A leading Chinese military strategist called planned U.S. troop exercises in the region a provocation and accused the Obama administration of seeking to encircle China and of running a “chaotic” policy toward Beijing,
The commentary, in the top paper of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), was the latest tirade against Washington which China has accused of stoking tension in the region with a series of military drills near its borders.
“On the one hand, it wants China to play a role in regional security issues. On the other hand, it is engaging in an increasingly tight encirclement of China and constantly challenging China’s core interests,” Rear Admiral Yang Yi wrote in the Liberation Army Daily.
The Pentagon plans for new joint naval exercises with ally South Korea that will send a U.S. aircraft carrier into the Yellow Sea, between China and the Korean peninsula.
The exercises provoked “enmity and confrontation in the Asia-Pacific region,” Yang said.
Yang, who works at China’s National Defense University, warned that friction over the planned U.S.-South Korea naval exercise reflected broader instability in relations with Beijing, and he placed the blame at Washington’s doorstep.
“Rarely has there been such wavering and chaos in U.S. policy toward China,” wrote Yang.
The appearance of Yang’s commentary one day after a similarly angry warning in the paper suggests pressure by the PLA on Beijing for a strong response and that ructions over the military activities will continue to unsettle overall ties.
China appears unlikely to risk directly challenging any new U.S.-South Korea drills by sending its ships to the same waters, a step that could risk a dangerous escalation in tensions.
However, its anger with the Obama administration could hold off any upgrading of military relations, which Beijing has curtailed since friction earlier this year over U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan, the self-ruled island claimed by China.
The U.S. and South Korea last month held a joint naval drill in the Sea of Japan off the Korean peninsula, which brought condemnation from China, which answered with its own heavily publicized military exercises.
The Pentagon last week said a U.S. aircraft carrier, the George Washington, which joined in the earlier exercise, would participate in a follow-up drill in the Yellow Sea.
The United States and South Korea have said their exercises are aimed at warning North Korea, which they blame for torpedoing a South Korean navy ship in March.
“As well as expressing its dissatisfaction to North Korea, the United States even more wants to send a signal to other countries in the northeast Asia region — that the United States remains the world’s top military power,” wrote Yang.
“Anyone clear-sighted can see that this carries something of a warning to China.”