Tuesday, 22 August, 2017

U.S. warship challenges China's claims in South China Sea

Philippines offers North Korea ASEAN partner status US destroyer sent to Chinese waters as North Korea crisis deepens
Sammy Stanley | 13 August, 2017, 13:07

China, which claims virtually the entire South China Sea, routinely protests such operations.

Since ASEAN operates on the basis of consensus, every member wields a de facto veto.

Such delaying tactics, without resorting to major armed conflict, also prevent the escalation of tension in the South China Sea.

It adds that on Sunday, China scored a coup when ASEAN ministers issued a diluted statement on the dispute and agreed to its terms on talks at the Manila meeting.

"I didn't want to include it [reclamation]". It was not reflective of the situation. Yet China apparently still claims the nine-dash line or exclusive economic zones (EEZs) from the Spratly features it occupies and has threatened to use force to back its claim.

The United States does not recognize China's claim of sovereignty in that location and regards the area as worldwide waters. However, reclamation activities have not stopped - the latest satellite imagery and analysis by the Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reveals uninterrupted Chinese activities in the area.

The group also said that China began reclamation to connect North Island with the neighboring Middle Island in 2016, but the land bridge was washed out by Typhoon "Sarika" last October.

What Does the US Military Do on the Island of Guam?
The five-minute drill begins with a siren on radio, and cars are stopped at designated spots. Such threats are why the Americans are on Guam to begin with.

Interestingly, the PLAN Sanya naval base on Hainan Island - where a large chunk of China's submarine force, including nuclear submarines, are based - also falls under the SSF, which has 70,000 personnel in its ranks.

It could also potentially deny access to foreign military forces, such as the United States.

It was the third "freedom of navigation operation" during Trump's presidency.

Tokyo is concerned that the growing number of Chinese military exercises held in the Sea of Japan and in crucial corridors into the western Pacific could ultimately erode its effective control of the East China Sea. This has prompted concern over prospects of an accidental clash near the tiny islets, which are claimed as Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan.

Asean and China may say the framework is only a guide for how the COC will be established, but it is unclear where the negotiations will lead. Therefore, China's crystallizing dominance in global production and trade networks, as well as their further extension into Eurasia through grand projects such as the Belt and Road initiative are seen as real national security challenges for the U.S. Likewise, China's massive military investments in state-of-the-art aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and stealth fighters are interpreted as part of a systematic endeavor to balance and surpass the worldwide influence of the U.S.

"At this time, if you ask who is carrying out reclamation, it is definitely not China-perhaps it is the country that brings up the issue that is doing it", Wang said.

Now it seems China's patience with the territorial row is running out. This loss of confidence clearly erodes US soft power and weakens ASEAN's bargaining position vis-a-vis China.

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