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HKET: U.S. Reconnaissance Aircraft Challenged China’s Bottom Line

Hong Kong Economic Times (HKET), the leading financial daily in Hong Kong, recently reported that U.S.-China tensions just intensified in the South China Sea, right after the trade meeting got postponed for one month. According to the surveillance data that Beijing University’s South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI) released, on August 15, the U.S. Navy EP-3E Reconnaissance Aircraft reached the closest point of 50.19 nautical miles (around 93 kilometers or 58 miles) from China’s Canton Province. SCSPI also identified that another EP-3E “potentially” entered Taiwan’s airspace. The SCSPI platform summarized that, in three days, the U.S. dispatched seven P-8A, P-3C, RC-135 or EP-3E aircraft to the region. Taiwanese media described this as “testing China’s bottom line.” In the meantime, according to an announcement from the U.S. Navy, the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier returned to the South China Sea for exercises, joined by the USS Antietam, the USS Mustin and the USS Rafael Peralta cruisers as well as the Fifth Carrier Aircraft Wing. The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier just had two exercises with the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier last month. The Chinese military called these activities a “major threat” to the Taiwan Strait area.

Source: HKET, August 16, 2020