China Scrambles Fighter Jets when US Destroyer Sails by Disputed Reef
In a sort of “I Dare Ya” move by the United States on Tuesday, the USS William P. Lawrence sailed within 12 nautical miles of China’s disputed Fiery Cross Reef. In response, China scrambled two fighter jets and three warships, which shadowed the US vessel, telling it to leave.
China denounced the move as an “illegal threat to peace.”
Freedom of navigation in the high seas
The Pentagon stated that the ship was meant to send a message to China, Taiwan, and Vietnam over their claims to the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The U.S. believes that their intent is to restrict navigation rights in the region.
And the United States will have none of that. So…they deliberately poked the leopard to make sure it doesn’t happen.
“These excessive maritime claims are inconsistent with international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention in that they purport to restrict the navigation rights that the United States and all states are entitled to exercise.” Bill Urban, DoD spokesman
China, for its part, claimed that the US illegally entered Chinese territorial waters. They released a statement which nearly shouted that because we’re so aggressive, their militarization of those islands was “necessary.”
“[The US patrol] again proves that China’s construction of defensive facilities on the relevant reefs in the Nansha [Spratly] Islands is completely reasonable and totally necessary.”
With Russian Planes playing chicken with US Ships, and now Chinese fighters and warships hanging around, it appears the US Navy is square in the gun sights of nations who know that we have a weak leader.
The Philippines offered the US five military airfields, two naval bases and a jungle training camp for the US presence there, with five of those on a rotational basis. The tension in the Asia-Pacific region has been high in recent weeks, primarily due to China and North Korea.
“If the world’s most powerful navy cannot sail where international law permits, then what happens to the ships, the navy, of a smaller country?” Daniel R. Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs