Chinese navy can respond in kind to US provocation

The Pentagon claimed on Monday that two Chinese fighter jets performed an "unsafe and unprofessional" intercept of a US EP-3 reconnaissance plane while it was flying over the East China Sea the previous day.

The "righteousness" of the Pentagon is ridiculous. The intercept occurred 80 nautical miles (148 kilometers) south of Qingdao, which is a major Chinese naval base. US military reconnaissance threatens China's national security and an intercept by the Chinese navy is justified.

The close-in surveillance of the US military around China's coastal strategic areas has been a major problem between China and the US. The US defends such robber acts under the guise of "freedom of navigation and overflight." The Chinese military has exercised restraint when undertaking intercepts. The public actually wanted the US reconnaissance plane to be shot down directly. Of course the PLA would not do it, but the Chinese people really detest US reconnaissance, which is bound to have an impact on the response of the Chinese military. US military planes had better stay away from China's coastal areas.

In 2001, a mid-air collision between a Chinese fighter jet and a US reconnaissance aircraft occurred, causing the death of a Chinese pilot. The US plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Hainan Province and the disassembled aircraft was returned to the US later. If such a collision happens again, the ending will be different.

Simply educating the Americans is unlikely to work. The Chinese navy must carry out operations close to the US and its allies, which can become a bargaining chip to urge the US to stop its activities in China's coastal areas.

It may be difficult for the Chinese navy to practice reconnaissance around Naval Base San Diego on the US west coast. But it can go to Okinawa, Yokosuka, and the coastal areas of Australia. A few days ago, a Chinese survey ship was spotted off the Queensland coast near where Australia and the US were holding joint military exercises. It has disturbed the Australian opinion sphere. US allies should be made to have such a bitter feeling. 

China's blue-water navy is in the development stage. There are more and more occasions when the naval fleet patrols in the Gulf of Aden and visits other countries. The Liaoning aircraft carrier can act more proactively by training close to the waters of US naval bases where it can have a firsthand experience of the ever-changing geopolitics there.

China has yet to learn how to provoke the US and its allies. But we cannot sit still and allow others to provoke us. Otherwise, China's military will be propelled into a passive position and the Chinese public will feel upset.

If Chinese warships can always catch attention from US allies, when US naval vessels stir up troubles in the South China Sea again, Chinese society can react more confidently. The US doesn't respect restraints and rationality, but strength and strong will. Therefore, perhaps it is time for China to change the way it responds, and starts making some troubles for the US.