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U.S. Military Continues Aggressive Reconnaissance of Coastal China

Oct. 13, 2020 (EIRNS)—The South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative said in a report released yesterday that the U.S. military flew at least 60 reconnaissance flights off China’s coasts in September. The number is reported to be about the same as July and August but with a large proportion of them being “specific” missions in response to PLA Navy exercises. Out of the total, 41 of them were over the South China Sea, 6 over the East China Sea and 13 over the Yellow Sea, reported South China Morning Post.

The report also said air refueling activities had shown an uptick last month, possibly suggesting the United States was preparing capability for future long-distance attacks, implying against targets in the South China Sea. It said several air refueling craft sent to add fuel to the surveillance planes over the South China Sea had departed from Guam rather than Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. This is unusual “because such operations are uneconomical and inefficient,” the report said. “Such operations are more probably preparing for future long-distance refuelling in extreme conditions, and thus deserve great attention.”

“This showed that the South China Sea region is still the U.S.’ primary focus, but what is equally notable is that activities in the Yellow Sea region had a marked increase when compared with the sporadic activities two months ago,” the report said.

The report also said that the actual number of flights may have been higher but were hidden by the planes using their transponders to disguise themselves as civilian aircraft.

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