Beijing [China], April 25 (ANI): In yet another case of illegal intrusion by Beijing, China is expected to deploy its ship in the disputed South China Sea.
Military observers said the ship, named the Hainan, may also be deployed in missions around Taiwan but was likely to cause particular concern among countries that have ongoing maritime disputes with China due to its offensive capabilities, reported South China Morning Post.
Although the Z-8J and Z-20J armoured helicopters that it will carry are not yet ready for use, Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military affairs commentator and former PLA instructor, said the ship can carry various types of helicopters, including airborne early warning helicopters.
"The ship is deployed to the South Sea Fleet under the Southern Theatre Command. It does not mean it will only be responsible for the South China Sea. It will also be used for missions around Taiwan and other cross-theatre command tasks," he said. "But presumably it will mainly be for the South China Sea", reported South China Morning Post.
Earlier, the US and the Philippines raised concerns over the presence of China's maritime militia vessels near the disputed Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea.
"The Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines has a lot of explaining to do. There are still 44 Chinese vessels that are in Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun). I am no fool. The weather has been good so far, so they have no reason to stay there. These vessels should be on their way out," Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.
China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
China has been increasing its maritime activities in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea over the past few months, partly in response to Beijing's concerns over the increasing US military presence in the region because of escalating Sino-US tensions.
Beijing's rising assertiveness against counter claimants in the East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indo-Pacific. (ANI)