While China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) claimed that its forces had “expelled” the guided-missile destroyer USS Barry from the contested waters of the South China Sea (SCS) on Tuesday this week, the US Navy immediately conducted another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the area.
This was intended to challenge China’s illegal claims and demonstrate that the US Navy was not “expelled,” but transits the SCS — as international law allows — whenever and wherever it chooses.
The day after the USS Barry transited the contested waters, the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill on Wednesday “asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the Spratly Islands, consistent with international law,” said a spokesperson for the Navy’s 7th Fleet, in a statement reported by CNN.
The Spratlys, called the Nansha Islands by China, are in the southern area of the South China Sea. While several countries claim these islands, China has illegally occupied and militarized them by deploying anti-ship cruise missiles and long-range surface-to-air missiles to Chinese outposts there.
The two back-to-back missions are indicative of a new Pentagon strategy — “strategic predictability, operational unpredictability” — to keep foes on their heels, said Timothy Heath with the Rand Corp in CNN.
The USS Barry conducted a freedom of navigation mission near the Paracel Islands Tuesday, which are called the Xisha Islands by China, challenging Beijing’s claims to the waters around the islands in the northern areas of the South China Sea. Between them, the two US Navy FONOP missions had US naval vessels transiting through both the northern and southern ends of the SCS.
As part of its increasingly aggressive posture and information warfare operations, China claimed the USS Barry had illegally entered China’s Xisha territorial waters on Tuesday. According to NBC News, China’s Southern Theater army command “organized sea and air forces to track, monitor, verify, and identify the U.S. ships throughout the journey, and warned and expelled them,” said a Chinese military statement.
CNN noted that these US Navy operations are akin to the US Air Force ending its Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) on Guam, instead deploying its B-1s, B-2s, and B-52s into the region in an unpredictable manner. These are all part of the Pentagon’s new Dynamic Force Employment (DFE) concept described in the Pentagon’s 2018 National Defense Strategy.
“Just as the bombers at Guam are no longer consistently present there, US naval forces in the South China Sea are likely to carry out operations and activities in unusual patterns that are inconsistent with past, predictable patterns,” Heath said.
As China continues its aggressive and illegal expansion in the South China Sea, buttressed by a massive military buildup and new deployments, the US — and its regional allies — must ramp up their military presence and operations in the region.
Together they must ensure that China does not establish a new strategic status quo in the SCS. While US forces should be dynamic and unpredictable, they also need to remain visible — and forward-deployed.
HELP Expose the TRUTH About Creepy Joe Biden
Biden is a joke.trump is a real person who can achieve most all goals.dummicrats just do not care about anything other than a vote.most Republicans care about getting moral things done.quit killing babies in the womb or otherwise and quit worring about other things as a distraction from the moral truth ,religion or not.
China lose in an international court to claim much of the territory now do. China is a modern day bully in many parts of the world. A strike force should be formed and put China in their place. Why is the US giving China low duties as a third world developing country ? We have helped China become this bully, time to punch them in the nose !
They are a paper dragon. With the abysmal state of their fake economy so near to col;lapse, if they DID engage in a “real” war, they would collapse immediately. WE actually would NOT, and Xi Jinping knows this well, much as he hates it.
Ladd – I agree. People do not realize how fragile China’s economy was prior to the COVID outbreak. I believe this will make their situation even worse as many countries strike out against making any purchases of goods/ services from China.
Let’s just hope the talk is followed with action by consumers, businesses and govts alike.
NOT BUYING ANYTHING FROM China. This must be done by all countries!!!
I think they let this virus out on the world especially the US because we are cutting into their bottom line and this is the only way they can come after us and then claim it was and accident Accident my ass. they did it on purpose I think what we owe them should be automatically paid in full