Bill Hayton on the economic impact of tensions in the South China Sea
Earlier this month, the United States first deployed the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group (VINCSG) to the hotly contested South China Sea during the group’s deployment in 2021. The strike group is conducting operations maritime security, including air operations and maritime strike exercises.
Rear Admiral Dan Martin, Commanding Officer of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, said: “The freedom of all nations to navigate international waters is important, and particularly vital in the South China Sea, where nearly a third of global maritime trade each passes through. year.
“As we crossed the Pacific from San Diego to the South China Sea, we had the privilege and pleasure of working alongside our allies, partners and joint service teammates in training, exercises , engagements and operations – all with a common goal. to ensure peace and stability throughout the region.
“It is in all of our interests that the international community take an active role in preserving the rules-based international order.
However, Chinese state media blasted Washington’s deployment of the strike aircraft carrier group to the hotly contested region.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden
Chinese tensions in the South China Sea reach their boiling point
Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, tweeted: “Hopefully when Chinese warships cross the Caribbean Sea or one day come near Hawaii and Guam, the United States will maintain the same level of freedom. navigation.
“That day will come soon.”
The US Navy responded to Xijin’s comments by stating that the navy has “upheld freedom of navigation standards longer than the PLA navy has existed.”
The South China Sea is a hotly contested region and is claimed in part by China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
READ MORE: China prepares navy for ‘act of war’ against US
Chinese President Xi Jinping
Diplomatic relations between nations are already incredibly strained.
In recent months, Beijing has asserted its dominance in the region and has built several military bases on some of the atolls.
Although it does not claim any part of the archipelago, Washington has increased its military presence in order to counter Chinese domination in the region.
The USS Benfold has entered disputed waters near the Paracel Islands, which China claims as its own territory.
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The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China said the destroyer entered the area without permission.
Beijing has claimed that the US move violates its sovereignty and undermines the region’s stability.
The PLA said in a statement: “We urged the United States to immediately cease such provocative actions.”
However, the US Navy claimed the destroyer was claiming navigation rights and freedoms in the region that were in accordance with international law.
US President Joe Biden
The Navy said: “Under international law as reflected in the Convention on the Law of the Sea, ships of all States, including their warships, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the sea. territorial.
“By entering a harmless passage without prior notification or without seeking permission from any of the applicants, the United States has challenged these illegal restrictions imposed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.”
They added, “By carrying out this operation, the United States has demonstrated that these waters are beyond what China can legally claim as its territorial sea, and that the straight baselines claimed by China around the islands Paracels are incompatible with international law. “
Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said the United States was undermining peace and stability in the region.
China has undertaken military exercises
He urged Washington to stop “sowing trouble” in the hotly contested region.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has declared the freedom of the seas to be an “enduring” interest of all nations.
He said: “Nowhere is the rules-based maritime order more threatened than in the South China Sea.
“The People’s Republic of China continues to coerce and intimidate the coastal states of Southeast Asia, threatening the freedom of navigation on this critical global thoroughfare.”
In May, China “expelled” a US-guided guided missile destroyer after “entering” Beijing’s territorial waters in the South China Sea.