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People’s Liberation Army Orders Its Forces Not To Shoot First in Encounters with U.S. Military

Aug. 13, 2020 (EIRNS)—Despite continued U.S. military provocations in the South China Sea, including near China’s coasts, the Chinese military is taking steps to reduce the risks of an escalation between PLA forces and the U.S. military. South China Morning Post reported on Aug. 11 that China has told its service personnel “not to fire the first shot” as Beijing looks to de-escalate tensions with the United States in the South China Sea, according to “sources familiar with the situation.” Both sides have stepped up their operations in the disputed waters, increasing the risk of incidents that spiral out of control, according to SCMP, but Beijing does not want to give American hawks the opportunity to escalate things further. The sources said Beijing had ordered pilots and naval officers to exercise restraint in the increasingly frequent stand-offs with U.S. planes and warships.

One source close to the Chinese military told SCMP that Beijing had communicated through “various channels” to the U.S. that it had told its military “never to fire first” in a goodwill gesture to keep the situation under control. “It’s easy to give the order to shoot, but neither China nor the U.S. is able to control the consequences. The current situation is highly tense and very dangerous,” the source said.

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