‘US carried out 2,000 spying operations against China this year’

Chinese military analyst warns US spying missions ‘endanger China’s sovereign security, heightens regional tensions’

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 28.10.2021
‘US carried out 2,000 spying operations against China this year’


The US has carried out at least 2,000 spying operations against China this year, so far, a Chinese military expert has claimed.

“The targets of these missions include Chinese-controlled islands and reefs in the South China Sea, as well as the coastal area of the Chinese mainland,” said Cao Yanzhong, a researcher with the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Military Science.

Referring to the passage of the US warships and planes in contested South China Sea waters, he said the “close spying operations were aimed at China,” daily South China Morning Post reported.

“The high frequency of such reconnaissance endangers China’s sovereign security and heightens regional tensions, which will inevitably trigger firm opposition from China and undoubtedly increase the risk of gunfire,” he added.

The military analyst was speaking at the 10th Xiangshan forum, an annual Chinese military conference that was held virtually this week.

Early in July, a think tank had claimed the US surveyed the disputed South China Sea “on an almost daily basis” in the first half of the ongoing year.

“AIS [Automatic Identification System] data reveals that the US has been successively deploying all of its 5 ocean surveillance ships into the sensitive waters of the South China Sea on an almost daily basis, in the first half of 2021,” Beijing-based South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI) had said in a bi-annual report.

In April, an SCSPI report had said the US military’s close-in reconnaissance on China in the South China Sea has seen a “sharp increase” in frequency, intensity, and pertinence since 2009.

The US military’s frequent close-in reconnaissance is “always one of the three major obstacles to the Sino-US military relations, and has been more and more serious and risky, in the past two decades,” the SCSPI said.

“Nowadays, the US flies up to 2,000 sorties of reconnaissance planes to the Yellow, East and South China Seas per year,” the report had said.

The South China Sea is claimed by China and several other regional countries, and the continuing US naval operations in the Taiwan Strait, part of the disputed sea, have angered Beijing.

China’s assertions are based on its “nine-dash line” – purple dashes on official Chinese maps that denote Beijing’s historical claims in the South China Sea.

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