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China to 'step up' troop deployment against India; China buzzes US recon plane
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 24, 2017


Two Chinese warplanes buzz US recon plane: Pentagon
Washington (AFP) July 24, 2017 - A US surveillance plane was forced to take evasive action after two Chinese fighters intercepted it over the East China Sea, the Pentagon said Monday.

The incident occurred Sunday when the two Chinese J-10 warplanes intercepted a US Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane in international air space west of the Korean Peninsula, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.

One of the Chinese jets came underneath the US plane at a high rate of speed then slowed and pulled up in front of it, he said.

"It was forced to take evasive action to prevent the possibility of collision," Davis said.

Davis added that the incident was "uncharacteristic" of the normal safe behavior of the Chinese military.

"There are intercepts that occur in international air space regularly, and the vast majority of them are conducted in a safe manner," he said.

The East China Sea is part of the Pacific and home to small islands whose ownership is disputed by China, Japan and Taiwan.

China also claims a string of islets across the South China Sea and its military expansion in the contested waterway has sparked heightened tensions with regional neighbors and the United States.

China warned on Monday that it will step up its troop deployment in a border dispute with India, vowing to defend its sovereignty at "whatever cost".

The standoff started more than a month ago after Chinese troops started building a road on a remote plateau, which is disputed by China and Bhutan.

Indian troops moved in to the flashpoint zone to halt the work, with China accusing them of violating its territorial sovereignty and calling for their immediate withdrawal.

"The crossing of the mutually recognised national borders on the part of India... is a serious violation of China's territory and runs against the international law," Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a press conference.

"The determination and the willingness and the resolve of China to defend its sovereignty is indomitable, and it will safeguard its sovereignty and security interests at whatever cost," he added.

Chinese "border troops have taken emergency response measures in the area and will further step up deployment and trainings in response to the situation," he said.

The spokesman did not give any details about the deployment.

India and China have both said they have foreign support for their positions on the conflict.

Bhutan has said construction of the road is "a direct violation" of agreements with China. Bhutan and China do not have diplomatic relations.

India, which fought a war with China in 1962 over a separate part of the disputed Himalayan border, supports Bhutan's claim.

But India should "not have any illusions" that its position will prevail, Wu said.

"The history of the PLA (People's Liberation Army) over the past 90 years has proven that our resolve to safeguard (China's) sovereignty and territory... are indomitable," he said.

"It is difficult to shake the PLA, even more difficult than to shake a mountain."

India and China have vied for influence in South Asia, with Beijing ploughing large sums into infrastructure projects in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Bhutan has remained closely allied to India.

SUPERPOWERS
On third MH17 anniversary, families unveil 'living memorial'
Vijfhuizen, Netherlands (AFP) July 17, 2017
Three years after Flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over war-torn Ukraine, nearly 2,000 relatives gathered Monday to unveil a "living memorial" to their loved ones. A total of 298 trees have been planted in the shape of a green ribbon, one for each of the victims who died on board the Malaysia Airlines flight en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Q ... read more

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