Nanning: How China's new warship with anti-stealth radar is set to change balance in South China Sea

Written By: Rustam Roy

The Chinese navy put the  Chaganhu and Qilianshan, an amphibious dock landing ship as part of the exercise alongside the Nanning.

Warships attached to a destroyer flotilla with the navy under the PLA Southern Theater Command(Photo Courtesy: China military/Global Times)

According to China's state-run Global Times, China unleashed Type 052D guided-missile destroyer, the Nanning amid tensions in South  China with the United States.

The daily said, "Four-day-long realistic-combat training exercise in the waters in the South China Sea" was conducted by the PLA.

The Chinese navy put the  Chaganhu and Qilianshan, an amphibious dock landing ship as part of the exercise alongside the Nanning.

Report say China's new warship has been commissioned into the PLA Southern Theater Command Navy.

(Photo Courtesy: China military/Global Times)


Anti-stealth radar

The Nanning has a helicopter flight deck and an anti-stealth radar. Reports say China has built three versions of the Type 052D destroyers with "upgraded variations".

The Global Times quoting a Chinese military expert said the destroyer has been "gaining combat capabilities at a rapid speed".

In March, China had displayed the Suzhou which is "an improved version of the Type 052D destroyer", according to Global Times.

The Chinese daily quoting reports said: "At least four of the improved Type 052D destroyers are known to the general public to have entered service, namely the Zibo, the Tangshan, the Huainan and the Suzhou."


Several variants

China's Type 051 destroyer was the first guided-missile destroyer that was built in the 1970s. It has several variants namely Type 051, Type 051D, Type 051DT, Type 051Z, Luda II and Type 051G.

The rapid deployment of destroyers in the South China Sea has not only created tension among the neighbouring countries who also claim islands in the area but has attracted the attention of the US and NATO as China flexes its military muscle in the troubled waters.


China had launched 25th Type 052D destroyer

Last August, China had launched its "25th Type 052D destroyer and eighth Type 055 large destroyer". The consistent rollout of destroyers every few months has armed the PLA with several options in combat which is likely to give it an edge during real-time operations.

China and the US have been testing each other in the waters of the South China Sea.

Tensions in maritime waters claimed by both China and many of its neighbours have ratcheted up recently, with Beijing staging live-fire drills and sending hundreds of fishing vessels to a reef claimed by the Philippines.


China drives away USS Curtis Wilbur

China's military said the USS Curtis Wilbur, a guided-missile destroyer, was warned and driven away from the contested waters near the islands, which are claimed by China.

US actions "increase regional security risks, which easily causes misunderstandings, misjudgements and unforeseen maritime incidents", People's Liberation Army Southern Theatre Command spokesman Colonel Tian Junli said in a notice posted on social media.


Freedom of Navigation Operations

The United States frequently conducts what it calls "Freedom of Navigation Operations" in the flashpoint waterway.

The South China Sea and its various islands are claimed by multiple countries including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is home to some of the world's most resource-rich waterways.

China, which claims almost the entirety of the sea, has refused repeated appeals by the Philippines to withdraw the vessels, which Manila says unlawfully entered its exclusive economic zone.


Chinese boats were detected at Whitsun Reef

Tensions over the resource-rich waters have spiked in recent weeks after more than 200 Chinese boats were detected at Whitsun Reef, in the Spratly Islands, where China and the Philippines have rival claims.

While President Rodrigo Duterte has appeared reluctant to confront China on the issue, one of his top aides warned Monday the boats could ignite "unwanted hostilities".

"As the situation (in the South China Sea) evolves, we keep all our options open in managing the situation, including leveraging our partnerships with other nations such as the United States," Philippine defence department spokesman Arsenio Andolong said Thursday.


Beijing invokes the so-called nine-dash line

Beijing often invokes the so-called nine-dash line to justify its apparent historic rights over most of the South China Sea, and it has ignored a 2016 international tribunal decision that declared this assertion to be without basis.

The United States had warned China against what the Philippines and Taiwan see as increasingly aggressive moves, reminding Beijing of Washington's obligations to its partners.

President Joe Biden has vowed a robust defence of allies and, in a rare point of continuity with his predecessor Donald Trump, has supported strong pushback against Chinese assertiveness.


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