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South China Sea Brief: March 14, 2022
1. Y-8 incident
On March 10, Taiwan's National Security Agency confirmed my exclusive report about the Y-8 plane crashing in the South China Sea.
It is noteworthy that four days after Taiwan's NSA confirmed this event and over a week since my first report, the Chinese side has remained silent.
China's Ministry of National Defense did not respond to requests for comment, while state media totally ignored this story. Neither did they report the exercise in the South China Sea.
Usually, if such stories are false or fake news, the Chinese media will vehemently criticize the sources that reported them. So, for me, this absolute silence is a form of confirmation with Chinese characteristics.
Regarding China's SAR operation, developments in the past few days show that China seems to have narrowed the area of interest.
Satellite images captured on March 13 show that many Chinese ships concentrated in a small area. According to ship-tracking data, this zone is where two research vessels Tan Suo 1 and Tan Suo 2 are operating. Another research vessel, Haiyang Dizhi 6, also arrived at the scene.
At the same time, some coast guard vessels have left. The CCG 5901 has returned to Sanya before heading to the south.
2. New harassment by China Coast Guard
One of China's two largest coast guard vessels, the 5901 sailed to the Spratly Islands on March 11.
On Saturday, it made somewhat provocative moves against Vietnam. Specifically, it sailed near Vietnam-controlled Spratly Island and Ladd Reef. On Sunday morning, it approached Vanguard Bank before turning south. Cruising along CCG 5901 is CCG 5305.
These two ships then sailed into Indonesia's continental shelf, where China's Haiyang Dizhi 10 conducted surveys during a month
s-long standoff last year before turning to Vietnam - Malaysia Joint Defined Area.
After that, 5305 sailed into Malaysia's Block SK 308 while 5901 approached Vietnam's Hai Thach and Moc Tinh gas fields.
China often sends Coast Guard vessels to harass Vietnam's oil and gas fields, but this is the first time they have used the 10,000-ton Coast Guard vessel.
3. Annual training of PLAN in Bohai Sea
Last weekend, Liaoning Maritime Safety Agency issued some navigational warnings about military exercises in Bohai Sea, suggesting the annual training of the PLA Navy will soon begin with the participation of the Liaoning aircraft carrier.
The blue zone is where the carrier usually conducts training in Bohai Sea.
4. Other news
Pilot ejects from Mirage-2000 jet off Taiwan; plane still missing - CNA
Taipei, March 14 (CNA) The pilot of a Mirage-2000 fighter jet ejected from the aircraft off eastern Taiwan on Monday morning and is now safe, but the aircraft has not yet been located, according to the Taiwan Air Force.
Vietnam blocks Sony's action movie 'Uncharted' over South China Sea map - Reuters
Vietnam PM pays tribute to soldiers who died defending Spratly reefs - VNExpress
PM Chinh paid floral tributes and burned incense at the Gac Ma memorial site in the central province of Khanh Hoa, which commemorates 64 Vietnamese soldiers who died defending reefs in the Spratly Archipelago on March 14, 1988, and lost Gac Ma.
Philippines, France discuss possible submarine deal, joint patrols - Rappler
Russia has requested military and economic assistance from China, US officials say - CNN