Amid trade war, US & China get involved in ‘laser attack’ dispute over East China Sea
Amid the escalating trade war between the US and China, allegations of China launching laser attacks against American aerial operations in the Pacific (East China Sea) have sparked a new controversy between the two countries.
According to an American official, 20 incidents of laser attacks against US aerial operations in the Pacific have been recorded since September 2017, CNN reported on Friday, June 22.
The military source told the CNN on the condition of anonymity that the lasers originated from suspected Chinese sources and were flashed at the US aircraft, adding that the latest such instance happened inside the last two weeks.
Chinese foreign ministry says allegations 'groundless'
The Chinese, however, refused to buy the charges. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a press briefing on Friday that based on what they have learnt from "relevant authorities", the American media's reports on the issue were "totally groundless" and "purely fabricated".
The incidents though did not cause any medical injuries, the US military source said, according to the CNN report. The alleged attacks appeared similar to the incidents that happened in Djibouti in East Africa, where China set up their first overseas military base in 2017, earlier this year. In that case, American military fliers were injured by the laser that according to the US, originated from a Chinese military base located nearby.
The East China Sea has a number of disputed islands, including Senkaku, which is claimed both by China and Japan, where it is known as Diaoyu.