Some Chinese military expert wrote an anonymous post on the internet recently, saying that USS Lassen (DDG-82) Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer’s recent behavior in South China Sea indicates that USA agrees that the nearby islands and islets in disputes belong to China.
The article says USS Lassen Destroyer was very safe and professional in selecting its route in South China Sea, that’s just along the centre line between disputed Zhongye Island under control of the Philippines and China’s Zhubi Islet, even if the distance between the two is less than 12 miles. Therefore, USS Lassen DDG-82 Destroyer did entered territorial waters in South China Sea claimed by China.
Besides, USS Lassen DDG-82 Destroyer adopted means of inoffensive passage, so China had no right to interfere with its passage according to international law. As a result, that was not any challenge to China’s claim over disputed South China Sea and related islands, but American media called it a “challenge”, so did officials of the Pentagon.
According to the Chinese expert, even the joint military exercise between Japanese Navy and U.S. Navy was exaggerated. For Japanese destroyer and American fleet had an exercise on the Indian Ocean, and then just went through South China Sea on their way back. Therefore, there wasn’t any challenge against China either.
So what the Obama Administration did was just self-boasting to pacify domestic media press. But unfortunately China refused to make any “cold treatment”, and thus carried out a series of military exercises in South China Sea after following USS Lassen Destroyer.
Even China’s naval air force made a response. An air force regiment of Guangzhou Military Region performed blue water training on October 29th, and J-10 fighters belonging to air force of East China Sea Fleet also carried out air refueling drill with HY-6 refueling plane.
On October 30th, J-11BH and J-11BSH fighters from Wang Wei’s regiment made a limiting flight, and landed on Airport of Yongxing Island, the biggest one among the Xisha Islands. All the military trainings used live ammunition.
American media also said that if Chinese Type 052C “Lanzhou” 170 Destroyer, which followed and monitored USS Lassen Destroyer in South China Sea, chose to attack Lassen by its advanced YJ-62 anti-ship missile, Lassen would have been destroyed.
Anyhow, the Chinese expert’s view was criticized by many Chinese netizens as “Ah Q spirit” or self-deception. And China’s mild response to USS Lassen Destroyer also caused wide disappointment and anger in China. Some insinuated that “the soft Zhonghua (Chinese) Cigarette is good to smoke”, indicating that China is too soft in face of US Navy in disputes in South China Sea.