Thursday, May 31, 2018

U.S. Sec Of Defense Vows That American Ships Will Continue To Confront China Over Islands In S China Sea



Mattis: US Will Confront China With "Steady Drumbeat" Of American Ships Over Weaponized Islands



U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis vowed on Tuesday that American ships will continue to confront China over its militarization of man-made islands in the South China Sea, where Beijing has established an extensive military presence despite its promise not to do s


Mattis said that U.S. forces are maintaining a "steady drumbeat" of naval operations around the disputed Spratly islands, adding that "only one country" seems to be bothered by the maneuvers.


We are going out of our way to cooperate with Pacific nations, that’s the way we do business in the world,” Mattis told reporters. “But we are also going to confront what we believe is out of step with international law, out of step with international tribunals that have spoken on the issue.”
Mattis's comments follow Beijing voicing "strong dissatisfaction" on Sunday after two US warships sailed past the Paracel Islands, which lie north of the Spratlys.

Reuters, citing anonymous sources, said the USS Higgins (DDG-76), a United States Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer (flight II) and the USS Antietam (CG-54), a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy, came within 12 nautical miles of the heavily disputed, weaponized Paracel chain in the South China Sea.
“The U.S. military vessels carried out maneuvering operations near Tree, Lincoln, Triton and Woody islands in the Paracels,” a source told Reuters.

The sources claim the passage had been planned month ago, as missions to sail warships around Beijing’s weaponized islands in the South China Sea have become more routine. Washington’s motive behind the operation is said to counter Beijing’s efforts to restrict freedom of navigation in critical shipping lanes around the islands.
The US Navy periodically conducts “freedom of navigation” operations in the contested waterway, where it sails close to island features China has built into military facilities as a way of showing it rejects any territorial claims. -SCMP
"Our diplomats are robustly engaged on this," Mattis said. "The concerns have come to me not just from American government circles, but also from foreign nations that are concerned, very concerned about this continued militarisation of features in the South China Sea."

In early May, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) for the first time landed several strategic bombers on the islands and reefs, some human-made, in the region where China is actively preparing for war.
In a statement, the Chinese Air Force said that “a division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently organized multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct take-off and landing training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to ‘reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions.”



No comments: