Thứ Ba, 29 tháng 7, 2014

U.S. Says Says More Chinese Drills a "Natural Evolution"

An uptick in Chinese maritime

exercises in the Pacific is a “natural evolution” and the

drills will grow in complexity as the navy boosts its capacity,

commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Robert Thomas said.

China is expected to keep up a “steady drumbeat” of

exercises in the region, Thomas told reporters today at the

opening ceremony of a bilateral naval exercise with Singapore

known as CARAT Singapore.

“This is a natural evolution for the PLAN as they improve

their professionalism, as they improve both their capacity and

capability,” he said, referring to the People’s Liberation Army

Navy. “You should expect more exercises, and frankly more

complex exercises.”

China is holding a spate of drills across the East and

South China Seas that may add to tensions with neighbors over

territorial disputes as President Xi Jinping expands the reach

of the navy. President Barack Obama has said the U.S. isn’t

seeking to contain China and that there’s room to accommodate

China’s growing economic and military clout.

China has described its exercises, which include a live-firing drill in the South China Sea, as routine even as they are

larger in scope. The nation is ratcheting up pressure on

neighbors including Japan and the Philippines as the U.S.

reassures its allies it remains committed to its policy for an

economic and strategic rebalancing to the region.

Joint Exercises

Thomas’s comments suggest the U.S., which is holding its

own exercises this week with Japan and India off the southern

coast of Japan, is seeking to focus on the potential for

military cooperation after China joined the U.S.-led Rim of the

Pacific Exercise. China is taking part along with the U.S. and

Japan in the five-week-long Rimpac drills, which run through

Aug. 1 in waters off Hawaii. Of the 22 nations involved, China’s

four ships make up the second-biggest contingent after the U.S.

“We are routinely operating in the same international

waters that they are,” Thomas said. “Frankly, our relationship

with the PLAN from the 7th Fleet perspective is very collegial,

very professional.”

China began five days of drills in the East China Sea

today, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on its website.

Those exercises, which the ministry called routine, come while

China is holding live-fire drills off Beibu Bay, or the Gulf of

Tonkin, near Vietnam and drills in the Bohai Strait that both

end Aug. 1.

Nine-dash Line

China claims much of the South China Sea, which may be rich

in energy and mineral deposits, under its “nine dash line” map

first published in 1947, which extends hundreds of miles south

from China’s Hainan Island to equatorial waters off the coast of

Borneo, taking in some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. In

the East China Sea, Japan and China both lay claims to a chain

of uninhabited islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu

in Chinese. The U.S. has said it will come to Japan’s defense in

any clash over the islands.

“The U.S. position is that the Senkakus are administered

by Japan and therefore in our treaty obligations with Japan,

they would fall under those treaty obligations,” Thomas said.

The CARAT drills, which include a torpedo-firing exercise,

will involve two U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers with

helicopters and a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft as well

as Formidable-class frigates and an Archer-class submarine from

Singapore’s Navy.

To contact the reporter on this story:

Sharon Chen in Singapore at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:

Rosalind Mathieson at

Nicholas Wadhams

U.S. Says Says More Chinese Drills a "Natural Evolution"

Không có nhận xét nào:

Đăng nhận xét