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As Trade Talks Begin, US Infuriates Beijing With Latest Navy Operation In South China Sea

As a US delegation led by senior trade officials arrived in Beijing on Monday to begin the first round of in-person talks to resolve the burgeoning US-China trade war, the US has reportedly carried out its latest ‘Freedom of Navigation’ operation in the South China Sea – though at least this time there wasn’t a near-collision with a Chinese ship.

Since President Trump’s inauguration, the US has stepped up its ‘Freeops’ as the US Navy seeks to contain China’s growing military ambitions in the Pacific. But since the trade war began, the US has demonstrated a keen sense of timing, contributing to China’s decisions to cancel security conferences and reconsider coming to the table to talk on trade.

Nine Dash

But this time, the controversial maneuver seemingly doesn’t bode well for the fate of a lasting US-China trade compromise. According to the Wall Street Journal, the US-guided-missile destroyer the USS McCampbell patrolled within 12 miles of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on Monday. In particular, it came within a few miles of three islands: Tree, Lincoln and Woody.

China sent its own ship to try and deter the McCampbell, but ultimately decided to file an official complaint. According to Bloomberg, China urged the US to halt “provocative actions” in the South China Sea. “The actions by the U.S. fleet have violated Chinese law and related international laws, and undermined the peace, security and good order in the relevant waters,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a briefing Monday in Beijing. “China strongly opposes the actions.”

USS

The Paracels are claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan but have been controlled by China since the Communist Nation seized them from Vietnamese forces in 1974. Further alarming the US, Beijing has upgraded several military outposts in the Paracels and deployed jet fighters to at least one, according to satellite images and US officials.

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US, China Diving Into A New Cold War; Jack Ma Warns: “When Trade Stops, Sometimes War Starts”

One of the most significant themes heading into 2019, is the new US-China Cold War. Recent tit-for-tat exchanges on economic, political and strategic fronts threaten to escalate into a full-blown conflict between both superpowers.

As Washington squeezes Beijing economically through an escalating trade war, it simultaneously uses Freedom of navigation (FON) to sail its warships and or fly its nuclear-capable Boeing B-52 bombers dangerously close to Beijing’s militarized islands in the heavily disputed South China Sea. This high-stakes game of chicken is now spiraling out of control and could lead to a possible military conflict.

Last month, President Trump slapped Beijing with new tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products, adding to the $50 billion applied on Chinese imports earlier this year, said Asia Times.

Trump also threatened to slap tariffs on another $267 billion of Chinese imports if Beijing failed to address concerns over what his administration views China’s predatory and unfair trade practices.

China responded by applying retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of American imports while suspending trade negotiations with Washington.

Asia Times said China “views its roiled relations with the US as an existential struggle, with the ongoing trade war seen as part of a broader containment strategy Washington is now intensifying through military means in the South China Sea.”

Alibaba founder Jack Ma recently warned that Trump’s trade war with China could lead to military conflict.

“When trade stops, sometimes the war starts. So trade is the way to stop wars,” Ma warned Tuesday during an opening panel discussion at the World Trade Organization Public Forum in Geneva. “Trade is the way to build up trust,” he continued. “Trade is not the weapon to fight against each other.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Navy Proposes A “Global Show Of Military Force” As A Warning To China

The trade war between the US and China is turning into a hot war with every passing day.

As we reported on Monday, Chinese ships came to actively confronting the USS Decatur while the US ship was carrying out yet another in a series of “freedom of navigation” operations – or “freeops” – in the South China Sea. The Navy destroyer had to maneuver to avoid colliding with the Chinese destroyer Luyang that came within 45 yards of its bow while the Decatur was sailing through the Spratley Islands on Sunday in what was the closest direct confrontation between US and Chinese ships since Trump’s inauguration (after which the Navy began conducting these freeops with increasing frequency).

On Tuesday, China accused the US of violating its “indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratley islands, saying in a statement “We strongly urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistake and stop such provocative actions to avoid undermining China-U.S. relations and regional peace and stability.”

Now it’s the US turn to respond, and according to CNN, the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet has drawn up a classified proposal to carry out a global show of force as a warning to China and demonstrate the US is prepared to deter and counter their military actions. The draft proposal from the Navy is initially recommending the US Pacific fleet conduct a series of operations during a single week in November.

The navy’s goal – whether with or without the White House’s prodding – is to carry out a highly focused and concentrated set of exercises involving US warships, combat aircraft and troops to demonstrate that the US can counter potential adversaries quickly on several fronts.

Even without knowing the details, one can easily see how this can go horribly wrong. It only gets worse from there.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chinese Air Force Holds Live-Fire War Drill In South China Sea Days After US Exercise

China Central Television, as per the Twitter account of the official People’s Daily newspaper, reported Saturday that the Chinese military deployed fighter jets and bombers to conduct live-fire war drills in the disputed South China Sea, just days after the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and nuclear-capable US B-52 strategic bombers held exercises over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan on September 27.

The report said dozens of jet fighters from the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force from the Southern Theater Command on early Saturday conducted “live-fire drills to tests pilots’ assault, penetration and precision-strike capabilities at sea,” said The Japan Times.

Beijing on Thursday blasted the US and Japan exercise over the East China Sea, calling them a “provocation.”

“China’s principle and standpoint on the South China Sea are always clear,” Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said, according to Chinese state-run media. “China firmly opposes U.S. military aircraft’s provocation in the South China Sea, and will take all necessary measures.”

Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun News said the joint drills between the US and Japan were highly “unusual,” as what we pointed out last week, a China-Japan maritime crisis is inevitable over the disputed Senkaku Islands.

It seems that Thursday’s move was aimed at keeping China in check amid increasing tensions between Beijing and Washington, including an intensifying trade war.

But in a tit-for-tat effort, China hit back with war drills of their own on Saturday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang criticized unnamed countries (US, United Kingdom, and France) for using freedom of navigation and overflight as excuses to disrupt other countries’ sovereignty and security, disturbing regional peace and stability.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Beijing Outraged As US Warship Sails Within 12 Miles Of Contested Island

The new year is barely three weeks old and already the US Navy’s “freedom of navigation” operations are eliciting furious threats of retaliation from the Chinese military.

Since President Donald Trump took office one year ago, the Navy and Air Force have increasingly sought to test the Chinese military response in the Pacific by sailing or flying within a certain perimeter – usually 12 miles – of one of China’s disputed territorial holdings in the South China Sea, according to RT.

In the latest clash, the USS Hopper missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of Huangyan Dao, a tiny island claimed by China, on Jan. 17.

As is common during US “Freeops,” the US destroyer didn’t solicit Beijing’s permission for entering the waters and was subsequently intercepted by the Chinese Navy, with China’s Foreign Ministry accusing the US of violating “sovereignty and security interests” as well as posing a “grave threat” to its forces stationed in the area.

“China is strongly dissatisfied with that and will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in a statement on Saturday. He also warned US forces against further “provocative moves” for the sake of“China-US relations and regional peace and stability.”

The spokesman added that China has “indisputable” control over the territory, which is also claimed by Taiwan (itself the subject of a sovereignty dispute with the mainland) and the Philippines.

China’s Defense ministry echoed Lu’s tone in a separate statement on Saturday, stressing that the military will step up vigilance against air and sea patrols to defend national and regional peace and stability.

The US and Chinese militaries have had frequent standoffs in the South China Sea. Despite Washington having no territorial claims in the area – unlike China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei – it has always stressed the necessity for freedom of navigation in the area and opposed China’s claims.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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