how the US is provoking China in the South China Sea – Teller Report Teller Report

The Chinese navy has driven the American cruiser USS Chancellorsville out of the Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea. According to the Chinese side, the actions of the United States ship posed a “threat to the security” of the region. However, the US 7th Fleet denied Beijing’s accusations and said they were defending “freedom of navigation”. Similar incidents regularly occur between the Chinese and United States navies. According to experts, Washington is deliberately sending warships to areas that China considers its territorial waters. The ultimate goal of the United States, analysts believe, is to draw Beijing into a long-term armed conflict that will bring down trade flows through the South China Sea.

The Navy of the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) ousted the USS Chancellorsville guided missile cruiser from the waters of the Spratly archipelago (Nansha).

“The actions of the US military have seriously violated the sovereignty and security of China,” said Tian Junli, spokesman for the Southern Combat Command Zone of the People’s Republic of China.

According to the commander, the behavior of the US Navy poses a “security threat” in the South China Sea. As Junli noted, Beijing regards the passage of the USS Chancellorsville as “another irrefutable proof of their hegemony in terms of shipping in the South China Sea and its militarization.”

The American side denied the accusations of the People’s Republic of China. The US military does not deny the presence of the cruiser in the waters of the Spratly, but claims that the ship “defended the right and freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea.

“Nothing the PRC has said will stop us. The statement by the command of the Southern Military District of the PLA is the latest in a long series of actions by the PRC aimed at distorting (goals. – RT) legitimate US maritime operations and declare their excessive and illegal maritime claims in the South China Sea to the detriment of neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, ”the press service of the 7th Fleet noted.

The report also asserts that the US Navy operates in the South China Sea professionally, safely and within international law. It is emphasized that American ships do not request notifications or permission to enter the territorial waters of the Spratly from other states, including China.

“Shock Exercises”

According to experts interviewed by RT, incidents in the South China Sea regularly occur between the Navy of China and the United States. Most often, American ships enter the territorial waters of Taiwan, as well as the Spratly and neighboring Paracel Islands (Xisha), taking advantage of their uncertain international status.

Thus, in July, Tian Junli reported that the American destroyer USS Benfold approached the Paracel Islands without Beijing’s permission. According to the official representative of the Southern Zone of the PLA Combat Command, the Chinese military regards such behavior of the US Navy as a serious violation of the sovereignty and security of the republic.

The USS Benfold was also spotted off the archipelago in January of this year. The PLA regarded the destroyer’s entry into territorial waters as a provocation. As a result, the Chinese Navy and Air Force took the American ship for escort.

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Recall that the Spratly and Paracel Islands are considered disputed territories. Since 2013, Beijing has begun the economic and military development of this region. The PRC conducts fishing and mining activities, as well as building military installations and artificial islands, which allow claiming economic zones within 200 nautical miles from each of them.

Meanwhile, the United States does not recognize Beijing’s claims to control the South China Sea, regarding China’s policy as aggression. Washington claims that this region is critical to the security of the United States.

The Pentagon, in addition to individual ships, regularly sends a strike force led by the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to the South China Sea. It conducts “naval strike exercises, as well as coordinated tactical exercises between surface and air units” in the water area.

“Our presence in the South China Sea demonstrates America’s commitment to the idea of ​​freedom and openness in the Indo-Pacific region,” Captain Fred Goldhammer explained the aircraft carrier’s mission earlier.

United front

As Vasily Kashin, director of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies (CCEMI) at the Higher School of Economics, an expert on the Chinese military-industrial complex, Vasily Kashin, said in a commentary to RT, Washington is trying to prevent Beijing from gaining influence in the South China Sea. According to him, in recent years, the frequency of US military maneuvers in the region has increased.

“The actions of American warships that cause Beijing’s outrage are the so-called patrols to ensure “freedom of navigation.” It is deliberately undertaken to demonstrate that the United States is not going to recognize the claims of the PRC, including the exclusive economic zone of artificial islands belonging to China. This is done periodically, but as US-China relations worsen, the frequency of such operations increases,” Kashin said.

Both sides are in contact on the situation in the South China Sea. For example, Defense Secretary Wei Fenghe and Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin exchanged views on this issue during a meeting in Cambodia on November 22.

As a result of the talks, no mutual agreements were reported. Kashin believes that the prospect of a compromise solution on the South China Sea between Washington and Beijing is not yet visible.

According to Chinese experts, whose opinion is quoted by the English-language Chinese edition of The Global Times, the United States has always sought to create a united front against Beijing in the South China Sea. According to analysts, such an alliance should include Japan, Australia, Vietnam and other countries of Southeast Asia.

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Since 2021, the AUKUS alliance has been operating in the Asia-Pacific region (APR), which includes the United States, Great Britain and Australia. According to the agreements, within the framework of cooperation with the alliance, Canberra should receive its own nuclear submarine fleet.

Beijing called the establishment of AUKUS an irresponsible move and a threat to regional security. In addition, China negatively perceived the new strategic concept of NATO, adopted at the end of June this year.

Recall that the document states that China’s “ambitious goals and policy of coercion” “challenge … the interests, security and values” of the alliance. Beijing also accused the Western military bloc of trying to “undermine the rules-based international order.”

According to Kashin, Beijing cannot ignore the challenges that affect its defense, territorial and economic interests. According to the expert, Beijing is aware that the activities of AUKUS and other pro-American alliances in the Asia-Pacific region will threaten its plans in the South China Sea.

“The main importance of the South China Sea is due to the fact that it is the main artery of world trade. Through it goes the main cargo flow between the countries of Northeast Asia, including China. It is extremely important for China’s exports and imports,” Kashin emphasized.

A similar point of view is shared by Alexei Maslov, director of the Institute of Asian and African Countries at Moscow State University. According to him, against the background of the degradation of the military-political situation in the Asia-Pacific region and the South China Sea, China is building up the capabilities of its armed forces.

At the end of November, The Global Times reported the completion of testing of the new PLA amphibious assault ships of the 075 Hainan and Guangxi types. These platforms are capable of interacting with aircraft carriers and other warships. In a commentary to the publication, military expert Song Zhongping said that Beijing needs Hainan and Guangxi to protect territorial integrity and sovereignty in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.

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As Maslov noted in a RT commentary, China continues to build up its military power to protect its interests in the South China Sea and curb US provocations. According to the expert, Beijing has already surpassed Washington in the number of surface ships that the PLA can quickly deploy in the South China Sea.

“Nevertheless, I would not underestimate the American military capabilities. The US has the resources to carry out regular “freedom of navigation” missions. In response, it seems to me that the PLA will act more and more harshly. The Chinese Navy may begin to force American ships to stop moving. The detention of some auxiliary American watercraft cannot be ruled out, ”says the interlocutor of RT.

At the same time, according to Maslov, an armed conflict in the South China Sea is unprofitable for China, especially if it becomes protracted.

“I think the US wants to drag China into a long-term conflict that will bring down trade flows through the South China Sea. This threatens Beijing with great economic problems, and it seeks to avoid such a scenario,” Maslov concluded.


Source: RT на русском by russian.rt.com.

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