US spy plane is crit­i­cized by China

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI in Beijing and CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton

Wash­ing­ton’s de­ploy­ment of a P8 Po­sei­don spy plane to Sin­ga­pore this month was crit­i­cized by Beijing on Tues­day as part of a US at­tempt to mil­i­ta­rize the South China Sea that does not serve the “com­mon and long-term in­ter­ests” of the re­gion.

P8 air­craft have made head­lines in re­cent years for their role at the fore­front of US chal­lenges to China.

In a joint state­ment af­ter a meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton on Mon­day, US De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash Carter and Sin­ga­pore De­fense Min­is­ter Ng Eng Hen an­nounced that the air­craft would be in Sin­ga­pore from Dec 7 to 14.

The an­nounce­ment was made af­ter an en­hanced de­fense-co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment was signed by Carter and Ng.

The United States al­ready op­er­ates P8s from Ja­pan and the Philip­pines and has con­ducted sur­veil­lance flights from Sin­ga­pore’s neigh­bor, Malaysia.

Reuters re­ferred to Mon­day’s an­nounce­ment as “a fresh re­sponse” to China. It also quoted an un­named US de­fense of­fi­cial as say­ing that fur­ther de­ploy­ments to Sin­ga­pore could be ex­pected.

China’s Min­istry of De­fense said that China is keep­ing close watch on the is­sue.

“(We) hope the bi­lat­eral de­fense co­op­er­a­tion be­tween rel­e­vant coun­tries is con­ducive to re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity, not oth­er­wise,” the min­istry said in re­sponse to the news.

For­eign Min­istry spokesman Hua Chun­y­ing said at a reg­u­lar news con­fer­ence on Tues­day that the over­all sit­u­a­tion in the South China Sea “has re­mained peace­ful and stable”, but the US is try­ing to “strengthen mil­i­tary de­ploy­ment and boost the mil­i­ta­riza­tion of the re­gion”.

Such ac­tions show that the US is “not liv­ing up to the com­mon, longterm in­ter­ests of the re­gional coun­tries”, Hua said, adding that Beijing wanted rel­e­vant par­ties to do more to “boost mu­tual trust among the re­gional coun­tries” and to fa­cil­i­tate peace and de­vel­op­ment.

In Wash­ing­ton on Tues­day, Abra­ham Den­mark, the US deputy as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of de­fense for East Asia, blamed some of China’s con­duct for con­tribut­ing to tension in the Asia Pa­cific and pre­vented the bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship from reach­ing its full po­ten­tial.

Harsh rhetoric aside, Den­mark said the US is work­ing to build deeper and more ef­fec­tive part­ner­ships in the re­gion, in­clud­ing with China, cit­ing the ex­am­ple that Carter has ac­cepted an in­vi­ta­tion from Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping to visit China in 2016.

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