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Beijing objects to US spy plane in Singapore

By Zhang Yunbi | China Daily | Updated: 2015-12-09 07:52

Washington's deployment of a P8 Poseidon spy plane to Singapore this month was criticized by Beijing on Tuesday as part of a US attempt to militarize the South China Sea that does not serve the "common and long-term interests" of the region.

P8 aircraft have made headlines in recent years for their role at the forefront of US challenges to China.

In a joint statement after a meeting in Washington on Monday, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen announced that the aircraft would be in Singapore for one week, from Dec 7 to 14.

The announcement was made after an enhanced defense cooperation agreement was signed by Carter and Ng.

The US already operates P8s from Japan and the Philippines, and has conducted surveillance flights from Singapore's neighbor, Malaysia.

Reuters referred to Monday's announcement as "a fresh response" to China. It also quoted an unnamed US defense official as saying that further deployments to Singapore could be expected.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday that the overall situation in the South China Sea "has remained peaceful and stable", but the US is trying to "strengthen military deployment and boost the militarization of the region".

Such actions show the US is "not living up to the common, long-term interests of the regional countries", Hua said.

Pang Zhongying, dean of the School of International Relations at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, said plans were in place long before the announcement.

"Washington is still pressuring Beijing and, as it has planned, is still trying to keep tensions from cooling," Pang said.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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