New U.S. Air Force uniform patches suggest the U.S. is gearing up for a war with China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece Global Times argued on Tuesday.
The U.S. Air Force completed a nearly month-long training drill on Tuesday at a base in the U.S. state of California. The unit engaged in exercises and donned new uniforms indicating that the U.S. Air Force had shifted its focus to the Pacific region.
“In keeping with the pivot away from the Middle East, patches on Airmen’s uniforms made for the event feature an MQ-9 [reaper drone] superimposed over a red silhouette of China,” the U.S.-based Air Force Magazine reported.
During the drill, three MQ-9s partnered “with the Navy’s Third Fleet, which deploys carrier strike groups, submarines, and other sea vessels and aircraft to the Eastern Pacific, along with Air Force C-130s [transport aircraft], and special warfare and Marine Corps personnel,” according to the report.
The exercises included a mock amphibious assault on San Clemente Island off of California’s coast, which saw the MQ-9s carry out airstrikes.
Upon learning of the simulated drone strikes on Tuesday, the Global Times published an article suggesting that the U.S. Air Force was preparing to deploy the MQ-9s to attack Chinese-built facilities in the South China Sea.
“Washington is stepping up preparations for war against China, and this type of drone that has participated in murders and other attacks around the world will also play a role in it,” the newspaper claimed, referring to the previous use of MQ-9s in wars across the Middle East and Africa. “This is the strategic signal sent from the exercise,” the CCP mouthpiece asserted.
“This is to stir hostilities between the two countries, and is also a blackmail to China. Using such an armband with a Chinese map will stimulate people’s imagination and create a picture of China and the United States going to war” the Global Times added, referring to the new China-centric patches debuted by the U.S. Air Force during the drill.
Despite the Global Times‘ denunciation on Tuesday of the U.S. military’s alleged warmongering, it has itself developed a reputation for hawkish rhetoric.
The newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin, published an editorial on September 11 titled “China must be militarily and morally prepared for war.” In the article, Hu claimed that, while the Chinese people do not desire war, Beijing’s worsening territorial disputes with other countries, including Taiwan and India, have forced China to seriously consider the possibility of war in the near future.
China is currently engaged in “territorial disputes with several neighboring countries instigated by the U.S. to confront China,” Hu claimed. “Some of these countries believe that the U.S. support provides them with a strategic opportunity and try to treat China outrageously. They believe that China, under the U.S.’ strategic pressure, is afraid, unwilling, or unable to engage in military conflict with them.”
“Chinese society must therefore have real courage to engage calmly in a war that aims to protect core interests and be prepared to bear the cost,” he asserted.
“We are confident to win on the battlefield if conflicts are fought with neighboring forces that have territorial disputes with China. Similarly, if there is a war with the U.S. near China’s coastal waters, we also have a good chance of victory,” Hu predicted.
Shortly after the Global Times published its September 11 editorial in which it transparently advocates for war, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) released a propaganda video depicting the Chinese army destroying the U.S. Air Force base on Guam with nuclear-capable H-6K heavy bombers. Guam is a U.S. island territory in the Western Pacific.
The video’s offensive content sparked an online backlash. In response, the Global Times tried to defend the footage, citing “Chinese experts” who attempted to refute claims that China came across as an overtly militaristic nation in the video, titled “God of War H-6K, Attack!” The spin backfired, however, when one of the “experts” admitted that Beijing would attack the U.S. if it felt provoked.
“The Chinese people are never bellicose people,” a Chinese military expert and TV commentator named Song Zhongping told the newspaper.
“But China is facing growing external pressure, and we are living in a world that is not peaceful, particularly when countries like the US keep provoking China’s sovereignty, security and national interests,” Song added.