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U.S. Admiral says China has fully militarized islands

“I think we’ve witnessed China’s greatest military buildup since World War II in the last two decades,” Aquilino told The Associated Press in an interview using the official Chinese initials. The accumulation of weaponization has destabilized the region. “

There was no immediate comment from the Chinese authorities. Beijing claims that its military profile is arranged to protect what it says is purely defensive and sovereign. However, after years of rising military spending, China is now the third to rapidly modernize its army with the United States with a weapons system that includes J-20 stealth fighters, supersonic missiles, and two aircraft carriers. Is under construction.

Aquilino spoke with an AP on board a U.S. Navy reconnaissance aircraft that flew near a Chinese-owned outpost in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea, one of the most fiercely contested areas in the world. During the patrol, the P-8A Poseidon aircraft was repeatedly warned. Chinese callers said they had illegally invaded what they said was Chinese territory and ordered the plane to move away.

“China has sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and the surrounding waters. Stay away immediately to avoid misunderstandings,” said one of the toughest radio messages with an obscured threat.

However, the U.S. Navy plane dismissed multiple warnings and conducted reconnaissance at a short but tense moment witnessed by two AP journalists invited on board. “State”, US pilots have returned wirelessly to the Chinese.

“The exercise of these rights is guaranteed by international law and I work with full respect for the rights and obligations of all states,” he said.

Navy commander Joel Martinez, who led the crew of the P-8A Poseidon, said the incident occurred when a Chinese jet flew near a US aircraft in a dangerous maneuver in a conflict area. In aircraft safety regulations, he said.

When P-8A Poseidon flew 15,000 feet near a Chinese-occupied coral reef, some looked like small cities on screen monitors, skyscrapers, warehouses, hangars, harbors, runways, white round structures. Aquilino said there was. radar. Near the fiery cross, I could see more than 40 unspecified ships apparently moored.

Aquilino appears to have completed construction of missile weapons, aircraft hangers, radar systems and other military installations on Mischief Reef, Subi Reef and Firely Cross, but China seeks to build military infrastructure elsewhere. He said he wasn’t sure if he would.

“The function of these islands is to extend China’s offensive capabilities beyond the continental coast. They can fly all the offensive capabilities of the missile system in addition to fighters and bombers.”

He said military and civilian aircraft flying over disputed waterways could easily enter the missile system of the Chinese islands.

“It’s a threat that exists, and that’s why we’re concerned about the militarization of these islands. They threaten all the countries operating in the neighborhood and all the international seas and airspaces.” He said.

China sought to strengthen its vast territorial claims over almost the entire South China Sea by building an island base on the Coral Atoll almost 10 years ago. There is no claim, but for decades we have deployed naval vessels and aircraft to patrol and facilitate free voyages in international waterways and airspace.

China routinely opposes US military action in the region. Other political parties (Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei) claim all or part of the ocean, shipping about $ 5 trillion in goods each year.

Despite China’s aggression, long-simmering territorial disputes should only be settled peacefully, Aquilino said, favoring the Philippine government’s successful move to bring the dispute with China into international arbitration in 2013. Quoted as a template.

A UN-backed arbitral tribunal that handled the case invalidated China’s widespread historical allegations in the South China Sea under the UN Maritime Law Treaty, and Beijing dismissed the ruling as a fake and continues to oppose it. ..

Washington’s main purpose in conflict areas is to “prevent war” through deterrence, promote peace and stability, and include involving US allies and partners in projects with that purpose. Aquilino said.

“If deterrence fails, my second mission is to fight and prepare to win,” said 380,000 military and civilian largest US combatants covering 36 countries and territories. Aquilino, who leads the commander, said.

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