CHINA has launched missiles — including an "aircraft-carrier killer" — into the South China Sea during menacing war games in "a warning" to the US.
This came one day after furious Beijing said it detected an American U-2 spy plane entering a no-fly zone during a Chinese live-fire naval drill in the tightly controlled Bohai Sea off its north coast.
China reportedly tested the powerful missiles into the disputed South China Sea as part of a project to take over the maritime region.
It contains strategic sea lanes and has rich fishing grounds along with trillions of pounds worth of oil and gas deposits.
But Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei argue they also own parts of the sea that are contested and the US has backed their claims.
One of China’s missiles, a DF-26B, was launched from the northwestern province of Qinghai.
The other was a DF-21D which lifted off from Zhejiang province in the east.
Both were fired into an area between Hainan province and the Paracel Islands, reports the South China Morning Post.
The US continues to test China’s bottom line in Taiwan and South China Sea issues, and this pushed China to showcase its military strength
The missile landing areas were within a zone that Hainan maritime safety authorities declared on Friday would be off limits because of military exercises from Monday to Saturday.
Vietnam today accused China of violating its sovereignty by conducting the war games in a disputed part of the South China Sea and said Beijing's actions were "complicating" negotiations on establishing a code of conduct in the region.
The move follows unprecedented military drills near Taiwan which Beijing claims is a renegade state amid fears it is preparing to invade the US-backed island democracy.
Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military commentator, told the South China Morning Post the missile launches were clearly meant to send a signal to the United States about its military might.
He said: "The US continues to test China’s bottom line in Taiwan and South China Sea issues, and this pushed China to showcase its military strength to let Washington know that even US aircraft carriers cannot flex their full muscle near China’s coast."
Taiwan first broke away from mainland China in 1949, when former president Chiang Kai-shek and his supporters fled to the island following the Chinese Communist Party victory in the country's civil war.
Chiang's government continued to claim to be the legitimate representative of China, but since 1950 its jurisdiction has been limited to Taiwan and a number of smaller islands in the region.
Beijing cut ties with the island's government after the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, a supporter of Taiwanese independence, in 2016, and has continued to seek to isolate it diplomatically while raising the military threat.
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