Vietnam says others should respect its right to drill for South China Sea oil


HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam on Friday said other countries should respect its legitimate right to drill for oil in its waters amid growing tension with China over energy development in the South China Sea.

The drilling began in mid-June in Vietnam’s Block 136/3, which is licensed to Vietnam’s state oil firm, Spain’s Repsol and Mubadala Development Co [MUDEV.UL] of the United Arab Emirates.

The block lies inside the U-shaped “nine-dash line” that marks the vast area that China claims in the sea and overlaps what it says are its own oil concessions.

China on Tuesday urged a halt to the drilling.

“Vietnam’s petroleum-related activities take place in the sea entirely under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of Vietnam established in accordance with international law,” Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement sent to Reuters.

“Vietnam proposes all concerned parties to respect the legitimate rights and interests of Vietnam.”

This week, the BBC reported that Vietnam had halted drilling there after Chinese threats, but there was no independent confirmation and neither Vietnamese officials nor Repsol made any comment on the report.

Thomson Reuters data showed the drilling ship Deepsea Metro I was in the same position on Friday as it had been since drilling began on the block in the middle of June.

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Reporting by My Pham; Editing by Nick Macfie

Source: Reuters “Vietnam says others should respect its right to drill for South China Sea oil”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Chinese President Xi Jinping Popular for Hardline Leadership


Airport on China’s artificial island built on Yongshu Reef (Fiery Cross Reef). Photo from CCTV footage

Chinese media is full of praise of Xi’s hardline leadership in dealing with China’s maritime territorial disputes in East and South China Seas before the 19th CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Congress with major leadership reshuffle because what Xi has done is popular among CCP elite and common members and Chinese people in general.

SCMP says in its report “Xi personally behind island-building in the South China Sea” yesterday:

An editorial on Friday in Study Times – put out by the Central Party School, the Communist Party’s top academy – was the latest to lavish praise on Xi for his tough stance on territorial issues with the country’s Asian neighbours.

“[President Xi] personally steered a series of measures to expand [China’s] strategic advantage and safeguard the national interests,” the article said.

“On the South China Sea issue, [Xi] personally made decisions on building islands and consolidating the reefs, and setting up the city of Sansha. [These decisions] fundamentally changed the strategic situation of the South China Sea,” it said.

Study Times does not do so alone, according to SCMP, on July 27 PLA Daily also praised Xi for doing so. So did State Councillor Yang Jiechi in his article published in another party mouthpiece, Qiushi magazine, in early July.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2104547/xi-personally-behind-island-building-south-china-sea?utm_source=SupChina&utm_campaign=88412c0d6f-20170728-344DeathHollywoodDream&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_caef3ab334-88412c0d6f-164862477.


China Criticizes CIA Director Comments


Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang at regular press conference

Foreign Ministry denounces Pompeo for calling Beijing a greater long-term threat than Russia

BY: Bill Gertz July 28, 2017 5:00 am

China on Thursday accused CIA Director Mike Pompeo of disparaging China in remarks describing Beijing as the most significant long-term security threat to the United States.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters in Beijing in response to Pompeo’s interview with the Washington Free Beacon the comments reflected the CIA chief’s Cold War anti-communism.

“If I follow his logic, the conclusion seems to be that the most economically and militarily powerful country will bring the biggest threat to the international community. Is that right?” Kang said when asked about the interview comments.

Kang, following frequent propaganda themes, insisted in a lengthy rejoinder to Pompeo that China will not threaten other states or undermine foreign nations’ interests.

He also repeated frequent assertions that China’s takeover of American high technology companies or cyber attacks aimed at stealing commercial and military secrets pose threats.

The ministry spokesman then warned that China “will not allow other countries to threaten China or undermine China’s interests.”

“So, the key is to look at state-to-state relations from the perspective of building a community of shared future, rather than cling to the mindset of zero-sum game that belongs to the Cold War,” he said.

A CIA spokesman said: “We stand by the comments made by Director Pompeo and [CIA analyst] Mike Collins at the Aspen Security Forum.”

Pompeo said during the interview that China poses a more significant long term security challenge to U.S. interests based on its large economy and growing military power, when compared to Russia and Iran.

“I think China has the capacity to present the greatest rivalry to America of any of those over the medium and long term,” he said, noting China seeks to counter U.S. military power around the world while stealing American know-how.

“So you see that, whether it’s going on in the South China or East China Sea, or the work they’re doing in other parts of the world,” Pompeo said. “If you look at them, they are probably trying either to steal our stuff, or make sure they can defeat it. And most often, both.”

Chinese propagandists such as Kang frequently use the term “Cold War mindset” as code for anti-communism. However, during the Cold War, the United States achieved unprecedented close ties to China’s Communist dictatorship as part of a strategic initiative that sought to cultivate Beijing as hedge against the Soviet Union.

U.S.-China relations, however, have not been reset since the tilt toward Beijing, despite continued threatening behavior from Beijing.

China remains a major proliferator of nuclear and conventional arms technology and goods to rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. China also is trying to covertly take over strategic waterways in the South China Sea and East China Sea contrary to international law.

Kang insisted U.S.-China relations over the past 40 years have showed common interests and cooperation.

“China and the U.S. should follow the consensus reached between the two leaders and pursue the sound and steady development of bilateral ties along the right track in the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.”

Kang also challenged Pompeo’s claim of sub rosa commercial activities aimed at taking over companies, noting that for nearly four decades “businesses on both sides have been conducting normal commercial activities following the rule of the market.”

“We believe that if it had not been for the interests of the U.S. companies, they would not have bothered to do it,” he said.

On cyber espionage, Kang said China opposes all forms of cyber espionage.

“We would like to work with the international community, including the U.S., to forge a peaceful, secure, open, and cooperative cyber space based on the principle of mutual respect and mutual trust,” he said.

China was blamed by U.S. intelligence officials for what they said was a damaging cyber attack against the Office of Personnel Management, the federal government’s repository of personal information. Some 22 million records were stolen by Chinese hackers and U.S. intelligence believes the data will be used for new and potentially more damaging human and cyber espionage operations.

Collins, the CIA assistant deputy director and head of the CIA’s East Asian Mission Center, said in a speech in Aspen that Chinese cyber theft is continuing.

“We know the Chinese are very active in targeting our government, U.S. industry, and those of our partners through cyber espionage,” said Collins said. “It’s a very real, big problem, and we need to do more about it.”

The Foreign Ministry comments were followed by a report in the hardline Communist Party newspaper Global Times that quoted Chinese government experts who also criticized Pompeo.

“Such voices have existed for long, and in terms of the overall national strength, China is indeed the only country that could compete with the U.S.,” the newspaper quoted Jin Canrong, associate dean of the Department of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, as saying.

“However, China being powerful is one thing, and how China will use that power is another. Different from some Western countries, China is not a country which advocates expansionism,” he said.

Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government-controlled think tank, said the CIA chief’s comments reflected the thinking of the U.S. strategic community in viewing China as the most significant threat.

Source: Washington Free Beacon “China Criticizes CIA Director Comments”

Note: This is Washington Free Beacon’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China air force says to continue with flight drills at sea: CCTV


SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The Chinese air force will keep conducting drills at sea regardless of whatever interference it may encounter, China’s state broadcaster reported, following reports that Chinese warplanes flew near Japan and Taiwan in recent days.

“The air force’s distant sea training has become normal, systemic and practical,” China Central Television quoted air force spokesman Shen Jinke late on Thursday as saying.

The operations “have faced and dealt with a variety of forms of interference and obstruction, but no matter the obstruction we will carry on just as in the past,” Shen said.

“No matter who shadows us we will fly often and frequently,” he said, adding that the flights were legal and reasonable.

The air force said on its microblog earlier this month its planes had recently flown through both the Miyako Strait – which lies between two southern Japanese islands – and the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan and the Philippines.

China’s long-range flight drills at sea, which started three years ago, were not targeted at any specific country or region, Shen was quoted as saying.

But the flights have raised concern among China’s neighbors.

On Tuesday, Taiwan’s defense ministry responded to a series of recent flybys by Chinese fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, saying the self-governed island was prepared to defend itself against China.

Beijing claims Taiwan as a part of China and has never ruled out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, warning that any moves towards formal independence could prompt an armed response.

Japan’s air force regularly scrambles jets to monitor and chase away nearby Chinese military planes, fearing that China’s probing of its air defenses is part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) south towards Taiwan.

Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Michael Perry

Source: Reuters “China air force says to continue with flight drills at sea: CCTV”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


With Drones Tracking Submarines South China Sea Is Indeed China’s Lake


China’s testing of underwater gliding drones in the South China Sea with real time data transmission technology could help pinpoint the location of foreign submarines. Photo: Handout

In its report “Why Beijing is speeding up underwater drone tests in the South China Sea” today, SCMP says, “China is testing large-scale deployment of underwater drones in the South China Sea with real-time data transmission technology, a breakthrough that could help reveal and track the location of foreign submarines.”

As sound much slower than radio wave is used in underwater communication, according to experts real-time underwater communication is very difficult if not impossible.

The US has also used group of gliding drones for submarine tracking but the drones have to come up to the surface to send the information it collects so that there is a time lag and discontinuity in the data collected from the drones.

Now, China is able to collect information from its group of drones real time, it is certainly a breakthrough in technology ahead of the US. US submarines will have nowhere to hide in the South China Sea, which will thus indeed become China’s lake.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2103941/why-beijing-speeding-underwater-drone-tests-south-china?utm_source=edm&utm_medium=edm&utm_content=20170726&utm_campaign=scmp_china&utm_source=SupChina&utm_campaign=772eae8a1b-20170726-342OrganTransplants&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_caef3ab334-772eae8a1b-164862477.


China backs joint energy development with Philippines in disputed sea


Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (R) shakes hands with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines July 25, 2017. Photo: Erik De Castro

Manuel Mogato July 25, 2017 / 5:32 PM / 14 hours ago

MANILA (Reuters) – China’s foreign minister on Tuesday said he supported the idea of joint energy ventures with the Philippines in the disputed South China Sea, warning that unilateral action could cause problems and damage both sides.

Wang Yi, on a two-day visit to Manila, made the remarks after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said a partner had been found to develop oil fields and exploration and exploitation would restart this year.

Duterte did not identify the partner. The energy ministry on July 12 said drilling at the Reed Bank, suspended in 2014, might resume before year-end, and the government was preparing to offer new blocks to investors in bidding in December.

“In waters where there are overlapping maritime rights and interests, if one party goes for unilateral development, and the other party takes the same action, that might complicate the situation at sea,” Wang told a news conference.

“That might lead to tension, and as the end result, nobody would be able to develop resources.”

The Philippines suspended energy activities while awaiting a ruling in a case by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. When it ruled a year ago, the court invalidated China’s claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of seaborne goods passes each year.

Beijing’s harassment of a survey ship of an Anglo-Filipino consortium in the Reed Bank in 2011 and its control of Scarborough Shoal in 2012 were among the reasons Manila filed the arbitration case, which China refuses to recognize.

The tribunal clarified Philippine sovereign rights to access offshore oil and gas its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), within which the Reed Bank is located.

The Philippines relies overwhelmingly on imports to fuel its fast-growing economy and needs to develop indigenous energy resources. Its main source of natural gas, the Malampaya field near the disputed waters, will be depleted within a decade.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the proposal to jointly develop resources in the disputed waters began in 1986, but the two countries “had not found wisdom to be able to push through to the next step”.

Experts say setting up such an arrangement would be extremely complex and politically sensitive. Both countries claim the oil and gas reserves, and a deal on sharing could be seen as legitimizing the other side’s claim, or giving away sovereign territory.

Wang also said China and Southeast Asian countries were firming up a maritime code of conduct framework, showing the world they could handle differences.

However, in a veiled reference to the United States, he said it was important for regional friends to stand up to outside interference.

“If there are still some non-regional forces in the region, they don’t want to see stability and want to stir up trouble, we need to stand together and say ‘No’ to them together,” he said.

In the latest confrontation, Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea at the weekend, according to U.S. officials.

Editing by Martin Petty and Clarence Fernandez

Source: Reuters “China backs joint energy development with Philippines in disputed sea”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China urges halt to oil drilling in disputed South China Sea


BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Foreign Ministry has urged a halt to oil drilling in a disputed part of the South China Sea, where Spanish oil company Repsol had been operating in cooperation with Vietnam.

Drilling began in mid-June in Vietnam’s Block 136/3, which is licensed to Vietnam’s state oil firm, Spain’s Repsol and Mubadala Development Co of the United Arab Emirates.

The block lies inside the U-shaped ‘nine-dash line’ that marks the vast area that China claims in the sea and overlaps what it says are its own oil concessions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China had indisputable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, which China calls the Nansha islands, and jurisdiction over the relevant waters and seabed.

“China urges the relevant party to cease the relevant unilateral infringing activities and with practical actions safeguard the hard-earned positive situation in the South China Sea,” Lu said at a regular briefing, when asked if China had pressured Vietnam or the Spanish company to stop drilling.

He did not elaborate.

This week the BBC reported that Vietnam had halted drilling there after Chinese threats, but there was no independent confirmation and neither Vietnamese officials nor Repsol made any comment on the report.

Thomson Reuters data showed the drilling ship Deepsea Metro I was in the same position on Monday as it had been since drilling began on the block in the middle of June.

An Indonesian naval ship that passed there on Saturday reported that three coastguard vessels and two Vietnamese fishing boats were nearby and there was no sign of trouble.

The Norwegian drilling ship operator, Odfjell Drilling Ltd., did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

China’s naval build-up and its increasingly assertive stance over disputed territory in the South China Sea have unnerved its neighbors.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of islands and military facilities there, concerned they could be used to restrict free movement and extend Beijing’s strategic reach.

Reporting by Michael Martina in Beijing and Matthew Tostevin in Bangkok; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Source: Reuters “China urges halt to oil drilling in disputed South China Sea”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Exclusive: Sri Lanka’s cabinet ‘clears port deal’ with China firm after concerns addressed


Shihar Aneez July 25, 2017 / 3:30 PM / 10 hours ago

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s cabinet cleared a revised agreement for its Chinese-built southern port of Hambantota on Tuesday, the government said, after terms of the first pact sparked widespread public anger in the island nation.

The port, close to the world’s busiest shipping lanes, has been mired in controversy ever since state-run China Merchants Port Holdings, which built it for $1.5 billion, signed an agreement taking an 80 percent stake.

Under the new deal, which Reuters has examined, the Sri Lankan government has sought to limit China’s role to running commercial operations at the port while it has oversight of broader security.

Chinese control of Hambantota, which is part of its modern-day “Silk Route” across Asia and beyond, as well as a plan to acquire 15,000 acres (23 sq miles) to develop an industrial zone next door, had raised fears that it could also be used for Chinese naval vessels.

Sri Lankans demonstrated in the streets at the time, fearing loss of their land, while politicians said such large-scale transfer of land to the Chinese impinged on the country’s sovereignty.

Details of the new agreement have not yet been made public. But according to parts of the document seen by Reuters, two companies are being set up to split the operations of the port and allay concerns, in India mainly but also in Japan and the United States, that it won’t be used for military purposes.

China Merchants Port Holdings will take an 85 percent stake in Hambantota International Port Group that will run the port and its terminals, with the rest held by Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The company’s capital will be $794 million.

A second firm, Hambantota International Port Group Services Co, with capital of $606 million, will be set up to oversee security operations, with the Sri Lankans holding a 50.7 percent stake and the Chinese 49.3 percent, according to the document.

Ports Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that several foreign missions had sought clarification from Colombo about whether the Chinese navy would be using Hambantota port as it steps up its presence in the Indian Ocean.

“We told China that we can’t allow the port for military use and that 100 percent responsibility of security matters should be with the Sri Lankan government.”

China has been building ports in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and smaller island nations in what military officials call a “String of Pearls” in the Indian Ocean, or a network of friendly ports where its warships can refuel.

Reducing Stake

China Merchants Port Holdings also agreed to reduce its stake in the Sri Lankan joint venture running the commercial operations of the port to 65 percent after 10 years, the document says.

“The cabinet approved the deal and now it needs parliament approval. We will send it for approval this week,” cabinet spokesman Dayasiri Jayasekera said.

He didn’t provide details. A Chinese embassy spokesman said it had no comment to make on the deal. A source close to the Chinese Embassy in Colombo said both sides had reached a compromise and that Sri Lanka’s concerns had been addressed.

“They emphasized that they wanted to maintain balanced relations with other countries. But the deal is still beneficial for China in terms of revenue,” the source said.

The latest agreement relates to the port while the pact for the industrial zone will be handled separately, Sri Lankan officials said.

The revised deal comes weeks after President Maithripala Sirisena reshuffled his cabinet, naming Samarasinghe to the ports ministry after his predecessor had strongly opposed a majority equity stake for the Chinese firm and raised a red flag over possible military use.

Two Sri Lankan sources familiar with the deal said the Sri Lankan Ports Authority would have the right to inspect ships entering Hambantota.

“Sri Lanka will have control over port activities including security, which various parties have raised concerns over earlier,” one source told Reuters. “The agreement clearly says no military ships will be allowed in the port.”

New Delhi in 2014 was alarmed when a Chinese submarine docked in Colombo, where another Chinese firm is building a $1.4 billion port city on reclaimed land.

India has long considered Sri Lanka, just off its southern coast, as within its sphere of influence and sought to push back against China’s expanding maritime presence. In May, Sri Lanka turned down a Chinese request to dock a submarine.

Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Nick Macfie

Source: Reuters “Exclusive: Sri Lanka’s cabinet ‘clears port deal’ with China firm after concerns addressed”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


US says progress with China on N.Korea UN sanctions, true test is Russia


U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley directs comments to the Russian delegation at the conclusion of a U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss the recent ballistic missile launch by North Korea at U.N. headquarters in New York.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States is making progress in talks with North Korean ally China on imposing new United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang over its latest missile test, but Russia’s engagement will be the “true test,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said on Tuesday.

The United States gave China a draft resolution nearly three weeks ago to impose stronger sanctions on North Korea over the July 4 missile launch. Haley had been aiming for a vote by the 15-member Security Council within weeks, senior diplomats said.

“We’re constantly in touch with China … Things are moving but it’s still too early to tell how far they’ll move,” Haley told reporters, adding that she was pleased with China’s initial response to the U.S. proposal because it showed “seriousness.”

“We know that China’s been sharing and negotiating with Russia, so as long as they are doing that, we’re going to continue to watch this closely to make sure it is a strong resolution,” she said.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi told reporters: “We are making progress, it requires time, but we’re working very hard.”

Traditionally, the United States and China have negotiated sanctions on North Korea before formally involving other council members, though diplomats said Washington informally keeps Britain and France in the loop. Along with Russia, those five countries are veto-wielding Security Council members.

“The true test will be what (the Chinese) have worked out with Russia (and whether) Russia comes and tries to pull out of that,” said Haley.

The United States and Russia have waged rival campaigns at the Security Council over the type of ballistic missile fired by North Korea. Western powers have said it was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), while Russia said the missile fired was only medium-range.

Diplomats say China and Russia only view a long-range missile test or nuclear weapon test as a trigger for further possible U.N. sanctions.

“Everyone that we have dealt with acknowledges that it’s an ICBM. Whether they are willing to put it in writing or not is going to be the real question,” Haley said.

North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs and the Security Council has ratcheted up the measures in response to five nuclear weapons tests and two long-range missile launches.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been frustrated that China has not done more to rein in North Korea and senior officials have said Washington could impose new sanctions on Chinese firms doing business with Pyongyang.

When asked how long Washington was willing to negotiate with China at the United Nations before deciding to impose its own secondary sanctions, Haley said: “We’re making progress … We’re going to see what the situation is.”

“We want China and every other country to see it as serious and we’re going to keep moving forward that way,” she said.

China’s Ambassador to Washington Cui Tiankai said on Tuesday that Beijing objected to secondary sanctions. In June, the United States blacklisted two Chinese citizens and a shipping company for helping North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

“Such actions are unacceptable. They have severely impaired China-U.S. cooperation on the Korean nuclear issue, and give rise to more questions about the true intention of the U.S.,” he told the Institute for China-America Studies in Washington.

Additional reporting by David Brunstrom in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish

Source: Reuters “U.S. says progress with China on N.Korea U.N. sanctions, true test is Russia”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Chinese jets intercept U.S. surveillance plane: U.S. officials


FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries signals reconnaissance aircraft, escorted by an EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, performs a flyby over aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Arabian Gulf April 24, 2016. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bobby J Siens/Handout/File Photo via REUTERS

Idrees Ali July 24, 2017 / 9:46 PM / 2 hours ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea at the weekend, with one jet coming within about 300 feet (91 meters) of the American aircraft, U.S. officials said on Monday.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said initial reports showed one of the Chinese J-10 aircraft came close enough to the U.S. EP-3 plane on Sunday to cause the American aircraft to change direction.

One of the officials said the Chinese jet was armed and that the interception happened 80 nautical miles (148 km) from the Chinese city of Qingdao.

The Pentagon said that the encounter between the aircraft was unsafe, but added that the vast majority of interactions were safe.

Incidents such as Sunday’s intercept are relatively common.

In May, two Chinese SU-30 aircraft intercepted a U.S. aircraft designed to detect radiation while it was flying in international air space over the East China Sea.

China closely monitors any U.S. military activity around its coastline.

In 2001, an intercept of a U.S. spy plane by a Chinese fighter jet resulted in a collision that killed the Chinese pilot and forced the American plane to make an emergency landing at a base on Hainan.

The 24 U.S. air crew members were held for 11 days until Washington apologized for the incident. That encounter soured U.S.-Chinese relations in the early days of President George W. Bush’s first term in office.

Separately, the Pentagon said the U.S. military would soon carry out another test of it’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

“These tests are done as a routine measure to ensure that the system is ready and… they are scheduled well in advance of any other real world geopolitical events going on,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters.

The director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General Sam Greaves, said in a statement that a test would be carried out at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska.

Last month the United States shot down a simulated, incoming intermediate-range ballistic missile similar to the ones being developed by countries like North Korea, in a test of the nation’s THAAD missile defenses.

The United States deployed THAAD to South Korea this year to guard against North Korea’s shorter-range missiles. That has drawn fierce criticism from China, which says the system’s powerful radar can probe deep into its territory.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Grant McCool and Andrew Hay

Source: Reuters “Chinese jets intercept U.S. surveillance plane: U.S. officials”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.