Military exercises in South China Sea
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) will hold military exercises in the South China Sea off China's Guangdong province from August 24-29, state-run Global Times reported on 23 August 2020 citing the local maritime safety administration. The upcoming military exercises come at a time when tensions have aggravated in the South China Sea, where China lays its territorial claims in the region and is in a dispute with several countries including Vietnam and the Philippines.
- During US Health Secretary Alex Azar's historic visit to Taiwan earlier this month, China deployed fighter jets that briefly crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait, citing Taiwan's Defence Ministry.
- The ministry said it had tracked the PLA fighters with its land-based anti-aircraft missiles and had "strongly driven them out".
- Recently, Malaysia has rejected Beijing's expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea.
- Malaysia opposes China's claim that they have historic rights over those waters, Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told the Parliament in a rare public rebuke of its largest trading partner.
- The Malaysian government also considers China's claims over maritime features in the South China Sea to have no basis whatsoever under international law.
- The US has hit out at China and urged nations to push back against the Asian country, saying that Beijing is bullying its neighbours and militarising features in the South China Sea, rather than helping the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New optical remote-sensing satellite
- China successfully launched a new optical remote-sensing satellite from its Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China on 23 August 2020.
- The satellite, Gaofen-9 05, was sent into orbit by a Long March-2D carrier rocket.
- A multifunctional test satellite and another satellite named Tiantuo-5 were also launched via the rocket.
- This launch was the 343rd mission of the Long March rocket series.