- - Monday, April 4, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

China has been upping the ante with its neighbors by claiming international waters as Chinese sovereign territory and exhibiting aggressive naval behavior against countries in the region. The latest incident occurred in the infamous Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of Vietnam, where a Chinese fueling ship was seized by the Vietnamese coast guard. The ship was found to be carrying 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel intended for Chinese fishing vessels illegally fishing in Vietnamese waters according to the Vietnamese government. The ship was seized and forced by the Border Defense Force of Haiphong City to the coast and impounded, according to the Guardian.

American naval forces have been active in the South China Sea, where China has been militarizing atolls in the Spratly Islands and elsewhere, building airstrips for military aircraft and installing anti-aircraft missile batteries which can threaten American forces and our allies in the region. In addition to routine American naval passages within the self-declared Chinese sovereign territory, the United States has also continued to fly reconnaissance aircraft as well as B-52 bombers.

With North Korean sabre rattling with nuclear weapons and the situation in the South China Sea, the Asian-Pacific region has become a flashpoint for conflict between the world’s great powers. China has angered Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines with their aggressive territorial claims and behavior. In light of this situation, perhaps this is not the time to be reducing American naval power to decade level lows.


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