by Nicholas West, Activist Post:
An ongoing territorial dispute in the South China Sea over a stretch that comprises more than 750 reefs, banks, and shoals known more generally as the Spratly Islands continues to heat up.
Late 2015 saw a severe escalation when the United States announced that it would send warships directly into a zone which China lays claim to. The U.S. has continued to counter China’s claim to sovereign territory, which (officially) dates from 2009, with a series of military maneuvers that many believe could spiral dangerously out of control.
Perhaps emboldened by a lack of overt resistance, the U.S. subsequently upped the ante of its strike force by sending three nuclear-equipped B-2 Stealth Bombers this past March. As reported by The Free Thought Project, even that wasn’t enough, as the overall mission was backed by the largest exercise of its kind, just outside the contested territory.
This maneuver was followed in April by the announcement that the U.S. was prepared to launch submarine drones into the contested space to augment its manned ship presence. Shawn Brimley, an official for the Center for a New American Security, stated the reasoning:
The idea is that if we were ever to get into a bust-up in the South China Sea, the Chinese would not know for sure what sort of capabilities the US might have … This might have some deterrent impact on the potential for provocative behaviour.
Well, China might now understand what capabilities the U.S. has, or at least has received proof of submarine drone deployment.
CNN cites an unnamed U.S. defense official that China “stole” one of two underwater drones being commanded from the USNS Bowditch operating in international waters within the disputed region. It is being reported by CNN’s Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, that the USNS Bowditch is in fact an “oceanographic vessel” and that “the drone was simply measuring ocean conditions.” However, it should be noted that a Reuters report adds that the collected info about water composition “can help inform U.S. military sonar data since such factors affect sound.”
The Pentagon itself has not yet commented on the incident (see update below – Ed.), nor has China declared their reasoning for the seizure, but that didn’t stop CNN’s correspondent to imply that the incident could have been spurred by President-Elect Trump’s “violation of the US’s agreement with China’s ‘One China policy’” after he received a call from the president of Taiwan.
Perhaps, but the dangerous U.S. military games being played in The South China Sea have occurred long before Donald Trump came on the scene. As the Navy Times stated in October 2015:
When reports that the U.S. was planning to challenge China’s island claims surfaced in May (2015), a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson urged “relevant countries to refrain from taking risky and provocative action,” according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Please follow SGT Report on Twitter & help share the message.