South China Sea PANIC: US spy plane missions near China DOUBLES in alarming spike

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The Chinese think tank said the US has also incremented its naval ship presence in China by more than 60 percent since 2009, according to Newsweek. The US Air Force, Navy and Army currently execute three to five reconnaissance flights a day.

The South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI) has found that the total of reconnaissance flights has reached more than 1,500 a year.

The think tank was founded in April 2019 and analyses air and maritime movements using open-source commercial data.

A spokesperson told Newsweek that the US surveillance in the Yellow Sea, and the East and South China Seas, has been “steadily rising” since Barack Obama’s presidency.

They also observed “an abnormal increase in frequency” in recent years.

Speaking to Newsweek, the spokesperson said: “According to our observations, since 2009, the US military has significantly enhanced the frequency of activities in the region by boosting the presence of surface vessels by more than 60 percent, reaching about 1,000 ship-days a year.

“In the air, it sends on average three to five warplanes to the South China Sea per day, most of them being reconnaissance aircraft, making a total of more than 1,500 sorties a year, almost twice as many as in 2009.”

In its latest observation, SCSPI said US spy planes flew at least 60 sorties near China last month.

The move was labelled a “close-in reconnaissance” of Beijing’s activities.

The organisation also described a “sharp increase” in surveillance aircraft numbers over the Yellow Sea as the People’s Liberation Army carried out live-fire military drills nearby.

The report read: “On September 22nd, for example, a USAF RC-135S, which specialise in collecting ballistic missiles data, conducted a mission till 20.00pm over the Yellow Sea, coinciding with the PLA military exercises nearby, during which it electronically disguised as a Filipino civilian plane.

“According to our observation, a total of 16 sorties of US spy planes were sent to monitor PLA exercises, 13 flew to the Yellow Sea and 3 to the East China Sea.”

The spokesperson also called attention to the “remarkable change” in US activity in the area.

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They said: “Generally, these activities have been steadily rising.

However, recent years have seen “an abnormal increase in their frequency, intensity, and pertinence, which indicates a remarkable change that deserves intensive attention.”

SCSPI said the US military seemed to be carrying out “future preparations for long-distance refuelling under extreme conditions.”

The report comes after Indonesia refused a request by the US to host its P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance while they refuel, according to four Jakarta senior officials.

The country does not allow foreign defence forces to operate within its boundaries.

Dino Patti Djalal, a former Indonesian ambassador to the US, said the “very aggressive anti-China policy” of the US had sparked concerns in Indonesia.

Speaking to Reuters, he said: “It’s seen as out-of-place.

“We don’t want to be duped into an anti-China campaign.

“Of course, we maintain our independence, but there is deeper economic engagement and China is now the most impactful country in the world for Indonesia.”

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