Published On: Wed, Aug 28th, 2019

South China Sea: US warship sails dangerously close to disputed area–’Political statement’ | World | News

The US Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of two contested islands in the South China Sea today in what Washington called a “Freedom of Navigation Operation”. US Navy Commander Reann Mommsen told CNN the destroyer USS Wayne E Meyer “sailed within 12 nautical miles of Fiery Cross and Mischief Reef in order to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law”. She added: “The United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.”

She said that freedom of navigation operations “are not about any one country, nor are they about making political statements.”

The US and China have an extremely tense relationship due to a number of issues.

The first is the multi-billion dollar trade war each side is embroiled in and has been since late last year.

The second is US intervention in the South China Sea, to prevent Beijing’s increasing and aggressive militarisation of the waters.

Two warships from the US sailed through the hotly disputed area in May and two B-52H also from Washington flew over the waters in March, two months before.

Weeks ago, President Trump secured a mammoth £6.6billion ($8billion) arms deal with Taiwan in what is a major blow to China’s dominance in the South China Sea.

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s nine-dash line, Beijing has looked to increase its control over the region.

Should conflict break out between the two power nations in the Indo-Pacific waters, it is widely expected China’s arsenal of weaponry would see them win.

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In a report called “Averting Crisis: American strategy, military spending and collective defence in the Indo-Pacific”, the document claims “America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific and its capacity to uphold a favourable balance of power is increasingly uncertain”.

The report warns that although Donald Trump’s military is still an amicable force in the waters, the “combined effect of ongoing wars in the Middle East, budget austerity, underinvestment in advanced military capabilities and the scale of America’s liberal order-building agenda has left the US armed forces ill-prepared for great power competition in the Indo-Pacific”.

The same report also warns that China would be able to use the US lack of reach to launch a colossal military attack against President Trump’s regional allies.

This would see China achieve victory before the US even has a chance to respond, NewsWeek reports.


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The report said: “Having studied the American way of war — premised on power projection and all-domain military dominance — China has deployed a formidable array of precision missiles and other counter-intervention systems to undercut America’s military primacy.

“By making it difficult for US forces to operate within range of these weapons, Beijing could quickly use limited force to achieve a fait accomplishing victory — particularly around Taiwan, the Japanese archipelago or maritime Southeast Asia — before America can respond, sowing doubt about Washington’s security guarantees in the process.”

Washington has also recently signed an arms deal with Taiwan, much to the anger of China.

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