Monday, July 22, 2024

Amid tensions, China sends aircraft carrier to Philippine coast | World News

China Deploys Second Aircraft Carrier ‘Shandong’ to Assert Claims in South China Sea

China’s Second Aircraft Carrier ‘Shandong’ Patrolling Waters Near Philippines Amid Territorial Dispute

In a bold move to assert its dominance in the hotly contested South China Sea, China has deployed its second aircraft carrier, the ‘Shandong,’ which was recently spotted patrolling waters off the Philippine coast. This deployment comes as Manila has been intensifying efforts to assert its claims over a shoal in the disputed region, directly challenging Beijing’s counterclaims.

The ‘Shandong,’ boasting a massive displacement of around 70,000 tonnes, was seen patrolling near the Philippines as a deterrent against what Chinese state-run media called “continuous Philippine provocations” on Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea. According to the Global Times, the aircraft carrier’s presence is meant to send a clear message to Manila amid escalating tensions over territorial disputes in the region.

Chinese experts suggest that the ‘Shandong’ is likely on a scheduled exercise that could potentially prepare it for a far sea voyage into the West Pacific. This deployment comes on the heels of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) deploying major surface combat ships, including destroyers and an amphibious landing ship, in the South China Sea as the maritime territorial conflict with Manila heats up.

Ni Lexiong, a defense professor at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, noted that the ‘Shandong’s’ passage is intended to serve as a deterrent to Manila and Washington, emphasizing China’s commitment to protecting its territorial sea sovereignty amidst tensions over the Second Thomas Shoal. The recent collision between a Philippine naval ship and a Chinese vessel near the shoal further underscores the growing confrontations between the two nations.

As the China-Philippines confrontation escalates, with both nations vying to assert their claims in the disputed South China Sea, the international community is closely watching the developments in the region. The United States has shown its support for Manila by deploying missile defense systems in the Philippines, while the Philippines has also imported missiles from India to bolster its defense capabilities.

With China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea and its deployment of advanced military assets, including aircraft carriers and advanced weaponry, the regional security landscape is becoming increasingly complex. As tensions continue to rise, the possibility of a military conflict looms large, posing a significant challenge to the stability of the region.

In the midst of geopolitical rivalries and territorial disputes, the South China Sea remains a flashpoint that could have far-reaching implications for regional security and stability. The deployment of China’s ‘Shandong’ aircraft carrier near the Philippines serves as a stark reminder of the simmering tensions in the region and the potential risks of a broader conflict.

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