Beijing, Aug 27 (efe-epa).- China said on Thursday that the ties between Washington and Beijing had reached a serious juncture and it was taking strong measures to “firmly protect” its sovereignty and counter the “provocations” by the United States.
During a monthly press briefing, Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian did not clarify if Beijing had launched two anti-aircraft missiles on Wednesday in the South China Sea as a warning to the US, as was reported by regional media citing anonymous sources.
As per the reports, China had launched a DF-26B missile from the northwestern Qinghai province and a DF-21D from the eastern Zhejiang province towards an area situated between the island province of Hainan and the disputed Paracel islands, hours after the US sent a U-2 reconnaissance plane over a Chinese no-fly zone during live-fire drills by the People’s Liberation Army.
Wu said the US had for some time continued with its “provocations,” created problems, and seriously undermined Chinese sovereignty, thereby damaging ties between the two countries and their armed forces.
He said Beijing “won’t dance to the US tune” and had taken strong measures to protect its sovereignty and development interests.
The spokesperson urged the US to look at China’s progress with “an open and rational mind” and insisted that it was important for the two armed forces to maintain communication to prevent risks.
Asked about the US spy plane’s incursion, Wu said the US had “increased pressure” to provoke Beijing, but the Asian nation wasn’t afraid of it.
The spokesperson alleged that “some US politicians” were trying to undermine ties between the two armies and even create conflicts, “endangering the lives” of the soldiers in the line of fire.
He reiterated that China was strongly opposed to the US plans of deploying short and mid-range missiles in Asian countries, and warned that such measures would be met with a Chinese response.
Vietnam on Wednesday criticized the Chinese military drills near the Paracel Islands – which are also claimed by Hanoi and Taipei – for the second time in two weeks and accused Beijing of jeopardizing regional peace.
In response, Wu said the drills at the islands were not directed towards any particular country.
As per a report by the Hong Kong-based daily South China Morning Post, China had launched the anti-aircraft missiles to respond to “potential risks” by the increasingly frequent incursions of American warplanes and ships in the South China Sea, as per an anonymous source cited by the newspaper.
Beijing on Wednesday lodged a formal protest over the U-2 plane flying over a no-fly zone in a move that “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, according to an official statement. EFE-EPA