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WAR ? China vs American Warships Face of in South China Sea US Navy proposing major show of force to warn China

South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Karimata and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around 3,500,000 square kilometres.   www.natgeowild.us
Area3.5 million km²
Did you knowFishing is big business in the South China Sea.


Top stories

US navy plans major show of strength in South China Sea
South China Morning Post
6 hours ago

US Navy proposing major show of force to warn China
3 hours ago

US Vice President Pence set to inflame China tensions: 'We will not be intimidated'

 A grainy black-and-white photograph shows two warships approaching each other in open sea.

Leaked US Navy images have captured the dramatic moment a Chinese warship came perilously close to an American destroyer as it conducted a "freedom of navigation" patrol in the South China Sea.

The series of pictures first published by the GCaptain blog show the USS Decatur within 40 metres of a People's Liberation Army Navy destroyer on Sunday morning.

The Pentagon has accused the Chinese ship of conducting an "unsafe and unprofessional manoeuvre" near USS Decatur as it sailed near Gaven Reefs, which are claimed by Beijing.

"A [People's Republic of China] Luyang destroyer approached USS Decatur in an unsafe and unprofessional manoeuvre in the vicinity of Gaven Reef in the South China Sea," said Captain Charles Brown, a spokesman for US Pacific Fleet, in a statement.

Captain Brown said the Chinese warship, "conducted a series of increasingly aggressive manoeuvres accompanied by warnings for the Decatur to depart the area".





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 to demonstrate the US is prepared to deter and counter their military actions, according to several US defense officials.

The draft proposal from the Navy is recommending the US Pacific Fleet conduct a series of operations during a single week in November.
The goal 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.
Photos show how close Chinese warship came to colliding with US destroyer
Photos show how close Chinese warship came to colliding with US destroyer
The plan suggests sailing ships and flying aircraft near China's territorial waters in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait in freedom of navigation operations to demonstrate the right of free passage in international waters. The proposal means US ships and aircraft would operate close to Chinese forces.
The defense officials emphasized that there is no intention to engage in combat with the Chinese.
While the US military carries out these types of operations throughout the year, the proposal being circulated calls for several missions to take place in just a few days.
While one official described it as "just an idea," it is far enough along that there is a classified operational name attached to the proposal, which is circulating at several levels of the military. Officials would not confirm the name of the potential operation.
Chinese warship in 'unsafe' encounter with US destroyer, amid rising US-China tensions
Chinese warship in 'unsafe' encounter with US destroyer, amid rising US-China tensions
US officials acknowledge China often see these missions as provocations. They also acknowledge that the intelligence community would have to weigh in with any concerns about reactions from China.
The Pentagon refused to acknowledge or comment on the proposal. "As the secretary of defense has said on countless occasions, we don't comment on future operations of any kind," said Lt. Col. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman.
The US Pacific Fleet also refused to comment.
Word of the US Navy's proposal comes just days after what the Pentagon has called an "unsafe" encounter between US and Chinese destroyers in the South China Sea.
The US Navy said the Chinese destroyer Lanzhou came within 45 yards (41 meters) of the USS Decatur while the US ship was on a "freedom of navigation" operation near Chinese-claimed islands.
The 8,000-ton destroyers could have been seconds away from colliding, said Carl Schuster, a former US Navy officer who spent 12 years at sea.
The destroyer encounter capped weeks of heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington.
Late last week, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis pulled out of a planned visit to Beijing later in October, two US officials told CNN.
Mattis had originally planned to visit the Chinese capital to meet with senior Chinese officials to discuss security issues. The last-minute cancellation of the unannounced trip has not been publicly confirmed by the Pentagon.
Earlier in the week, the Chinese government canceled a port visit to Hong Kong by the USS Wasp, a US Navy amphibious assault ship.
Following the cancellation, the US Navy released a series of photos showing troops aboard the 40,000-ton Wasp taking part in a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea.
Also last week, the US flew B-52 bombers over the South China Sea and East China Sea.
Earlier in September, Washington levied sanctions against the Chinese military over its purchase of weapons from Russia, including Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.
Meanwhile, on the economic front, the US and Chinese governments have been levying tariffs on an expanding number of each country's exports.
At a press conference last week, US President Donald Trump said his often-mentioned friendship with Chinese leader Xi Jinping may have come to an end.
"He may not be a friend of mine anymore. But I think he probably respects me," Trump said.
While the proposal for the week-long exercises is being driven by the US military, carrying it out it during November when US mid-term elections are taking place could have political implications for the Trump administration if the US troops are challenged by China.

The proposal for now focuses on a series of operations in the Pacific, near China, but they could stretch as far as the west coast of South America where China is increasing its investments. If the initial proposal is approved, the missions could be expanded to Russian territory.
Defense Secretary James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will take into account the diplomatic implications of each mission, officials said. They will also have to consider the risk of suddenly moving forces to new areas away from planned deployments, and whether potential threat areas are being left uncovered by the military, especially in the Middle East.
At this time the proposal is still being considered within the military.
The proposal has grown out of the Pentagon's National Defense Strategy which focuses on the growing military challenge posed by the Chinese and Russian militaries. Mattis has urged US commanders to come up with innovative and unexpected ways to deploy forces.
Currently the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman is taking the unexpected step of operating in the North Sea -- sending a signal to Russia that US military forces can extend their reach to that area.


US 'violated basic norms', China says

In a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry described the US as taking "provocative actions" in the South China Sea, arguing it had "indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters".

"[The US] has, under the pretext of 'navigation and overflight freedom', violated basic norms governing international relations, threatened China's sovereignty and security, and disturbed regional peace and stability," the statement said.

"China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to that.

"We strongly urge the US side to immediately correct its mistake and stop such provocative actions to avoid undermining China-US relations and regional peace and stability.

"The Chinese side will take all necessary measures to safeguard its national sovereignty and security."

Retired Royal Australian Navy Commodore Richard Menhinick said the photos appear to show the Chinese were not acting in accordance with the International Law of the Sea.

"My guess is that the Chinese vessel positioned itself ahead of the American Ship and then slowed down," Mr Menhinick told the ABC.

"It's certainly uncomfortable, it's certainly not what's supposed to happen under the Law of the Sea.

"The Law of the Sea is designed to have a 'give way' vessel and another vessel, and not to end up in situations like that."

In a statement, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne described the reports as "concerning".

"We would view any use of intimidation or aggressive tactics as destabilising and potentially dangerous," Mr Pyne said.

"Australia has consistently expressed concern over ongoing militarisation of the South China Sea and we continue to urge all claimants to refrain from unilateral actions that would increase tension in the region."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would strive to provide a calming influence in the region.

"Australia will continue to conduct itself around these issues in a very modest, and very constructive way … in a way that would seek to deescalate any issues, rather than escalate," he told reporters in Perth.

Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Labor supported the Government's stance.

"We don't want to see escalation, we don't want to see tension in the South China Sea, we certainly don't want to see risky behaviour," Senator Wong said.

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