China Just Confirmed US Fears About Threats to Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea

from – AEI.org – by Michael Mazza

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon was considering beefed up options for responding to China’s island building in the South China Sea. Last night, a CNN crew was brought along on a US Navy P8-A patrol over the Spratly Islands, with Jim Sciutto reporting that the Chinese navy warned off the American plane eight separate times.

It’s a little unclear whether the P8-A flew within 12 nautical miles of the reefs-cum-islands, which would be within what China considers to be sovereign airspace. The nature of the Chinese warnings to the Navy aircraft suggests the P8 did not do so, or at least not initially: “Foreign military aircraft. This is Chinese navy. You are approaching our military alert zone. Leave immediately.”

Had the P8 entered China’s claimed territorial airspace, the Chinese sailor likely would have been clear in letting the Americans know it. At the very least, the P8 would, presumably, already have been within the “military alert zone” (whatever that is) rather than just approaching it.

Why is this important? Because it suggests that the Chinese navy attempted to deny the US navy access to non-territorial skies, i.e. international airspace. (To be clear, from a US perspective, airspace over former reefs is also international.)

There has been much speculation regarding whether China intends to establish an air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, in the South China Sea, as it did in the East China Sea in 2013. In some ways, that debate is beside the point. Since at least 2001, Beijing has been attempting to deny free use of the waters and skies above them to American and other’s ships and aircraft.

Of course, Beijing has asserted repeatedly that it wishes to uphold freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. One three-minute CNN segment has put the lie to that claim.

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4 years ago

…and by the way, wasn’t there a reference in the bible to a nation that will field a 200 million man army to defeat the new cit?

4 years ago

Unfortunately, China will rule the world because of their tremendous population and their disregard for human life. China has a country of over 1 billion people! They would have no problem fielding a 200 million man Army. Match that against our country of 325 million people and an Army of (et al) of less that one million. China is very secret about their nukes but you can be they have far more that we think they do. Also, they have vowed to build a Navy of over 10,000 ships! Compare that to our Navy of less than 1000. China was a very poor country under its Communist system but then, at our urging, it opened it’s markets and infused capitalism. That is what made them the number one economy in the world —- that and the fact that Americans bought tons of Chinese stuff which in effect transferred our wealth to China which is using it to rule us. The future will be China’s. Americans woke up too late.

Lee S
4 years ago
Reply to  skip

Back in the 1950’s when I was in elementary school someone in prominence warned that China was the country to be watched as it would end up with china vs the rest of the world. I don’t remember who it was but I’ve always remembered that and see that he may well have been able to see ahead to what we’re getting close to facing.

Gilbert Doan.
4 years ago

I was going to reply – but Paul E did it for me.

4 years ago

When a nation projects an image of weakness and an unwillingness to stand up for its allies or international laws, as the United States has repeatedly done so in the eight years of the Obama administration, then obviously other nations are going to seek to take advantage of that weakness to benefit themselves. China’s leader, under these conditions, is merely taking advantage of a weak and feckless American leader, Obama, to see how China can expand its influence and power in this region of the world.

Both China and Russia know that Obama won’t stand up to pretty much anything they do, short of a direct invasion of the United States, which neither country would ever attempt. So taking this territory in international waters and so close to an American ally that Obama has been much alienated, isn’t really that much of a risk. Obama is leaving one hell of a mess for Trump to try and clean up, both domestically and internationally. Then again, this what you get when the American people voted not once, but twice to put a Socialist like Obama in to office as the President. It’s going to take a long time to clean up the damage Obama has left behind.

4 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Well said PaulE and 100% correct

God Bless America

Ivan Berry
4 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Right, PauleE. Bullies pick on wusses. Always have; always will. And our outgoing President has always been a wuss when facing off against any forign leader with status. It’s only when dealing with Americans that he asserts himself. Thinks he’s a god or something, while actually only being God damned.

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