With tensions in the South China Sea rising with Beijing's continuous territorial claims and the United States pitching in, China has fired several medium-range missiles across several areas of the region, which shows its aggression in asserting its dominance in the disputed waters.
Barrage of powerful missiles
The barrage of destructive missiles was launched on Wednesday is part of multiple military exercises that China has conducted in the territory for the past month. It also comes amid increasing disputes with the United States and the country's move to pressure Taiwan, which Beijing claims part of its own despite its self-governing island democracy.
According to The New York Times, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, did not verify that missile launches were conducted on Thursday. However, the official revealed that China had operated drills in an area between Qingdao in northeastern China and the Spratlys, disputed islands in the South China Sea.
During a regularly scheduled briefing held in Beijing, Colonel Wu said that China's exercises were not directed at any other country or government.
This week, China set up a travel exclusion zone in a small portion of the South China Sea, signaling its plans to conduct missile testings in the area. One United States defense official said that American forces stationed in the region detected four missiles mainland China fired to the area.
The Pentagon is currently assessing the types of missiles that were fired and discovered: medium-range missiles, the DF-26 and the DF-21, which are part of China's rapidly growing arsenal and are capable of targeting vessels moving across the sea.
An expert on the Chinese military, M. Taylor Fravel, director of the Security Studies Program at MIT, said that China has continued to develop its military modernization drive for the past two decades. Fravel noted that Beijing's progress could be seen with its growing frequency of military exercises and new capabilities it has come to wield.
The US defense chief, Mark Esper, said that China has continuously failed to comply with its promises of following international laws. The official noted that Beijing seems to be asserting its aggression and dominance in Southeast Asia, as reported by Aljazeera.
On Tuesday, a US U-2 spy plane allegedly flew into a Chinese-designated no-fly zone without Beijing's permission. The country's military was conducting a live-fire naval drill in the Bohai Sea.
Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming, wrote in a social media post that the United States' move severely disrupted China's regular exercises and training activities.
Foreign ministry spokesman of China, Zhao Lijian, said the flight of the spy plane over Chinese waters was a sign of provocative actions by the American government and urged US officials to cease their actions immediately.
On Thursday, Wu said that China's military would not allow itself to be controlled by the United States, nor will it allow American forces to stir trouble in the South China Sea's disputed waters.