US Freedom of Navigation Exercise Enrages China

US Freedom of Navigation Exercise Enrages China

October 27, 2015

China lashes out at the decision of the US Navy to sail a guided-missile destroyer within 12 miles of Subi Reef. Subi Reef is one of the artificial islands that China has been building in the Spratly archipelago.  On Tuesday, October 27, 2015, the USS Lassen sailed within the presumed territorial limits of the new islands: Subi Reef and Mischief Reef.

 Originally posted by Twitter

The video below shows the plans of the US Navy in conjunction with other naval forces to conduct freedom on navigation exercises.

  Here is how China and Japan react about the move. According to China's Foreign Ministry, their relevant authorities have done close monitoring, following and given warning to the US vessel because of the lack of permission from the Chinese government to do such actions in penetrating their presumed territories. A report said that American ships were warned to get out of the disputed waters by two navy vessels, a missile destroyer, a patrol boat, the Lanzhou, and the Taizhou.

In a news conference, Lu Kang, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, said the following:

“The relevant Chinese authorities have monitored, followed the U.S. warship and issued warnings.”

“China will firmly react to this deliberate provocation. China will not condone any action that undermines China’s security. The ministry added that they will continue close monitoring of the relevant seas and airspace, and take all necessary steps in accordance with the need.

"China strongly urges the US side to conscientiously handle China’s serious representations, immediately correct its mistake and not take any dangerous or provocative acts that threaten China’s sovereignty and security interests."

With this tensions arising, Max Baucus, an American Ambassador, made a phone call to the Foreign Ministry on the evening of Tuesday where he talked to Zhang Yesui, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. He was advised by Mr. Zhang that the United States should stop threatening Chinese sovereignty and security interests.

By now, you may be wondering why the said vessel is navigating the Chinese waters. An anonymous Pentagon official has said that the USS Lassen is a part of the US Navy's Seventh Fleet is heading back to Yokosuka Japan where its base is located. The USS Lassen also tried to perform the naval maneuvering to test the words of China's President, Xi Jinping.

Originally posted by The Guardian

If we would go back a month earlier, President Obama and President Xi had a meeting in Washington where both parties failed to reach a mutual agreement on the claims in the Spratlys Islands. In the said conference, Mr. Xi mentioned that China has no intention of militarizing the islands they are building in the South China Sea.


Originally posted by New York Times

 Originally posted by Yahoo

The Pentagon wanted to test these territorial claims and statements by strategically choosing Subi Reef for their mission for freedom-of-navigation-exercises. Since Subi Reef is known to have a low-tide elevation, penetrating the territory is not entitled to the 12-nautical mile territorial limit, as said under the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea. An expert on the topic, Andre Erickson added that beyond a 500-meter safety zone, foreign ships and aircraft are free to operate without consultation or permission.

Another US Defense Official said that these freedom-of-navigation-exercises will not only be done to China's built features but also to features that the Philippines and Vietnam have built around the Spratlys.

There are various reactions from different countries to this US maneuver. Some are below:

Ninoy Aquino, the President of the Philippines, said, “I think everybody would welcome a balance of power anywhere in the world.” He noted that the actions performed by the US Naval forces would serve as a good reminder there are certain norms as to what freedom of navigation entails.

Australia also strongly supports the decision of the US Naval Force to conduct freedom-of-navigation-exercises. Marise Payne, Australia's Defense Minister, said, "It is important to recognize that all states have a right under international law to freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, including in the South China Sea,” she said. “Australia strongly supports these rights.” Australia is considering provocations in the South China Sea.


Originally posted by Britmodeller

Although, there are also reactions that criticize the move, like Ian Storey, a South China Sea expert at Singapore’s Institute of South-East Asian Studies. He said that sending the USS Lassen instead of smaller vessels instantly sends a strong message to the Chinese People.

China has been building islands near the Spratlys by using massive dredging and using tons of sand. Their islands are already able to build a runway for military aircraft. These new islands that China has been building in the South China Sea go on many controversies when it comes to implementation of the agreed law of different nations. It is known to many that there has been an armed clash in the South China Sea.

We would understand how much China is concerned with their security as the US also adds many military bases around the country to raise security level, however, there are existing laws that every country must abide in order to have a peaceful world.

What do you think of the Naval actions and the reactions of the involved and relevant parties? Don't forget to share your thoughts and insights about these current events in the comments below.

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1 Response

greg lockwitch
greg lockwitch

February 22, 2016

There are always gonna be tension when a military vessel enters another countries waters and frankly if china did that to the U.S I believe it would have a similar response the facts are to many attempts to spy on other countries are always present. I’m not a political person however I think people have to get along for the sake of mankind to continue in piece.

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