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South China sea: US clashes intensify amid warning of ‘more’ eerie propaganda videos ahead | World | News

Strained relations have been accompanied by military drills in the South China Sea, as well as ballistic missile launches in August. Taiwan, an island nation close to the Chinese mainland, alleges Chinese air force planes have, on numerous occasions, flown into its Air Defence Identification Zone, or ADIZ.

The country’s defence ministry said on one occasion, as many as 18 aircraft including twelve fighter jets crossed the mid-way line of the Taiwan Strait.

In response, Taiwan’s own air force scrambled fighters and deployed a missile system to monitor the activity.

Meanwhile, propaganda videos appearing on China’s social media apps depict intense military situations.

South China Sea

Chinese ships conducting a drill in the South China Sea, 2017 (Image: STR / AFP / Getty)

One in particular made headlines last month after it showed a missile striking a military base which analysts said strongly resembled US facilities on Guam.

Sharp-eyed viewers then noted some scenes appeared to have been ripped from Hollywood blockbuster films such as The Hurt Locker and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Others show Chinese soldiers running through forests. Beijing analyst Steven Lee Myers has described the videos as “ominous” claiming such material could provoke further actions.

READ: Cambodia denies secret defence pact with China as work on strategic base gets underway

Weibo China flag

Propaganda videos have reportedly been posted on Chinese social media app Weibo (Image: Budrul Chukrut / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty)

Mr Lee Myers warned in the New York Times this week “more bombast is yet to come” from China regarding its propaganda videos.

The US is heavily involved due to its close friendship with Taiwan – a bond which has seen high-ranking US officials visit the island twice in the past few months.

In addition, in the time of the Trump administration alone, it is thought the US has sold seven arms deals to Taiwan worth over $13 billion.

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Mike Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been outspoken about China this year and recently (Image: Tom Brenner / Pool / AFP / Getty)

At the same time, former Pentagon official Joseph Nye has even warned US-China relations are “at their lowest point in 50 years.”

China has been a focal point for US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is currently in Japan to discuss “pressing issues of the Indo-Pacific region,” according to the US Department of State.

Late last month, Mr Pompeo was in the Vatican to discuss religious freedom with leaders of the Church. There, he singled out China as “increasingly repressive.”

Xinjiang Muslim re-education centre

What is believed to be a Muslim re-education centre in China’s Xinjiang region (Image: Greg Baker / AFP / Getty)

He claimed: “Nowhere is religious freedom under assault more than it is inside of China today.”

And only five days ago, the US State Department released a statement condemning the arrest of over 80 Hong Kong protesters at the start of this month.

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson, said: “By repressing peaceful public opinion, the Hong Kong government once again shows its complicity with the Chinese Communist Party’s evisceration of Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms of its people.”

Donald Trump and Joe Biden

China was featured in the US presidential debate – a fact a Beijing official has condemned (Image: Jim Watson / Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty)

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying last week published a statement denying a “crackdown on the freedoms of expression and association” and of human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims.

Wang Wenbin, another ministry official, last week condemned both US President Donald Trump and opposition candidate Joe Biden for bringing up China in the US presidential debate.

Mr Wang said: “We firmly oppose the US presidential candidates dragging China into their election. As is proven by facts, the US accusations against China are just baseless.”

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