Beijing, Aug 26 (efe-epa).- China has “firmly” opposed an alleged provocative trespassing of an American reconnaissance aircraft into a no-fly zone during live-fire military exercises in the north of the country.
The Ministry of National Defense in a statement issued late Tuesday urged the United States to immediately stop “such provocations and take concrete steps to safeguard regional peace and stability.”
The ministry spokesperson, Wu Qian, said in the statement that “a U-2 reconnaissance plane flew without permission over a no-fly zone in the (People’s Liberation Army) PLA’s northern military region during live-fire drills.”
“China firmly opposes such provocative actions and has lodged solemn representations with the US side,” Wu said, according to official Xinhua news agency.
The statement said the move “seriously interfered in normal exercise activities” and was in violation of international norms and the code of behavior for air and maritime safety signed between China and the US.
The move by the US, the statement said, could potentially lead to “misjudgment” or even cause an “unintended air-sea incident.”
Citing sources, the South China Morning Post said the US sending spy planes over a live-fire Chinese military drill follows weeks of increased activity in the region, with numerous military jets and vessels deployed to keep a close watch on the Chinese activity.
The Post quotes an unnamed source close to the Chinese military saying that the U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft flew from a military base in South Korea over the Bohai Gulf where a Chinese aircraft carrier, the Shandong, was taking part in the exercise.
The Maritime Security Administration of China has also indicated that live-fire exercises were being carried out in waters off the country’s northeast coast, which extends from the Gulf of Bohai to the Yellow Sea, according to the newspaper.
The drills began on Monday and run through Sep. 30.
The Chinese maritime safety authorities had issued navigation restriction notices as multiple live-fire drills are being held in the Bohai Sea and the Yellow Sea, which, the official Global Times said, are under the jurisdiction of the Chinese military’s Northern Theater Command.
The Chinese military had earlier announced four concentrated military drills across the major three sea regions of the South China Sea, the Yellow Sea, and the Bohai Sea.
Ties between the US and China have deteriorated over the years over a range of issues amid disputes of trade, technology, Taiwan, and the South China Sea.
The two countries have also been trading barbs over the coronavirus pandemic that was first reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan. EFE-EPA