13 October 2020
At least 60 American warplanes conducted close-up reconnaissance flights near China in September and the US may be preparing for future long-distance missions in the South China Sea, a think tank in Beijing said. Among the flights recorded, 41 were over the disputed South China Sea, six over the East China Sea and, further north, 13 over the Yellow Sea, the Beijing-backed South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI) said in a report. The report said air refuelling activities had shown an uptick in September, possibly suggesting the US was preparing for future long-distance attacks against targets in the South China Sea.
Ben Ho, an Associate Research Fellow at RSIS said the US was planning for a worst-case scenario. “The US deployment of aerial tankers from Guam rather than Okinawa hints at the much talked-about contingency where bases on the Japanese island are knocked out by Chinese missiles during the opening stages of a Sino-American conflict,” Ho said.
IDSS / Print
Last updated on 14/10/2020