BEIJING/WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Chinese military announced on Tuesday that a US spy plane entering the no-fly zone of the Chinese Northern Military District was a naked provocation. According to the Defense Ministry’s Spokesman, China has lodged a stern representation with the United States after a US U-2 reconnaissance plane flew into a no-fly zone during Chinese military drills, RIA Novosti reported.
“Today, a US reconnaissance aircraft U-2 entered the no-fly zone of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Northern combat command area, where live ammunition was being fired,” the statement says.
The Defense Ministry has pointed out that the US actions have created a serious obstacle to China’s regular military drills and have violated air and naval security protocols between the two countries. The Chinese Defense Ministry noted that US actions could easily lead to misunderstandings and even to an incident at sea or in the air.
“This is a pure provocation. The Chinese side is protesting and has already made a representation to the US side. The Chinese side demands that the United States immediately stop these provocative actions and take practical steps to protect peace and stability in the region,” the Foreign Ministry added.
Earlier this month, China conducted two drills in Hainan Province. The drills came amid an unprecedented US military presence in the region.
A Chinese think tank has recorded 67 US intelligence flights through the South China Sea in July alone, and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Xinhua News Agency in an August 5 interview that in the first half of this year alone, the US sent military aircraft there [to the South China Sea] more than 2,000 times.
The blatant provocation comes at a time of heightened tensions in both the South and East China Sea, during which the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) and PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) showed remarkable restraint in order to avoid armed conflict between the two superpowers. However, the US and its allies in the region are putting tremendous pressure on the PLA (People’s Liberation Army), forcing it to react.