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Experts concern as China continuously carries out military exercises

August 27, 2020 | 16:35

The fact that China has continuously practiced military exercises in the sea in recent days raising concerns about the rise of nationalism in this country, leading to unpredictable developments in the region.

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China's military exercise: aiming at multiple purposes (Photo: Thanh Nien)

China's military exercise: aiming at multiple purposes

In an interview with Thanh Nien on August 25, Prof. Yoichiro Sato (specialized in international relations, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan) analyzed: "In the last month, China has been carrying on a series of military exercises in the East Sea near Taiwan in order to respond to the visit to Taipei of US U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar."

Meanwhile, according to Prof. Sato, Beijing's recent announcement of its real-time fire drills in the Yellow Sea aims at the US-Japan joint exercises.

"Washington and Tokyo originally hold joint exercises to prevent the force of Chinese fishing ships rushing to the area of Senkaku/ Diaoyu islands in the East Sea where Japan and China are currently having disputes. After Chinese unilateral yearly bans on fishing in some regions such as the East Sea and Bien Dong Sea expired from August 16, from mid-August, its fishing ships began returns to those areas, causing many concerns", Sato said.

However, according to him, China mainly just wants to "encourage spirit" internally. “When the US and Japan holing the exercises, China conducted its exercises to react, but Beijing actually directed the fishing force not to enter the waters around the Senkaku/ Diaoyu Islands. This shows that, although China wants to maintain its position, it actually does not want to cause tension with the US and Japan ", Professor Sato evaluated and commented that the exercise that China conducted in the Bot Hai region, again, is far from the US-Japan naval operational area, aiming at showing its domestic public opinion that Beijing is capable of facing Washington's threats.

"In addition, these drills also implies the fact that China is still worried about the US level of military reinforcement exercises", Sato added: "During the ongoing series, China also proceeds in the South China Sea. And this move brings many issues of concern when recent satellite images show Chinese submarines moving into a Du LamYulin military base (Hainan Island, China) ”.

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Beijing’s redefined navigational area encompasses parts of Vietnam's Paracel Islands (Photo: AFP)

The Rise of Nationalism

Regarding the above developments, responding to Thanh Nien, Mr. Greg Poling (Director of the Maritime Transparency Initiative - AMTI) of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS, USA) commented that China's recent drills are quite similar to what the country has been pursuing for the past several months since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the midst of experiencing the difficulties caused by Covid-19, Beijing seems to find ways to move towards nationalism to tackle its domestic challenge, despite its external tensions. Even though the situation in the South China Sea, East China Sea, the India-China border, or even the Taiwan Strait seems to be big problems, China is facing a much more difficult situation. When unrelated incidents occur consecutively on a more frequent basis, and Beijing has responded by tensions, countries in Southeast Asia and neighboring countries become more dissident with China. Just like that, the situation is even more stressful,” Poling asked.

From the fact just mentioned, this expert is also concerned: “In addition, in the face of increasing pressure from the US, nationalism has risen in China, so the situation is tense and the risk of conflict. becomes more unpredictable in the coming time ”.

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