We have a new president and it is time for me to return to my main focus of this blog….international situations and conflict.
For years now the South China Sea has been a region of contention……China claims islands….other countries as well think a bunch of island belong to them…..the US has responded to this possible threat by sending a naval group to patrol the region.
A U.S. aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas”, the U.S. military said on Sunday, at a time when tensions between China and Taiwan have raised concern in Washington.
U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defence identification zone in the vicinity of the Pratas Islands.
The U.S. military said the carrier strike group was in the South China Sea, a large part of which is claimed by China, to conduct routine operations “to ensure freedom of the seas, build partnerships that foster maritime security”.
China has now made the region a bit more dangerous.
China’s legislature passed a law on Friday that gives its coast guard more freedom to fire on foreign vessels. According to the text of the law released by China’s Xinhua, it aims to safeguard “national sovereignty, security and maritime rights.”
The law allows China’s Coast Guard to take “all necessary means”, including the use of weapons, to stop or prevent threats from foreign vessels. The law will allow the coast guard to stop and board vessels in China’s “jurisdictional waters.”
China’s Coast Guard is relatively young, having formed in 2013 after previously being part of Beijing’s People’s Armed Police. The new law gives China’s Coast Guard an authority most country’s coast guards have. Still, the law is significant because of China’s maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas, disputes that the US has involved itself in.
In the South China Sea, Beijing and several Southeast Asian countries have overlapping claims. Since 2015, the US began sailing warships near Chinese-claimed waters in the region, maneuvers that were stepped up during the Trump administration and will likely continue under President Biden.
In the East China Sea, China and Japan both claim the Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyus in China. Japan currently administers the uninhabited islands. Chinese coast guard vessels were recently spotted in waters near the Senkakus, which drew condemnation from Tokyo.
After winning the November presidential election, Joe Biden assured Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide that the Senkakus are covered under the US-Japan mutual defense treaty.
Back in October, then-National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien announced that the US Coast Guard was deploying ships to the Western Pacific. It’s not clear how far west the cutters have sailed, but O’Brien cited Beijing as the reason for the deployment, so there’s a chance the US Coast Guard can cross paths with China’s coast guard.
All it would take is one incident and this could become another endless conflict that we have found this nation fighting.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”