• chinesedrillfriday?itoke0FomOgn - PLA Naval Chief US of Conflict risk in South China Sea

    State media reported late on Thursday that the PLA Navy had carried out a "realistic confrontation exercise" in the South China Sea. Photo: SCMP Pictures

    China’s naval commander told his US counterpart that a minor incident could ignite conflicts in the South China Sea if the United States did not stop its “provocative acts” in the disputed waterway, the Chinese navy said on Friday.Admiral Wu Shengli made the comments to US chief of naval operations Admiral John Richardson during a video teleconference on Thursday, according to a Chinese naval statement.The two officers held talks after a US warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of one of Beijing’s man-made islands in the contested Spratly archipelago on Tuesday.China has rebuked Washington over the patrol, the most significant US challenge yet to territorial limits China effectively claims around its seven artificial islands in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.“If the United States continues with these kinds of dangerous, provocative acts, there could well be a seriously pressing situation between frontline forces from both sides on the sea and in the air, or even a minor incident that ignites conflict,” the statement paraphrased Wu as saying.“[I] hope the US side cherishes the good situation between the Chinese and US navies that has not come easily and avoids these kinds of incidents from happening again,” Wu said.Chinese state media said late on Thursday a PLA guided-missile destroyer flotilla under the navy’s South Sea Fleet had carried out a “realistic confrontation training exercise” involving anti-aircraft firing and firing at shore at night.A state-owned news website carried photos from the drills, saying they took place recently in the South China Sea. One picture showed three warships sailing in a row.The drill involved anti-aircraft fire and firing at shoreline targets, the PLA Daily said.