Friday 19 July 2019

Ministry denies missile tests in South China Sea after US claims

The South China Sea is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship (stock picture)
The South China Sea is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship (stock picture)

Ben Blanchard

China's Defence Ministry yesterday denied US accusations that the Chinese military had recently carried out missile tests in the disputed South China Sea, saying instead that it had held routine drills that involved the firing of live ammunition.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday the missile launch was "disturbing" and contrary to Chinese pledges that it would not militarise the strategic waterway.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said yesterday that according to initial information, China appeared to have tested multiple anti-ship ballistic missiles last weekend.

In a brief statement sent to Reuters responding to the US claims, China's Defence Ministry said this was not true. "The relevant reports do not accord with the facts," it said.

"Recently, the People's Liberation Army Southern Theatre Command arranged live ammunition firing drills in waters near Hainan island in accordance with annual exercise arrangements," the ministry added. "These were not aimed at any country or any specific target."

The South China Sea is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the US-China relationship.

Irish Independent

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