China Protests Against U.S. Spy Flights Near Its Coast

Chinese officials warn that American Surveillance planes have harmed “severely undermined mutual trust” and dampened military relations between China and U.S. From Reuters:

“We demand that the U.S. respect China’s sovereignty and security interests and take concrete measures to boost a healthy and stable development of military relations,” the Global Times newspaper quoted the Ministry of National Defense as saying.

Xinhua news agency later quoted ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng as saying the reconnaissance missions “have severely undermined mutual trust and remained a major obstacle to the development of military ties.”

The comments followed Mullen’s visit to China two weeks ago, part of efforts to improve ties with the People’s Liberation Army. Their ties have been rocky, with China unhappy with U.S. reconnaissance patrols near its coast and is suspicious of its bases in South Korea and Japan.

Taiwan and China officials downplayed an incident where two Chinese Sukhoi-27 fighter planes shadowing an American U-2 spy plane crossed the median line in the Taiwan Straits. Meanwhile, experts warned that these actions need to be addressed seriously. From the Taipei Times:

“Unless China has frequently done so in the past, which I doubt, crossing the centerline to shadow a U-2 is rather provocative,” he said. “I can’t think of any reason why China would start to do that at this particular time, but Beijing does regularly complain about intelligence and reconnaissance activities conducted against it, even when they are conducted in international waters or airspace. It is getting more assertive in its efforts to prevent them.”

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