of both vessels and the safety of their crews. He said Chinese Navy ships warned away the Mustin. — Reuters

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