China 'Fires Two Missiles' as a 'Warning' to America
Chinese media reports two missiles launched into the South China Sea
The Chinese military has fired two missiles into the South China Sea as a "warning" to the United States following allegations that an American spy plane had entered its no-fly zone, according to reports.
A Communist Party of China (CPC) source reportedly told South China Morning Post that the missiles included an "aircraft-carrier killer."
The missiles were fired in a bid to improve China's ability to deny other forces access to the disputed sea region, the source claims.
The reported missile launches follow allegations from Beijing that Washington sent a US Air Force U-2 spy plane into a no-fly zone.
The zone was imposed during live-fire military exercises in northern China.
The Chinese government accused the U.S. of testing "China's bottom line" with the alleged move.
One of the missiles is said to be a DF-26, which has a range of 2,485 miles and can be used in nuclear or conventional strikes against ground and naval targets, according to The Daily Mail.
The other one, a DF-21, has an estimated range of around 1,118 miles.
The most advanced model in the series, DF-21D, is described by Chinese state media as the world's first anti-ship ballistic missile.
Both were fired into an area between Hainan province and the Paracel Islands, according to South China Morning Post.
"This is China's response to the potential risks brought by the increasingly frequent incoming US warplanes and military vessels in the South China Sea," the source said to the Hong Kong-based newspaper.
"China doesn't want the neighboring countries to misunderstand Beijing's goals."
Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military commentator, claimed that the missile launches were clearly aimed to send a signal to the US.
"The US continues to test China's bottom line in Taiwan and South China Sea issues, and this pushed China to showcase its military strength to let Washington know that even US aircraft carriers cannot flex their full muscle near China's coast," Song said.
The news comes as China is protesting the alleged incursion of an American spy plane into a no-fly zone in the country's north.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Ministry of National Defense said the action had "seriously interfered in normal exercise activities" and "severely incurred the risk of misjudgment and even of bringing about an unintended air-sea incident."
"This was a naked act of provocation," the ministry said, quoting spokesperson Wu Qian.
China has lodged a stern protest and demanded the US cease such actions, Wu said.
The statement did not give details on the time and place of the drills, but the information matches the exercises that started Monday and would run through September 30 over the Bohai Gulf east of Beijing, according to the Maritime Safety Administration.
Relations between the US and China have sunk to their lowest in decades amid disputes over myriad issues including trade, technology, Taiwan, and the South China Sea.
The high-altitude U-2 reconnaissance planes were flown over China, the former Soviet Union, and other countries in the Communist bloc during the Cold War and upgraded versions continue to support US missions.
China is also holding naval drills in the South China Sea, which it claims virtually in its entirety but over which five other governments also exercise claims.
China objects to all US military activity in and over the strategic waterway, especially "freedom of navigation operations" during which US Navy ships sail near to Chinese-held islands.
Another naval exercise is planned from Thursday to Sunday in the East China Sea despite warnings issued over Typhoon Bavi, which is affecting the Korean Peninsula.
The defense ministry earlier this month said combat exercises were held in the Taiwan Strait and surrounding waters that were a "necessary move responding to the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and were meant to safeguard national sovereignty."
China claims Taiwan as its territory and threatens to use military force to bring under its control the island that is a self-governing democracy and close US ally.
Washington and Taipei have increased military and governmental contacts in recent years and this month, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan, prompting a Chinese protest.
The eastern command of the CPC's People's Liberation Army will "stay on high alert and take all necessary measures to fight against provocations and protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity," the ministry quoted command spokesperson, Senior Col. Zhang Chunhui, as saying.