Navy Restricted on FON, S. China Sea

The United States Navy has yet to send a ship within 12 miles of any disputed islands in the South China Sea under President Donald Trump.

Although Trump said during his presidential campaign that former President Barack Obama had been weak defending international waters from China, he has yet to increase Navy patrols in the region to cut off the country’s access to the artificial islands.

Image result for china disputed islands BusinessInsider

In an interview with The New York Times in March of last year, Trump said those islands built by China were “a military fortress, the likes of which perhaps the world has not seen.”

“Amazing, actually,” he added. “They do that at will because they have no respect for our president and they have no respect for our country.”

Freedom of navigation operations, known as Fonops, have not increased under Trump despite “all of the language, combined with the fact that the Republican foreign policy establishment had been critical of Obama for not carrying out enough Fonops, means there was a wide expectation that Trump would put down a marker early,” Kissinger Institute director Robert Daly told the Times.

“And that hasn’t happened.”

Upon entering office, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called China’s island-building “akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea,” and that Trump’s administration was “going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops” and, “second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

Anonymous Defense Department officials told the Times that Pacific Command asked for a naval excursion inside 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal to show Beijing that island-building is a red line.

The officials added that this appeared in-line with the Trump administration’s wishes, though they also said that Defense Secretary James Mattis and Pentagon officials are reviewing the effects of these excursions on national security policy.

*** Image result for china disputed islands  Freedom of Navigation Fact Sheet found here.

China’s claim to nearly 90 percent of the South China Sea based on “historical discovery” — a claim largely invalidated by an international tribunal that China ignored last year — has led to boat ramming, arrests and other low-level clashes between China and neighboring nations.

International officials and analysts have voiced repeated concerns that overreaction by any one party could result in a conflict that threatens peace in the region and the global economy.

“We have rebuilt China, and yet they will go in the South China Sea and build a military fortress the likes of which perhaps the world has not seen,” Trump said during a campaign interview last year. “Amazing, actually. They do that, and they do that at will because they have no respect for our president and they have no respect for our country.”

The Navy routinely sends its ships, most often those based with the 7th Fleet in Japan, on regular patrols through the South China Sea’s international waters. However, the White House didn’t approve FON operations, which challenge violations of international norms, for nearly three years in the South China Sea.

In October 2015, the USS Lassen transited within 12 miles of Subi Reef amid Chinese objections. As of 2012, Subi Reef was naturally sea bottom and therefore does not generate territorial waters under international law, despite Chinese claims.

Subi Reef is now roughly the size of Pearl Harbor, according to satellite imagery posted by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.

The Navy conducted more FON operations in 2016, with the last coming in October.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled a policy tougher than the Obama administration’s was on the way during his January confirmation hearing.

Lawmakers asked Tillerson what should be done about China’s artificial islands, which include runways long enough for its military aircraft, radar, deep harbors and self-propelled artillery. More here.

Posted in China, China aggression, Citizens Duty, Department of Defense, Failed foreign policy, Military, The Denise Simon Experience, Trump Administration, UN United Nations Fraud Corruption.

Denise Simon