Smiley face
Weather     Live Markets

In 2023, American military spy planes conducted around 1,000 sorties over the South China Sea, according to a report from the Chinese think tank Peking University’s South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI). The report claimed that many of these U.S. aircraft intruded into Chinese waters and airspace, disrupting People’s Liberation Army drills. Despite this, most of the approximately 100 U.S. surveillance planes stayed at least 30 nautical miles from China’s territorial baselines, remaining in international airspace. China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, conflicting with other neighboring countries and accusing the U.S. and its allies of trespassing.

The South China Sea is a strategically important region rich in oil and natural gas reserves, as well as being a crucial waterway for global trade with approximately one-fifth of all trade passing through it each year. The SCSPI report indicated that in 2023, the U.S. conducted around 1,000 sorties in various large reconnaissance aircraft from bases in Japan, South Korea, Guam, and the Philippines. While this number matched previous years, it was slightly less than the 1,200 sorties flown in 2021. The U.S. reconnaissance planes were reported to disrupt PLA exercises by intruding into maritime and airspace, leading to close encounters with Chinese alert forces.

The U.S. has previously complained about risky and aggressive interceptions by People’s Liberation Army pilots in international airspace. In its latest China Military Power Report, the Pentagon noted over 180 instances of coercive air intercepts against U.S. aircraft in the region over the past two years, surpassing the number seen in the previous decade. Ely Ratner, the assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, sees this pattern as a centralized campaign to pressure the U.S. to change its operations in the region. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the Chinese Foreign Ministry have not yet responded to these findings.

Additionally, a separate report from the SCSPI revealed that the U.S. military had flown 60 crewed and uncrewed reconnaissance missions in the South China Sea, with two-thirds of these missions carried out by Navy P-8A Poseidons. The escalating tensions in the region due to military activities have raised concerns among various countries involved. The ongoing disputes over territorial claims and rights in the South China Sea have been a source of contention for years, with different nations asserting their influence and presence in the area. The increasing frequency of military activities and encroachments in the region further exacerbates these tensions and highlights the challenges of maintaining stability and security in this critical maritime area.

© 2024 Globe Echo. All Rights Reserved.