US military flays flights of Chinese fighter jets over South China Sea
WASHINGTON (US) – The US military said on Friday that the flights of the Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea in the past week revealed a pattern of destabilising and aggressive behaviour on the part of Beijing, but posed no threat to Washington’s aircraft carrier group in the region.
“The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group closely monitored all People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Air Force (PLAAF) activity, and at no time did they pose a threat to US Navy ships, aircraft, or sailors,” the US military’s Pacific Command said in a statement.
A source said the aircraft did not come within 250 nautical miles (460 km) of the Navy vessels of the US.
Taiwan also reported the presence of several Chinese fighter jets over the southwestern corner of its air defense identification zone last weekend. The fighter jets also included nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and they flew near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
“They purposely conducted the drills when the US carrier was passing through the Bashi Channel,” said one source.
“That was not just meant for Taiwan. Most importantly, China is trying to tackle the issue of the South China Sea: it wants to stop the US military from entering the South China Sea. China wants to diminish the United States’ weight in the western Pacific.”