China Has Installed Military Jamming Equipment in the South China Sea

The Wall Street Journal

The Philippines is looking to seal a pact with China within a few months to jointly explore for oil and gas in a part of the busy South China Sea waterway claimed by both countries, a Philippine official said on Monday.

Beijing has maintained that its military buildup across the South China Sea is strictly for defensive measures.

"What we see now is a show of force and a counter show of force in the South China Sea", said Roilo Golez, a former Philippine national security adviser and congressman.

ABOARD THE USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, South China Sea (Reuters) - In a span of 20 minutes, 20 F-18 fighter jets took off and landed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, in a powerful display of military precision and efficiency.

It claims essentially the entire resource-rich South China Sea, through which around $5 trillion in worldwide commerce moves annually, and it has constructed installations on synthetic islands to expand its military footprint.

Despite such fears and occasional exchanges of rhetoric, U.S. Rear Adm. Steve Koehler told reporters on board the Roosevelt that it has been smooth sailing so far, with U.S., Chinese and other forces engaging each other professionally. However, Chinese outposts in the South China Sea are strategically placed near shipping lanes, USA officials have noted.

USA warships regularly conduct "freedom of navigation" operations near islands controlled by Beijing.

Tensions between the United States of America and China over commerce and has been stepped up of late, with fear inside the space that the South China Sea, which is necessary to worldwide commerce, might sooner or later become a battleground between the two rival powers.

"I haven't seen any risky interaction", Koehler said, adding that problems could be avoided "if all the navies are operating in accordance with the global norm and law".

The news comes amid the United States' rising tensions with China following new tariffs that have resulted in a trade war and China's reported plans to deploy its first domestic aircraft carrier.

Philippine ties with China have meanwhile warmed under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has put aside disputes with Beijing and wants it to play a key role in building and funding urgently needed infrastructure, from highways and ports to railways and power plants.

American officials have said U.S. Navy ships will continue sailing close to Chinese-occupied areas without prior notice, placing Washington in a continuing collision course with China's interests.

"It is a showcase of the capability of the USA armed forces", Philippine army chief Rolando Bautista said of the demonstration.

"The Americans are our friends".

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