China urges US to stop ‘unfriendly’ flights

BEIJING: China on Tuesday called on the United States to stop “unfriendly” and “dangerous” military flights after two Chinese fighter jets intercepted an American surveillance plane over the East China Sea.
The US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft took evasive action on Sunday after a Chinese J-10 warplane zoomed underneath it, slowed down and pulled up in front of it, the Pentagon said earlier.
China’s defence ministry said the action of its pilots was “legal, necessary and professional”.
“The US military aircraft coming near China’s border and carrying out reconnaissance has threatened China’s national security, damaged Sino-US military air and sea safety, endangered the personal safety of both pilots,” it said in a statement.
“The US side should immediately stop such unsafe, unprofessional and unfriendly dangerous military activities and take practical measures to add positive energy to the development of Sino-US military relations.”
Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the incident, which occurred west of the Korean peninsula, was an “uncharacteristic” example of unsafe behaviour by the Chinese military.
Military more nimble: China’s military is more nimble and technologically proficient following reforms to make it more compact and responsive, rather than just relying on strength of numbers, state media on Tuesday cited President Xi Jinping as saying.
China’s armed forces, the world’s largest, are in the midst of an ambitious modernisation programme, from restructuring to troop cuts and investment in technology and equipment upgrades, such as acquiring stealth fighters and aircraft carriers.
Speaking to the ruling Communist Party’s elite Politburo, Xi called for all-out efforts to drive military reform, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Stop oil drilling: 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. — AFP/Reuters