South China Sea: Military exercises ‘must continue’ says expert
The USS Makin Island (LHD-8) and USS Somerset (LPD-25) entered the disputed waters on Sunday, according to a post on Twitter by the South China Sea Probing Initiative. The Chinese Navy’s Type 056A corvettes Enshi, Yongzhou and Guangyuan then carried out “unscripted” combat training, Newsweek reports.
Their arrival coincided with Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller’s Asia visit.
The graphic shared by SCSI shows the USS Makin Island entered south of Taiwan while the USS Somerset entered near the Philippines.
A report by Global Times described the unannounced US naval visit as “a bluff and muscle-flexing action that pundits believe would damage regional stability”.
The piece, published on Monday, added: “China should be prepared to confront the US in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits, no matter who sits in the White House, they said.
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“No matter how the US domestic politics changes, China should continue to enhance its military preparedness in these two regions, said analysts.”
It went on to say the warships entry “once again shows that the US is the destroyer of regional peace and stability”.
Acting Secretary Miller’s trip involved a visit to Indonesia on Monday and the Philippines on Tuesday.
A statement by the US Department of Defence said: “Acting Secretary Miller will meet with his counterparts and other senior officials to discuss the importance of the bilateral defense relationships and securing a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
Tensions in the South China Sea have been ramping up of late.
Taiwan’s president has said the country faces daily military threats from “authoritarian forces” and the US has supplied the nation with a number of arms packages.
The latest is a $280 million sale including a Field Information Communications System (FICS) to help “modernise” Taiwan’s military technology.
The US has agreed around $5billion dollars in arms sales to Taiwan in 2020, repeatedly angering China.
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On Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a daily briefing: “China will take legitimate and necessary reactions to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and security interests.
“China urges the United States to stay committed to the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, stop arms sales to and military contacts with the Taiwan region, and immediately cancel its arms sale plans to avoid further damaging China-US relations and cross-Strait peace and stability.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously tweeted: “The United States’ policy is crystal clear: The South China Sea is not China’s maritime empire.
“If Beijing violates international law and free nations do nothing, history shows the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will simply take more territory.
“China Sea disputes must be resolved through international law.”
Navy Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, the top military intelligence official at US Indo-Pacific command, is said to have visited Taiwan month.
Keith Krach, senior US official figure for economic growth, energy and the environment, visited Taiwan in September, as did US health secretary Alex Azar in August.
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