China is Top US Surveillance Target in Asia-Pacific
The US military conducted more than 700 naval patrols in the South China Sea region in 2015, threatening China's sovereignty and making it the most "targeted" nation by Washington in terms of surveillance activities, Chinese government analysts said on Friday.
Analysts at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies said that if US surveillance activities in the disputed region continue to rise in the coming years, it would greatly threaten the stability of the region and might end in military confrontation between the US and Chinese forces.
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Wu Shicun, the Institute's director, echoed China's past warnings to the US that it could establish an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea if Washington continues to intensify its aerial and naval patrols in the region.
China set up an ADIZ in the East China Sea in 2013 covering the airspace including, the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands (which are known as Diaoyu Islands in China).
Wu said that Beijing has long protested against the US'' posture in the strategic waterway and has denounced Washington's military moves in the region.
Part of the US military activities include surveillance flights near Chinese waters and sending ships into disputed territories in the region in the guise of freedom of navigation operations, Wu said.
"The US is continuously increasing its military deployments and military base network in the Asia-Pacific region," Wu pointed out.
According to the analyst, the US has massively increased its buildup in the region over the years and continues to deploy military forces. Wu described the move as "unprecedented."
US military forces performed 1,200 close reconnaissance missions with military vessels and aircraft in 2014 in the region, up from the 200 missions recorded in 2009.