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China relentless in quest for hegemony in Western Pacific 

Sankei took up an annual report on the security environment in East Asia released on Friday by the National Institute for Defense Studies, highlighting the Defense Ministry’s concern about China’s continued pursuit of maritime hegemony in the Western Pacific. The daily wrote that the coronavirus pandemic apparently has not deterred China from staging provocations in the South and East China Seas, as Chinese government ships have already intruded in Japan’s territorial waters around the Senkakus six times this year and a Chinese patrol boat sank a Vietnamese trawler near the Paracel Islands earlier this month. 

 

In a related story, Sunday’s Sankei led with the disclosure by a source connected to the Taiwanese Defense Ministry that a U.S. Navy Aegis destroyer passed through the Chinese side of the median line of the waters between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan toward the South China Sea from Friday afternoon through early Saturday morning, saying that the median line is viewed as a “demilitarized line.” The daily speculated that the U.S. military perhaps operated the USS Barry on the Chinese side of the Taiwan Strait to hold in check China’s continued maritime advancement even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The paper separately reported that a fleet of PLA Navy warships, including an aircraft carrier, passed through the waters between the main island of Okinawa and Miyako Island on Saturday, noting that the armada headed toward the Pacific Ocean.  

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