Ever since the communists seized power in China, they have been in an expansionist mode. They captured Tibet and occupied vast tracts of Indian land in Aksai Chin. They tried to conquer Korea but had to settle for a cease-fire. One is reminded of a statement by Jawaharlal Nehru the Indian leader who stated that historically a strong China has always been an expansionist China.
China now claims the entire South China Sea and despite warnings from Obama the Chinese have continued their#military build up. The peripheral powers the Philipines and Vietnam are cowed and the only country that can oppose China is the USA. A reference was made by the Philippines to the International Court and a Tribunal rejected China’s claim to the South China sea. It also pulled up China for wanton destruction of the ecology of the area. In a belligerent show of force, China has rejected the verdict of the tribunal, throwing the entire area in turmoil. The USA is reduced to the role of a bystander.
China has now gone one step further and along with the Russian navy will hold sea exercises in the disputed sea. The exercise is slated to commence on 12 September and will last 8 days. This exercise is in the teeth of the opposition of the USA and shows China has scant respect for international institutions and world opinion.
The Russian ships will be from their Far Eastern fleet based at Vladivostok while the Chinese flotilla will be from the Nanhai fleet (South China Sea.) The exercise will cover all aspects of maritime security as well as air-sea rescue and offensive action and will involve surface ships and submarines. Thankfully no aircraft carrier will be used as both the navy’s have none operational in the area. The Chinese aircraft carrier is a training ship, while the lone Russian carrier is away in the Black Sea. Aircraft will be used and as the Chinese have built airfields in the Spratly islands and they will come in handy
Dilemma for USA
The naval drills are the first by China and Russia in the area and though Beijing has said they are not directed against any nation, yet the facts speak otherwise. The South China sea is a mineral rich area and one of the world’s busiest sea lanes with almost $5 trillion worth of trade passing through the sea. The Chinese claim over the area strengthened in validity when the Russian Leader Vladimir Putin supported China. The USA has its hands full in countering the Russo- Chinese action and one wonders;what will be the next step?