US escalates tensions in South China Sea amidst Corona pandemic, Chinese media blame

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 24 March 2020, 16:26 GMT]
The US Seventh Fleet has claimed in a Facebook post on Monday that its guided-missile destroyer, USS Barry, launched a live missile during an exercise in the Philippine Sea on Thursday last week. In the meantime, Hong Kong-based newspaper, South China Morning Post (SCMP), which is owned by a Chinese multinational technology company, described the development as an “unusual drill” on Tuesday. The paper said military observers in Beijing believed that it was a “signal to the PLA that American forces can counter advanced threats.” Also, the English version of the paper operated by the Communist Party of China (CPC), Global Times, on Sunday blamed the Trump Administration as increasing efforts to escalate tension in the South China Sea region in an attempt to “shift attention from its failure in containing COVID-19 and the plummeting stock market.”

The Facebook Post,, said:

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry - DDG 52 launched a missile during a live-fire exercise and conducted combat information center operations. Barry is underway conducting operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific while assigned to Destroyer Squadron Fifteen the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s largest principal force.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) launches a missile during a live-fir
[Photo courtesy: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Askia Collins]

“The US Navy is worried about Chinese missiles, which China could use as a trump card in a military conflict between the two parties in the region. The Seventh Fleet wants to warn Beijing that it can intercept missiles from China,” the SCMP quoted Beijing-based military specialist Zhou Chenming as saying.

Meanwhile, the CPC-owned Global Times, in its report on Sunday noted that “US warships have travelled within 12 nautical miles of the South China Sea islands in Chinese territory five separate times,” since late January 2020.

External Links:
SCMP: US Navy launches live-fire missiles in ‘warning to China’
Global Times: US steps up maritime provocations in attempt to distract China’s COVID-19 fight



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