A PLA Air Force's H-6K patrols maritime features. (File photo)
BEIJING, August 16 (ChinaMil) -- American media recently reported that more Chinese coast guard vessels have appeared in waters near Huangyan Dao in the South China Sea, causing worries that China may be carrying out island and reef construction there.
Yin Zhuo, a military expert, said in an interview with CCTV's Asia Today that the U.S. keeps hyping up China's activities in Huangyan Dao with the intention of stopping China's island and reef construction in the South China Sea.
The U.S. still has the illusion that it can intimidate China with military threat, but in fact such an approach is "completely useless", Yin Zhuo stressed.
America's Free Beacon website published on August 11 an article titled "China reinforces presence in Huangyan Dao ", which quoted several Pentagon officials as saying that the number of Chinese coast guard vessels sailing around Huangyan Dao increased sharply in the past few weeks.
According to an official familiar with U.S. intelligence, China usually deployed two or three vessels around Huangyan Dao in the past few years, but the number increased to more than ten lately, and a lot of Chinese fishing boats also appeared in that area.
A former intelligence officer in the U.S. Pacific Fleet analyzed that the appearance of large quantities of coast guard vessels may indicate that China will began artificial construction activities on Huangyan Dao.
The U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson told Reuters in March this year that the U.S. military found the increasing activities by Chinese surface vessels near Huangyan Dao "unsettling" and it was "contemplating countermeasures".
The U.S. Defense Minister Carter made tough remarks at the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue in June this year, saying that island and reef construction in Huangyan Dao is a "red line" that China should not cross. If China did build facilities there, the U.S. and other countries would "take actions".
In addition to making tough remarks, the U.S. military has also made Huangyan Dao a focus of their operations.
It is reported that four A-10 ground attack planes and two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters of the U.S. military took off from the Clark Air Base in northwest Manila to carry out missions over the South China Sea, including patrolling in the airspace around Huangyan Dao.
Why is the U.S. so sensitive about Huangyan Dao? The CCTV reported that compared with Nansha Islands, Huangyan Dao is further north and it can help control the path from the north to the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, it's only 200km or so from Huangyan Dao to the Philippines' Subic Bay and Clark Air Base, so the U.S. military is worried that once China begins military construction and deploys military forces there, it will pose a direct threat to U.S. naval and air forces stationed in the Philippines.
The Chinese government emphasized repeatedly that construction on South China Sea islands and reefs is completely within China's sovereignty and no other country has any right to make carping comments.
Yin Zhuo pointed out that although Huangyan Dao is close to Subic Bay, it's not of great military and strategic significance for the U.S. because Subic Bay isn't an indispensable military base for the U.S. military in the Asia Pacific and its stationed troops there are not in large quantities.
The U.S. keeps hyping up China's activities in Huangyan Dao with the intention of stopping China's island and reef construction in the South China Sea, Yin Zhuo said.
He added that the U.S. still has the illusion that it can intimidate China with military threat, but in fact, such an approach is "completely useless".
Huangyan Dao is China's inherent territory and China will independently decide what facilities it will build there and when to build them.
The U.S. has no rights to interfere. If the U.S. dared to resort to force against China there, China would respond with force resolutely and fully prepared.
The author is Qiu Yue, a reporter from the People's Daily Online.