During his recent visit to the Philippines [on July 18], Admiral Swift, the U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, participated in person in the surveillance flight over the South China Sea. In an interview with a People’s Daily reporter, Chinese military expert Zhang Junshe explained China’s position on Swift’s tour.
“Talking about the motives of the United States, Zhang said that the U.S. has patrolled in the South China Sea for decades. Whether it uses P-8A or P-3C patrol aircraft, it is nothing new. It is rare, however, that this time Swift, the newly appointed commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, was aboard a reconnaissance aircraft P-8A patrol for seven hours. This is especially so, since the U.S. also publicly reported the event afterwards. The [purpose of the] U.S. move is to deliver a message of support to the Philippines and to countries who have territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea."
“The dispute over the South China Sea islands and reefs is a long-standing one. The Philippines and Vietnam have properly dealt with it in the past. There is no big problem. Since the United States implemented the strategy of ‘returning to the Asia-Pacific’ and ‘Pacific rebalancing,’ the U.S. has deliberately muddied the South China Sea issue and incited neighboring countries to make trouble for China. This move of the United States also expresses support for the Philippines’ provocative actions toward China.”
“Zhang Junshe pointed out that the South China Sea was calm to begin with but the United States wanted to use the Philippines to contain China’s development. Therefore, the U.S. Admiral made a big fuss in the South China Sea. The South China Sea reefs dispute is not tense like what the United States says. In order to maintain its hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States encourages the neighboring countries to make trouble in the South China Sea. It contributes no good [toward helping] China and related countries to resolve their disputes.”
“To the countries who continue to provoke conflicts, we will take the necessary measures and strengthen our defense. If other country’s actions threaten the core interests of China, we will respond firmly. China, as a big country, is the backbone of maintaining regional peace and stability. Some countries continue to discredit and attack China. Once a military conflict with China occurs, these countries will not gain any benefit. We will take firm actions.”
Source: People’s Daily, July 22, 2014