+++ M.P.O./V.V.I. (FT) US warships to challenge Chinese claims in South China Sea

M.P.O.

I have written on this issue many times, calling everyone attention to what can become a major problem in the World.

There are no easy solutions, but please bear in mind that, in my opinion, if the worst comes to worst, this can turn into a World War.

Please check the links below, and read them carefully.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(FT) Chinese reclamation at Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands

The US is poised to sail warships close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea as a signal to Beijing that Washington does not recognise Chinese territorial claims over the area.

A senior US official told the Financial Times that the ships would sail inside the 12-nautical mile zones that China claims as territory around some of the islands it has constructed in the Spratly chain. The move is expected to start in the next two weeks.

Ashton Carter, US defence secretary, has pressed the White House for months for permission to take more assertive maritime actions. The administration had resisted because of concerns that such actions would escalate the situation in the contested waters of the South China Sea. But it finally agreed after officials failed to make headway on the issue during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Washington.

The naval move, which is likely to raise tensions between the powers, comes amid disagreement over several issues, including US allegations that China is engaging in commercial cyber espionage.

China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea has grown in recent years, with its navy engaging in activities that the US says threatens freedom of navigation in an area through which 30 per cent of global trade passes. Over the past two years it has stepped up its maritime activities, reclaiming thousands of acres of land for airstrips and other military installations aimed at enhancing its power projection in the Pacific.

Military experts say the island building is aimed at furthering China’s goal of building a “blue-water navy” that can operate far from shore, particularly beyond the so-called “first island chain” that encloses the South China, East China and Yellow Seas, and separates them from the Pacific.

Chinese warships have also been operating in waters close to the US. Last month five vessels sailed off the coast of Alaska while Mr Obama was making a visit to
the arctic region — the closest the Chinese navy had come to the US mainland without an invitation.

In his press conference with Mr Xi last month, President Barack Obama said he had expressed “significant concerns over land reclamation, construction and the militarisation of disputed areas”, and stressed that the US would “continue to sail, fly and operate anywhere that international law allows”.

While the US has routinely sailed ships through international waters in the South China Sea, it has refrained from sending them inside the 12-nautical mile zone of the artificial features since 2012, which was before China ramped up its construction activities around the Spratlys.

The new tack is intended to reinforce the US stance that China’s claims are not consistent with international law, including the United Nations Law of the Sea (Unclos).

US-warships-to-challenge-Chinese-claims-in-South-China-Sea-FT

Please also see:

+++ V.V.I. (FT) Chinese activity on disputed islands raises doubt over halt claim (Click to see)

+++ (BBG) Slimmed Down Chinese Military to Help Xi Counter U.S. Dominance (Click to see)

+++ P.O./ V.V.I. (FT) Pomp, circumstance and combat vehicles at Beijing parade (Click to see)

+++ P.O./V.V.I. (FT) Chinese navy sails off Alaska coast as Obama visits Arctic (Click to see)

+++ P.O./V.V.I. (FT) China parades ‘carrier-killer’ missile through Beijing (Click to see)

+++ V.I. (FT) China set to parade its ‘carrier-killer’ missile through Beijing (Click to see)

+++ (BBG) China Military Parade Sets Spin Machine Into Overdrive (Click to see)

+++ V.I. (FT) Militarism is a risky temptation for Beijing (Click to see)