onsdag 24. februar 2021

Pressure mounts on Beijing in the South China Sea

In the latest sign of continuity in US policy in Asia, the newly-inaugurated Biden administration is toughening its stance on Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. In its latest Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea, the Pentagon deployed the guided-missile destroyer USS Russell well into the 12 nautical mile zone around the Chinese-claimed islands in the Spratlys.

Only weeks earlier, another US warship, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John McCain, conducted a similar operation in the Paracel Islands, which is contested by China and Vietnam. The Biden administration also oversaw the Pentagon’s first dual-carrier operation this year, featuring drills by the Nimitzand Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Groups in the area.