US Spy Plane in Singapore Aims to Limit Chinese Maneuvers in High Seas

© AP Photo / Rob GriffithA US Navy P-8 Poseidon takes off from Perth Airport in 2014.
A US Navy P-8 Poseidon takes off from Perth Airport in 2014. - Sputnik International
The US deployment of the spy plane in Singapore is not intended to heighten tensions with China but does represent "old school power projection" which runs the risk of harming the relationship between Washington and Beijing, according to former CIA officer Larry Johnson.

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WASHINGTON(Sputnik) — The US sending a spy plane to Singapore is a calculated attempt to warn China that it does not have unrestricted privileges to operate in international waters, former CIA officer Larry Johnson told Sputnik on Wednesday.

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Singaporean Minister for Defense Ng Eng Hen agreed on the deployment of a US P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft to Singapore this month, the Pentagon said in a press release on Monday.

"It is a calculated risk to remind China that it does not have an unlimited right to do what it wants in what the United States and its allies regard as international waters," Johnson told Sputnik.

The US deployment of the spy plane, Johnson explained, is not intended to heighten tensions with China but does represent "old school power projection" which runs the risk of harming the relationship between Washington and Beijing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Ray Conner, tour the Boeing assembly line, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 in Everett, Wash - Sputnik International
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The United States should not be surprised if China sees a US spy plane stationed in a nearby country as threatening, Johnson noted.

"If the roles were reversed and the United States was in the position of China we most certainly would interpret such action by the Chinese as a provocation and would push back," Johnson added.

In October, the naval destroyer USS Lassen sailed within 12 nautical miles of the disputed Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea, claimed by several regional powers, including China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the incident was illegal and a violation of China's sovereignty.

The United States has repeatedly warned it does not recognize Chinese claims of sovereignty over the Spratly Islands. President Barack Obama has on several occasions called on China to halt its constriction activities in the region.

At the moment, the US military already conducts surveillance missions from Japanese and Philippine airfields, while continuing military patrols in the disputed waters.

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