China has called for using electromagnetic attacks on U.S. warships transiting the South China Sea, according to a state-run Chinese outlet. The Communist Party-affiliated organ Global Times, quoting a military expert, said the use of nonlethal electromagnetic and laser weapons should be used by the People’s Liberation Army to expel American warships from the disputed sea. The report followed China’s potentially dangerous use of a laser against a Navy P-8A maritime patrol aircraft near Guam last month, and an earlier lasing two years ago of C-130 aircraft near China’s military base in Djibouti on the coast of Africa. The article was published Tuesday, the same day the Pacific Fleet announced on Twitter that the aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and the USS America, an amphibious assault carrier and leader of an expeditionary strike group, were conducting exercises in the South China Sea. The training exercise for both strike groups included flight maneuvers, air defense tests and surface-support mission exercises, the fleet said in a report on the exercises. At one point, Marines carried out a simulated visit, board, search and seizure exercise on the guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, according to the report. “Training with multiple platforms really enhances the overall combat capability of the force,” said Capt. Kurt Sellerberg, commanding officer of the Bunker Hill. “Cruisers and destroyers, being multi-mission platforms, can complement and support strike operations with the Marine Air Wing (MAW) from the America [Expeditionary Strike Group].” The large-scale military maneuvers are a direct challenge to China’s claims to control 90% of the South China Sea, despite an international court ruling several years ago rejecting those claims. The Global Times report said the carrier operations marked the third time in the past week that U.S. warships have “trespassed” into the sea. The Pentagon has said repeatedly that it regards the sea as international waters and frequently conducts freedom of navigation operations through the sea. Other recent warship operations included the passage of the guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell on March 10 to waters near the Paracel Islands in the northern part of the sea and maneuvers by the America and a littoral combat ship, the USS Gabrielle Giffords, on March 13.
For more, click on the text above. Thanks to veteran Pentagon journalist, and author Bill Gertz for that excellent piece.