The Pentagon claimed this week that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) launched a Chinese missile from the "man-made structures in the South China Sea" near the Nansha Islands. "Man-made structures" refer to the island reefs that China built on the Nansha Islands. The Pentagon said China's acts were meant to "intimidate other South China Sea claimants."
After the US spread the information, the Philippines stated that the country will conduct its own inquiry. "We have no first-hand knowledge about this missile launch except this news report," Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said. Vietnam stated that it is "keeping a close watch on this incident." Australia followed the US most closely. Australia's Department of Defense not only expressed concern, but also said the actions "could raise tensions in the South China Sea" and that Australia has "a substantial interest in the stability of this crucial international waterway."
The Global Times learned that the PLA had already announced that it would conduct military exercises in the South China Sea from June 29 to July 3. It is completely normal if missiles are launched during this time. A reliable source told the Global Times that the Pentagon's claim of "Chinese missile launch from the man-made structures in the South China Sea" is malicious and misleading. Some details come from thin air, and are intended to sow discord among regional countries.
Countries' military exercises and joint military exercises are frequent in the South China Sea region. The largest military hardware that has ever appeared in the South China Sea is the US' nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The US has multiple military bases in countries surrounding the South China Sea. Washington's South China Sea diplomacy is based on its navy. If there will be militarization tendency in the region, it is the US who will lead it.
If China safely launches normal missile tests in non-disputed areas in the South China Sea, do they intimidate other countries? China did not even announce its missile tests, how could China intimidate other countries? It was the Pentagon that released the information, but distorted the facts. Shouldn't it be Washington who is trying to intimidate countries in the region?
The South China Sea has been relatively calm and tranquil for a while. China and ASEAN members are speeding up the process to work out the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. Countries concerned have remained restrained on territorial disputes in recent years. They have strengthened management of disputes, and all parties hope that the regional situation will not be dominated by maritime disagreements. They are more willing to make peace and cooperation the mainstream of national relations in the region.
The US is an ill-intentioned troublemaker in the South China Sea region. Washington has been launching public opinion offensives, accusing China of sabotaging regional security by fabricating and distorting the facts. Washington is intimidating regional countries, and creating excuses for itself to promote military activities in the South China Sea. The US pretends that its hegemony is justified to protect small countries in the region.
Washington produced and spread most of the military-related information about the South China Sea. As regional countries gradually become more vigilant to Washington's behavior and are unwilling to follow suit, Washington has turned to its allies outside the region. This explains the news that its European allies are coming to the South China Sea to declare "freedom of navigation." It is amusing when these words come out of countries that have almost nothing to do with the South China Sea.
Australia is nearer to the South China Sea than the UK. Thus it responds most actively to the US policy in the region. Canberra is only pledging loyalty to Washington. Instead of protecting peace in the South China Sea, Australia is only adjusting its statements based on the US' reactions. Canberra is interfering as an outsider.
Since the US comes to the South China Sea, it should bring some real peace and stability. The South China Sea does not welcome a troublemaker that arrives by warship.