US can no longer contain China within First Island Chain: Duowei
China's Mobile 5 naval exercise in the Western Pacific between Oct. 18 and Nov. 1 has shown that the United States can no longer contain the Chinese maritime power within the First Island Chain — which extends from Alaska, South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines, according to Duowei News, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.
Under the request of Admiral Wu Shengli, commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy, the Mobile 5 naval exercise deployed vessels, submarines, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from China's North Sea Fleet, East Sea Fleet and South Sea Fleet to compete against each other in an environment closest to real combat. The exercise was launched to prove that Chinese vessels have the ability to hold exercises beyond the First Island Chain by penetrating the Miyako waterway between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa.
State-run China Central Television (CCTV) reported that Japanese aircraft closely monitored the Chinese naval fleet during the exercise. During a press conference held on Oct. 31, Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun said the Japan Maritime Self Sefense Force sent the Ikazuchi — a Murasame-class destroyer — into the area of exercise on Oct. 25 and claimed that the intrusion was a act of provocation. Yang said that China demands a promise from the Japanese government to never interrupt Chinese naval exercises in the future.
Tensions between the two countries
continue to mount after the Japanese government nationalized the disputed Diaoyu (Senkaku or Diaoyutai) islands last September. The Diaoyu islands, known in Japan as the Senkaku islands and in Taiwan as the Diaoyutai islands, are an island chain in the East China Sea claimed by the three parties but controlled by Japan.
China has begun to
launch routine naval exercises near the disputed waters, while Chinese vessels penetrate the Miyako waterway at least once every two months for exercises in the Western Pacific, according to the London-based Jane's Defense Weekly.
Du Wenlong, a military analyst from Beijing told Duowei News that the First Island Chain was established by the United States and its
alliesduring the Cold War to contain the maritime expansion of China. The PLA Navy has made several attempts to break through the line over the years, proving its ability to launch military drills beyond the makeshift barrier, Du said.
Another military expert Chen Hu said the PLA Navy has no intention of challenging the position of the US Navy as a global maritime superpower, but China has a legal right to conduct exercises like any of other nation in the open sea.