Author Topic: Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS  (Read 4650 times)

dr demented

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Re: Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2018, 04:55:32 AM »
https://news.usni.org/2018/05/29/two-u-s-warships-conduct-freedom-navigation-operation

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Two U.S. Warships Conduct South China Sea Freedom Of Navigation Operation
By: Ben Werner
May 29, 2018 2:53 PM

Over the weekend, a Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG-54) and Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Higgins (DDG-76) sailed in a two-ship freedom of navigation operation past islands claimed by China, according to media reports first reported by Reuters.

The FON operation in the Paracel Island chain was called a “serious infringement on China’s sovereignty,” Wu Qian, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defense, said in a Sunday statement.

In response, Navy officials told USNI News on Tuesday FON operations are a routine part of their mission to ensuring all nations have freedom of navigation and lawful use of the sea.

Antietam and Higgins, “arbitrarily entered on May 27 China’s territorial waters around the Xisha Islands without permission of the Chinese government,” Wu said.

China refers to the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea as the Xisha Islands. The chain has been part of the Chinese effort to extend its regional influence by building bases that can host military equipment.

Last week, China’s island building activity was cited as a contributing reason for the U.S. Navy to cancel China’s invitation to take part in the Rim of the Pacific exercise.

U.S. Navy officials originally invited China to participate several years ago with the hopes such interaction with the U.S. would encourage China to stop building islands in the South China Sea.




The following is the full statement released by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense following the U.S. Navy Freedom of Navigation Operation.

BEIJING, May 27 (ChinaMil) — China’s Ministry of National Defense has said two U.S. warships’ entry into China’s territorial waters around the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea is serious infringement on China’s sovereignty.

Wu Qian, spokesperson for the ministry, made the remarks on Sunday when asked about Chinese military’s comments on the US warships’ provocation.

According to Wu, two U.S. warships, the guided missile cruiser Antietam and the destroyer Higgins, arbitrarily entered on May 27 China’s territorial waters around the Xisha Islands without permission of the Chinese government.

Chinese military took immediate actions by dispatching naval ships and aircrafts to conduct legal identification and verification of the U.S. warships and warn them off, Wu said.

Wu said that the Xisha islands in the South China Sea are China’s inherent territory, and according to the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government promulgated the baseline of the territorial sea off the Xisha Islands in 1996.

The U.S. provocative action by sending once again warships into China’s territorial waters surrounding the Xisha Islands violated Chinese law and relevant international law, seriously infringed sovereignty of China, Wu stated.

The Chinese side is firmly opposed to such provocative and arbitrary actions by the U.S. side, which undermined strategic mutual trust between the two militaries and damaged peace, security and good order in relevant waters, Wu continued.

The Chinese military is unshakably determined to strengthen its naval and air combat readiness, raise defense level, safeguard national sovereignty and security and maintain regional peace and stability, the spokesperson said explicitly.

dr demented

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Re: Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2018, 02:43:53 PM »
An Anglo-French task force will arrive in Singapore next week, and then sail into international waters that Beijing claims as territorial waters.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2149062/france-britain-sail-warships-contested-south-china-sea

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France, Britain to sail warships in contested South China Sea to challenge Beijing

Defence ministers tell security forum they are contributing to rule-based order
PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 June, 2018, 12:03am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 June, 2018, 11:30am

France and Britain will sail warships through the South China Sea to challenge Beijing’s expanding military presence in the disputed waters, their defence ministers said on Sunday.

The two countries, both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, made the remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, echoing the latest US plan to ramp up its freedom of navigation operations to counter Beijing’s militarisation in the region and its stance that territorial disputes should be a matter between China and its Asian neighbours.

A French maritime task group, together with British helicopters and ships, will visit Singapore next week and then sail “into certain areas” of the South China Sea, French armed forces minister Florence Parly told the annual defence forum.

Without naming China, she suggested the warships will cross into “territorial waters” claimed by Beijing and envisioned a potential encounter with its military.

“At some point a stern voice intrudes into the transponder and tells us to sail away from supposedly ‘territorial waters’,” she said. “But our commander then calmly replies that he will sail forth, because these, under international law, are indeed international waters.”

Parly said although France was not a claimant in the South China Sea disputes, by conducting such exercises “on a regular basis with allies and friends” it was contributing to a rule-based order.

“By exercising our freedom of navigation, we also place ourselves in the position of a persistent objector to the creation of any claim to de facto sovereignty on the islands,” she said.

Instead of accepting the situation as a fait accompli, Parly said France should question it, otherwise it will be established as a right.

“I believe we should broaden this effort even further,” said Parly, adding that Europe was mobilising more widely to support this endeavour and there were also German observers on board.

Beijing’s claims to more than 90 per cent of the South China Sea overlap with several of its neighbours’ and in recent months it has expanded militarisation of its man-made islands in the resource-rich waterway.

British Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson also told the summit that three warships would be sent to the region this year to counter malign influence and preserve the rule-based order for the long-term.

“We have to make it clear that nations need to play by the rules, and there are consequences for not doing so,” Williamson said.

US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis on Saturday warned that Beijing’s militarisation of the South China Sea would face “much larger consequences”, without elaborating.

The Pentagon is reportedly considering a more assertive approach in the region which, compared to their previous freedom of navigation operations, could involve longer patrols, more ships and closer surveillance of Chinese facilities such as electronic jamming equipment and advanced military radars.

US officials are also reportedly pushing international allies and partners to increase their naval deployments in the vital trade route as China builds up its military presence on the disputed Paracel and Spratly islands, even if they stop short of a direct challenge.

At the forum, Beijing’s representatives responded to the French and British plans by saying the South China Sea is free and open for all to travel through, and there would be no restrictions on normal freedom of navigation.

“But violation of China’s sovereignty will not be allowed,” said Lieutenant General He Lei, vice-president of the Academy of Military Science and head of China’s delegation.

Senior Colonel Zhou Bo, director of the Centre for Security Cooperation under the defence ministry, said the question was whether France and Britain intended to sail within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-controlled islands and reefs.

“The Chinese features are not on the usual international shipping route, so if they deliberately enter those waters within 12 nautical miles, it will be seen by China as an intentional provocation,” Zhou said.

Last week, two US warships came within 12 nautical miles of the Paracel Islands – which are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan – and carried out manoeuvring operations.

The Pentagon also cancelled the PLA’s invitation to join an upcoming international maritime exercise off Hawaii, citing “China’s continued militarisation of the South China Sea”.

dr demented

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Re: Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2018, 10:53:26 AM »
https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/06/04/us-moves-to-justify-sail-by-operations-in-south-china-sea/?utm_campaign=Socialflow&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social

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US moves to justify sail-by operations in South China Sea
By: Mike Yeo

SINGAPORE ― A senior U.S. Navy officer has pushed back against suggestions at a regional security summit that freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea have been ineffective, calling them a long-term strategy for demonstrating that China’s claims in the body of water are not internationally recognized.

Speaking in Singapore at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Rear Adm. Donald Gabrielson, commander of Logistics Group Western Pacific, added that the operations, known by the acronym FONOP, are not meant to be a military provocation or intended to shape policy in the short term.

Gabrielson said the operations are instead a statement on the lack of agreement to, and lack of recognition of, an excessive claim ― in this case China’s claim that the South China Sea islands it occupies and has constructed military facilities on are part of its territory. China has also deployed surface-to-air, anti-ship and jamming equipment to its reclaimed islands.

The islands in the Spratly and Paracel groups are also claimed by five other Asian countries, and several have reclaimed and constructed facilities on the islands, although they have been dwarfed by the pace and scale of China’s activities.

Gabrielson, who is due to be the next commander of Carrier Strike Group 11 out of Everett, Washington, added that the FONOPs were not a nation-on-nation interaction but rather a way to support the rights of all nations.

However, China, which claims large tracts of the South China Sea, its islands and features as part of its territory, has been angered by the FONOPs, which it sees as a violation of its territorial waters and sovereignty. It used this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue to express its displeasure at continuing American-led efforts to push back against Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, despite not having a speaker at the dialogue’s plenary sessions due to it sending a relatively low-level delegation to the summit.

Senior Col. Zhao Xiaozhou, a research fellow at the Institute of War Studies of the People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Sciences, said the FONOPs in the South China Sea were a “violation of the law of the People’s Republic of China.”

The officer accused the United States of “militarization in the South China Sea under the veil of the freedom of navigation,” following a speech by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Mattis had noted that the United States does not see the operations as militarization, as its ships were going through what has traditionally been an international water space, citing rulings by international tribunals based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

UNCLOS determined in 2016 that, among other things, China’s claims “exceed the geographic and substantive limits of China’s maritime entitlements.” China had rejected the ruling, with the ruling Communist Party’s newspaper, the People’s Daily, saying the country “will neither acknowledge it nor accept it.”

sirius

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Re: Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2018, 08:04:31 AM »
https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/06/05/1821837/us-bombers-fly-near-spratly-islands-report

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US bombers fly near Spratly Islands — report

MANILA, Philippines — Two nuclear-capable US bombers flew near the Spratly Islands a day after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accused China of "intimidation and coercion" in the South China Sea.

American news channel CNN reported that two B-52 strategic bombers of the US Air Force flew within 20 miles from the islands, according to a US defense official. The Spratly Islands are also being claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The US Pacific Air Forces, however, has denied that the bombers flew within the vicinity of China's man-made islands in the region.

The Pentagon said the bombers were conducting a "routine training mission" as they flew from the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to a naval facility on Diego Garcia atoll in the British Indian Ocean Territory, CNN reported.

Lt. Col. Chris Logan, spokesperson of the Pentagon, said that the aircraft were part of the US Pacific Command's "continuous bomber presence" operations "intended to maintain the readiness of US forces."

"US Pacific Command's CBP missions, which have been routinely employed since March 2004, are flown in accordance with international law," Logan said.

In a security and defense summit over the weekend, Mattis called out China for its expanding militarization of man-made islands in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon chief pointed out that Beijing's militarization of the disputed features in the contested waterway includes deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, electronic jammers and the landing of bomber aircraft on Woody Island.

"Despite China's claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion," Mattis said during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

The Pentagon is reportedly weighing a more assertive freedom of navigation operations near China's bases in the South China Sea, according to Reuters.

This may involve longer patrols with larger numbers of ships or closer surveillance of Beijing's outposts in the area.

<read more>

dr demented

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Re: Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2018, 12:54:52 AM »
https://thediplomat.com/2018/09/are-france-and-the-uk-here-to-stay-in-the-south-china-sea/

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Are France and the UK Here to Stay in the South China Sea?

Are the French and British navies here to stay in the South China Sea?
By Tuan Anh Luc
September 14, 2018
 
The British Royal Navy’s HMS Albion, a 22,000-ton amphibious transport dock, conducted a freedom of navigation patrol (FON) in waters near the Paracel islands (Xisha Qundao in Chinese) in the South China Sea in late August. The HMS Albion’s patrol was a traditional assertion of freedom of navigation on the high seas unlike the freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) of the U.S. Navy that are designed to challenge what the United States views as excessive maritime claims. This difference illustrates variations in approach by allies to join FON in the South China Sea.

China, Vietnam, and Taiwan all claim the Paracel islands. In January 1974, China resorted to force to seize South Vietnamese occupied features in the Paracel islands. Beijing angrily denounced that the HMS Albion sailed within its territorial waters around the Paracels without seeking prior approval. An anonymous British source nonetheless notes that the royal warship did not enter the 12 nautical mile limit of any feature in the Paracels, but its operation was conducted in a way invalidating China’s excessive maritime claim in the area. After the operation, the HMS Albion sailed to Ho Chi Minh City for a four-day visit to Vietnam from September 3.

The patrol by the British warship demonstrated the U.K.’s serious intention to engage in Southeast Asian region. It signaled that the Royal Navy is likely to be a regular party patrolling the South China Sea. As Ian Storey and Euan Graham assert, the patrol would make U.S. happy as it resonated with Washington’s call for upholding freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Recently, the UK and Australia made public their agreement to strengthen military cooperation. The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is to be deployed to the Pacific as early as 2020 and will sail side by side with Australian navy ships.
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The Royal Navy has not elucidated the objective of the operation. Its spokesperson only informed in brief that “HMS Albion exercised her rights for freedom of navigation in full compliance with international law and norms.” However, regional observers widely interpreted it and previous patrols as a challenge to China’s excessive claims in the Paracels in particular and the South China Sea in general.

Regarding the Paracel islands, China unilaterally declared the composition of all straight lines connecting the 28 adjacent base points in 1996. The straight baselines encircling the Paracels form internal waters area within the base points. At the same time, China claims a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles around the Paracel islands. As Carl Thayer has asserted, China’s declaration of straight baselines with the Paracel islands is not compatible with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS). According to the convention, drawing straight baselines is only applicable to archipelagic states. Noticeably, the Arbitration Court in Hague, in its ruling on 12 July 2016, invalidated China’s claimed historic rights to the sea areas within the notorious “nine-dash line” that also embraces the Paracel islands.

Beijing only made official comments after Western media outlets cited anonymous British defence sources about the HMS Albion naval patrol. Similar to the U.S. FONOPs, China sent vocal warnings, its warship and fighter jets to shadow the HMS Albion operation. In almost a week later, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs charged that the operational assertion was a provocation, violation of its domestic law, relevant international law and a breach of its sovereignty. China warned that additional operations would be detrimental to bilateral relations, regional peace and stability. Noticeably, China reactions were restrained both verbally and its actions at sea avoided any direct confrontation with the British warship thus preventing any escalation. However, China demonstrated its resolve by cancelling the important post-Brexit trade deal that London has been pursuing with Beijing because of the HMS Albion challenge.

The HMS Albion indeed added up to the external powers’ endeavor to uphold the right of free access to the waterways [and airway] in the South China Sea. In a relevant move, France and the U.K. conducted a joint freedom of navigation patrol through Mischief, Subi and Fiery Cross Reefs in the Spratly islands last June as announced at the 17th Asia Security Summit, or Shangri-La Dialogue 2018. Both London and Paris considered themselves Indo-Pacific powers and committed to protecting the free passage through the strategic sea line of communications in Southeast Asia pursuant to international maritime law. Beside the two publicized patrols, both [and together with Australia] have maintained their naval operations in the area. France, for instance, sailed at least five ships in the South China Sea in 2017.

The U.S. has conducted eleven publicized FONOPs to challenge China’s excessive maritime claims in the South China Sea since October 2015. Five FONOPs in the Paracels were carried out by the USS Curtis Wilbur (January 2016), the USS Decatur (October 2016), the USS Stethem (July 2017), the USS Chafee (October 2017) and the first-ever joint operation by the USS Higgins and USS Antietam (May 2018). The USS Lassen (October 2015), the USS William P. Lawrence (May 2016), the USS Dewey (May 2017), the USS John S. McCain (August 2017), and the USS Mustin (March 2018) conducted the five FONOPs in the Spratlys. The FONOP by the USS Hopper in January 2018 was undertaken at Scarborough Shoal. Despite this, South China Sea expert Gregory Poling assessed that the U.S. current strategy had failed and FONOPs were ineffective.

Unfortunately, the U.S. military dynamics in the region, during and after President Barack Obama’s pivot and rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific, have not restrained China from constructing artificial islands and military bases in the South China Sea. China has finished the constructions of seven artificial islands and equipped them with modern offensive and defensive military capabilities. China has militarized the South China Sea with the installation of jamming communications and radar systems in Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef, anti-ship cruise missiles YJ-12B and surface-to-air missile systems HQ-9B on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef. In addition, China temporarily deployed H-6K nuclear capable bombers in Woody Island. The question from now on is to what extent China will militarize the artificial islands.

States with vested interests in the South China Sea are more concerned with China’s increasing militarization of artificial islands in the region. Their concern has heightened due to the increased ambiguity of the U.S. policy in Asia. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s elucidation of the Free and Open Indo-Pacific is not sufficient to shore up the international rules-based order. The new Trump Administration policy is mainly economic-centric and interestingly falls short in security substance. Regional states can hardly find reassurance in the Trump Administration’s plan to deal with China’s fait accompli in the South China Sea. In addition, U.S. financial commitments under the new Indo-Pacific vision is too meagre compared to China’s expansive and ambitious Belt and Road Initiative. It would be naïve to think that Secretary Pompeo’s commitment to ASEAN’s centrality in the Indo-Pacific Region will convince skeptics of U.S. resolve to push back against China.

The Franco-English joint patrol and the HMS Albion operation exemplified the increased engagement of other external powers in the South China Sea dispute. Southeast Asian states are likely to respond with caution to recent developments. The engagement of additional external powers goes in tandem with the new outward looking regionalism promoted by inclusive ASEAN over the last few decades. Nonetheless, ASEAN states should be concerned about their region once again becoming an arena for rivalry among the major powers. This is not the outcome that regional states expected after more than five decades of regional building.

Tuan Anh Luc is a PhD Candidate in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales, Canberra.

Ayoshi

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Re: Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2018, 12:58:06 AM »
Confrontation between Chinese and US destroyers suggests policy shift | Janes - 04 October 2018
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During what the US Navy (USN) called a freedom-of-navigation operation (FONOP) conducted on 30 September near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea (SCS), a People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Luyang-class destroyer approached Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) at about 0830 h local time "in an unsafe and unprofessional manoeuvre in the vicinity of Gaven Reef", US Pacific Fleet Deputy Spokesperson Commander Nate Christensen told Jane's

adroth

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Re: Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2018, 10:42:04 AM »
China’s Atypical Response To US Navy FONOPS May Be a Message to Trump Administration
By: Ben Werner
October 3, 2018 6:05 PM

https://news.usni.org/2018/10/03/37076

China ratcheted up its response to U.S. Navy freedom of navigation operation over the weekend, sending a Luyang-class destroyer on a near-collision-course with USS Decatur (DDG-73), but the reasoning behind the move is likely more nuanced than defending territory.

No Chinese captain of a vessel would risk this type of confrontation – coming within 45 yards of Decatur – without being told to do so. And there is little chance this event occurred without the approval of China’s President Xi Jinping, China expert Bonnie Glaser told USNI News. Glaser is the senior advisor for Asia and director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


=====


Near collision between USS Decatur and the PLAN destroyer. Photo c/o US Navy







« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 11:07:42 AM by adroth »

adroth

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Re: Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2018, 02:00:38 AM »
Beijing lashes out at US for South China Sea sail-by
30 Nov 2018 06:23PM (Updated: 01 Dec 2018 03:50AM)

BEIJING: China on Friday (Nov 30) scolded the United States for sending naval vessels close to disputed islands in the South China Sea where Beijing has built military installations.

The US and its allies have in recent times sent planes and warships to the area for "freedom of navigation" operations, intended as a signal to Beijing of their right under international law to pass through the waters claimed by China.

According to the Pentagon, the USS Chancellorsville guided-missile destroyer sailed Monday near the Paracel islands, known as Xisha in Chinese, "to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law."

The Chinese military scrambled aircraft and warships, sending out warnings for the American vessel to leave the area.

"We urge the US to strengthen the management of its vessels and aircraft that pass by Chinese territory to prevent unexpected events," People's Liberation Army Southern Theatre spokesman Li Huamin said in a statement.

China has also lodged a diplomatic complaint with Washington, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a regular press briefing, calling on the US to "immediately stop such provocative actions that violate China's sovereignty".

< Edited >

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/beijing-lashes-out-at-us-for-south-china-sea-sail-by-10985270

Ayoshi

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Re: Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2019, 12:31:18 AM »
China protests USN FONOP near Paracel Islands | Janes - 07 January 2019
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During a press conference in Beijing MoFA spokesperson Lu Kang accused USS McCampbell , an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, of “having entered the territorial waters of the Xisha [Paracel] Islands in China without the permission of the Chinese side”.

China “immediately” dispatched military ships and aircraft to identify and warn off the vessel, said Lu, adding that the US warship’s actions had “violated Chinese and international laws”, as well as having “infringed Chinese sovereignty”.

Ayoshi

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Freedom of navigation exercises in the WPS (FONOPS)
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2019, 04:55:19 AM »
US pursuit of FONOPS in the South China Sea irritates China | Navy Recognition - 13 February 2019 12:42
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Admiral Phil Davidson, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, publically said the U.S. Navy will pursue its freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) in the South China Sea to counter North Korea and China. He also asked US allies to take part to such operations, letting China know the international community does not accept its claims on this area. Meanwhile, PLA urges US to stop its provocative actions.

In the South China Sea, the atmosphere is getting more and more tense as days go by. China's increasing presence in the area, as the country claims this one as part of its territory, makes the US and its allies enhance their own presence in the region, mainly through FONOPS.

On the one hand, the US estimates that China's claims on the South China Sea are not legitimate and condemns Chinese expansion in the region. Therefore, the U.S. Navy regularly conducts FONOPS through the South China Sea since the beginning of this year. On February 11, 2 US guided-missile destroyer, USS Spruance and USS Preble, conducted a FONOP through the South China Sea.

< snipped >

In the South China Sea, this latent conflict between China and the US (and its allies) seems to remain a dead-end situation. And many would say it is not going to calm down in the future.