The Chinese navy give a stern warning repeatedly to U.S. surveillance plane to abscond airspace around disputed islands in the South China Sea, a indication that Beijing may seek to form a military exclusion zone in a move that could intensify regional tensions.
The warnings were sent eight times to a P-8A Poseidon over the Spratly Islands on Wednesday, reported by the CNN team.
The warning came after a Navy warship passed through the South China Sea on Monday near islands China. The United States considers the area to be international waters, and the Philippine and Japanese navies have conducted exercises in the area in an effort to counter the Chinese claims.
“Foreign military aircraft. This is Chinese navy. You are approaching our military alert zone. Leave immediately,” a radio operator told the aircraft, later bluntly warning: “Go, go.”
According to the CNN team that after every warning, the U.S. pilots responded calmly that the P-8A was flying through international airspace.
China declares sovereignty over more than 80 percent of the South China Sea. Rival claimants to islands and reefs, which include the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.
In the Spratly Islands, China has been enlisted in a massive program of land rehabilitation and construction, including building artificial islands.
On Thursday, Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said that Beijing “has the right to monitor certain airspace and maritime areas and safeguard national security, to prevent unexpected incidents at sea.”
He imparted that other nations should respect China’s sovereignty.
The Philippines say similar warnings have been borne to its military aircraft in the past three months, indicating that China is attempting to take out foreign military planes from the region.
The Pentagon will persist to patrol, from air and sea, around the Spratly islands since international law does not recognize man-made islands as extensions of the mainland, Army Col. Steve Warren firmly said.
An effort to impose limitations on what is widely considered as international air space would significantly raise tensions in the region and could provoke confrontations between the U.S. and Chinese militaries, experts stated.