BEIJING - China's top military newspaper warned the United States on Saturday that US-Philippine military exercises have fanned risks of armed confrontation over the disputed South China Sea.
The commentary in China's Liberation Army Daily
falls short of a formal government statement, but marks the harshest high-level warning yet from Beijing about tensions with the Philippines over disputed seas where both countries have recently sent ships to assert their claims.This week American and Filipino troops launched a fortnight of annual naval drills amid the stand-off between Beijing and Manila, who have accused each other of encroaching on sovereign seas near the Scarborough Shoal, west of a former US navy base at Subic Bay..
The joint exercises are held in different seas around the Philippines; the leg that takes place in the South China Sea area starts on Monday.
"Anyone with clear eyes saw long ago that behind these drills is reflected a mentality that will lead the South China Sea issue down a fork in the road towards military confrontation and resolution through armed force," said the commentary in the Chinese paper, which is the chief mouthpiece of the People's Liberation Army.