via National Post.
BEIJING — China rejected a protest from Vietnam over a flight test it has conducted on a new airstrip on a man-made island in the South China Sea, saying it is part of China’s territory.This is stunning.
Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said that the test flight violated Vietnam’s sovereignty, breached mutual understanding and hurt the bilateral relations.
“Vietnam resolutely protests Chinese above-said action and demand that China immediately stop, not repeat similar actions,” he said in a statement.
In a response Saturday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the test flight on the newly built airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands was carried out to find out if the new airfield met the standards for civil aviation.
“Relevant activity falls completely within China’s sovereignty,” Hua said in a statement. “The Chinese side will not accept the unfounded accusations from the Vietnamese side.”
China has become more assertive in pressing its claims to the South China Sea islands, an archipelago rich in natural resources that is the focal point of rival claims by neighbouring governments.
China has recently piled sand on coral reefs atop of which it built airfields, radar installations and docking facilities. As with most of its policy in the South China Sea, Beijing has remained opaque about its plans for the island airstrips.
The Chinese have built forward operating bases, defensive positions (both for anti-air and anti-ship missiles) and refueling points for their aircraft and we barely noticed it.
Vietnam understands what this means. It means that very soon the disputed islands will be disputed no longer. Not only is the first island chain lost forever with the effect that soon it will be a "no go" zone for our carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups, but it also means that current and planned anti-access strategies need to be flushed and we need a new plan.
The only thing left to see is how they plan on working the second island chain problem.
The Chinese have again won perfect victory. They have won the war for the first island chain without firing a shot.