The USS Dewey guided missile destroyer has reportedly sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, apparently challenging Beijing’s sovereignty claims over disputed island chain.
The US warship passed near Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands on Wednesday under the “Freedom of Navigation” principle, according to Wall Street Journal and Reuters sources.
If indeed the USS Dewey sailed within 12 nautical miles of the disputed land, then Washington seemingly violated China's territorial claims. Territorial waters are defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as a belt of coastal waters extending 12 nautical miles from the coast.
Wednesday’s freedom of navigation sail was the United States’ first since October and the first since Donald Trump took office in January.
In a statement to The Japan Times, the Pentagon refused to confirm or deny the report. The Wall Street Journal also failed to get a definitive answer from the Pentagon.
“We operate in the Asia-Pacific region on a daily basis, including in the South China Sea,” Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told the publication in a statement.
“We operate in accordance with international law,” he added, emphasizing the patrols are “not about any one country, or any one body of water.”
While the Pentagon is reluctant to confirm the reports, photos posted on Commander – the US’ Third Fleet Facebook page – appeared to show the US vessel sailing the disputed waters. “USS Dewey (DDG 105) transits the South China Sea before a replenishment-at-sea with USNS Pecos (T-AO-197),” the picture post reads.
Earlier this month, US Navy Commander Gary Ross revealed that Washington is looking to continue its Freedom of Navigation operations in the disputed South China Sea region under Trump’s administration.
“We are continuing with regular FONOPs (Freedom of Navigation operations), as we have routinely done in the past and will continue to do in the future,” Ross was quoted as saying.
Beijing has laid claim to nearly all of the resource-rich South China Sea, through which some $5 trillion worth of trade passes each year. The Spratly Islands, or Spratlys, comprising more than 750 islets, atolls, and reefs, have also been caught up in the multinational dispute, with the claimants having their own national names for the archipelago.
A US Navy guided-missile destroyer conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea designed to challenge Beijing’s maritime claims, media reported citing unnamed officials.
It was the first such patrol since October and the first one conducted under President Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday.
A freedom of navigation patrol, by definition, must take place within 12 nautical miles of territorial waters, the report explained.
The report added, however, that a Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on the operation, claiming the United States operates in accordance with international law.
US Treasury chief Steve Mnuchin said the Trump administration was exploring ways to increase financial pressure on Iran, Syria and North Korea Thursday, days after President Donald Trump launched a blistering verbal offensive against Tehran during a trip to the Middle East.
Mnuchin told the House Ways and Means Committee that the administration was looking into revoking licenses for aircraft manufacturers to sell parts and planes to Iran, which had been a key component of sanctions relief under the 2015 nuclear deal.
“We will use everything within our power to put additional sanctions on Iran, Syria and North Korea to protect American lives,” Mnuchin said, according to Reuters. “I can assure you that’s a big focus of mine and I discuss it with the president.”
Mnuchin also praised sanctions as having been an important tool in bringing Iran to the negotiating table. While Trump has called the nuclear deal a disaster, his administration has not moved to scrap it.
However last month Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the agreement to evaluate whether continued sanctions relief is in the national interest. Tillerson noted that Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terrorism and that Trump had ordered the review with that in mind.
It’s a frightening thing to consider. For the most technologically endowed nation to ever exist on planet Earth, it would be a nightmare of almost unimaginable proportion. I’m referring to an attack on the U.S. by EMP –electromagnetic pulse—about which there continues to be much chatter in the cybersphere. Most feared is a nuclear blast that could interact with the ionosphere, the shell of electrons and electrically charged particles surrounding Earth, to create a series of electromagnetic pulses that could reach across the North American continent, according to the scientists who study such matters.
In such an apocalyptic scenario, an American enemy would explode a nuclear weapon a certain number of miles above a central point above the continent. This would cause everything that is controlled by electronic circuitry to fail, bringing society and culture as we have known them to an instantaneous conclusion. All modern transportation would be stopped, with planes falling from the air. Car engines and circuitry would cease to function. From the sophisticated technologies of the hospitals, banks, and electric power-generating plants to the electronically powered, smallest conveniences such as coffeemakers, all would be instantly fried, and we would be sent back to the 1850s in a millisecond, according to the experts.
Disregarding such an enemy for the moment, the experts tell us we face the possibility of an EMP attack from the cosmos. Now, there’s something to truly be concerned about!
Solar flares are the real danger, according to the scientists involved in study of this sort of EMP assault. These coronal mass ejections are enormous sun eruptions of super-hot plasma that spews charged particles across the solar system. They do the same sort of damage that the nuclear weapon EMPs might do, as I understand it.
The Earth is in a period of high likelihood for these types of coronal mass ejections, according to the scientists—authorities on such things. Although Congress has been given ways to help prepare for damage such EMP events can do, there has apparently been little interest from that quarter in making preemptive preparation. We remember the same sorts of fears and warnings about the year 2000–Y2K–event. In that instance billions of dollars were thrown into fixing the feared problems.
Now, however, unlike in the case of the Y2K scare, for example, the mainstream media seems to have all but ignored the EMP concerns. Even peripheral media cable networks and other such media have remained silence. Only the blogosphere is alive with details of the possibility of impending doom.
My own thought is that the Lord is and has always been in complete control of the fate of individuals, nations, and the entire Earth–which He created. That’s why there hasn’t been all-out warfare–nuclear war. That’s why there hasn’t been an EMP event that sets us back to the 1850s or so…
However, there is a prophetic thought that has nagged for a long time. That’s all it is–a thought.
Salem Kirban wrote the novel 666 in the 1960s. He portrayed the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog attack as being waged totally like the Scripture depicts. There were only horses, bucklers, shields, etc., as they stormed like a cloud to cover the land as the Gog forces raged toward Jerusalem. All modern weaponry had been rendered useless–I can’t remember why or how.
An EMP event from Earth’s sun could apparently make Mr. Kirban’s novel truly prophetic, if all we’ve been told about EMP is correct.
The way things are shaping in that region of the world should alert us that maybe we don’t have too long to wait to find out about how Bible prophecy plays out.
Fear of earthquakes is part of life in California.
But people experience this anxiety in different ways. For some, the fear prompts them to take steps to protect themselves: strapping down heavy furniture, securing kitchen cabinets and retrofitting homes and apartments.
For others, the fear prompts denial — a willful ignorance of the dangers for years until the ground starts shaking.
Seismologist Lucy Jones has spent her career trying to understand public attitudes about earthquakes, with a focus on moving people past paralysis and denial.
Jones said the way experts like her used to talk about earthquakes wasn’t very effective. They tended to focus on the probability of a major earthquake striking in the next 30 years — the length of a typical home mortgage. They also took pains to say what they didn’t know, which she now believes allowed the public to tune out and hope for the best.
Now she is making a dramatically different point. She said that in a keynote speech to international scientists in Japan on May 21, she emphasized that a devastating earthquake will definitely happen, and that there is much the public can do to protect themselves.
Denial may getting a bit harder these days. Over the last several years, a few California cities have taken dramatic steps to require retrofits of thousands of vulnerable buildings. And next year, scientists and the U.S. Geological Survey are expected to unveil the first limited public phase of an earthquake early-warning system that would eventually offer seconds and perhaps more than a minute of warning through smartphones and computers.