Putin sending clear threat to US with China military drills

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China has militarised several islands in the South China Sea, over which it has far-reaching sovereignty claims. Beijing faces counterclaims in the disputed waters from the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei, which all claim all or part of the sea. But as fears mount that Xi Jinping will invade Taiwan, a military analyst has torn apart the Chinese President’s strategy, which includes creating artificial islands.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr John Callahan said: “It is complete crap. There is no legitimacy to anything that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) has done.

“No one pushes them off the islands. So, they de facto control it because nobody pushes them out.

“Some of those islands you could put back under the water with a pressure hose.”

Dr Callahan referred to the low-lying manmade islands China has created by modifying existing reefs and atolls.

This has included building in the disputed Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

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Several of the manmade islands have been fully militarised, a US military commander said earlier this year.

Beijing has armed the strategic outposts with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, fighter jets and laser and jamming equipment.

US Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John C Aquilino said Beijing’s military build-up marked a U-turn from its previous claim that it would not militarise the region.

He told the Associated Press: “Over the past 20 years we’ve witnessed the largest military build-up since World War 2 by the PRC.

“They have advanced all their capabilities and that build-up of weaponisation is destabilising to the region.”

Over the past week tensions have soared on the edge of the South China Sea amid military activity involving China, the US and Taiwan.

Beijing has flown more fighter jets across the median line in the Taiwan strait, the de facto maritime border between the two nations.

Taipei and analysts have warned that weeks of successive Chinese incursions are evidence that Beijing is preparing to invade Taiwan, which it views as a Chinese province.

Taiwan shot down a suspected Chinese drone that was flying over one of its remote islands on Thursday.

It is the first time Taiwan has made such a move and comes after Taiwanese soldiers fired warning shots at another drone earlier in the week.

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The US also sent two warships, the USS Chancellorsville and the USS Antietam, through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday.

Amid the tensions, Dr Callahan, a former diplomat and US State department official, outlined some of the military threats posed by Beijing.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “The Chinese military is huge. It’s monstrous.

“They just launched a third aircraft carrier. They are doing hundreds of aircraft sorties in the area around Taiwan.

“They are well known to have thousands of ballistic missiles and they make a lot of talk about their hypersonic missiles.”

In June, China unveiled its third aircraft carrier the Fujian, an 80,000-tonne ship seen as a rival to the US fleet.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army also claims to have strengthened itself with the further development of hypersonic missile technology.

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