In commentary in the PLA Daily (July 12) PLA Navy Senior Colonel Zhang Junshe, who is also a senior research fellow at the People’s Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said the US should stop its provocative acts in the South China Sea and Beijing was determined to safeguard its maritime sovereignty. He wrote “The US is not a country in the region and it is doing large-scale exercises in the South China Sea, far away from its homeland, yet at the same time it is unreasonably accusing China of doing normal military exercises at its doorstep. The double-standard remarks from the US cannot disguise its real motives, which is to push militarisation and destabilise peace in the South China Sea.” He repeated that the US military, despite being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, was holding tight to a Cold War mindset and persisted in hitting out at the competition. The PLA Southern Theatre Command in its official WeChat account (July 13) said that although the US wanted to reassure its allies in the Indo-Pacific region, no one could be assured that the US might not exploit these alliances and that Washington could be tough even against its friends. It said one example was India, which it said had been threatened with sanctions by the US after signing an arms deal with Russia. It added “Chinese efforts to stabilise regional peace – while facing a US that is intent on making the South China Sea issue difficult – should be respected. It is easy to shake a mountain, but there is no way to shake the PLA.”

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