Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Scuffle in the South China Sea #1

The South China Sea is starting to become a flashpoint.  Well, it actually has been for some time, but the US has started to assert itself more and more as the Chinese start laying out the physical basis for their claims.  Namely, they are building islands through dredging up sand atop of reefs in the area.

It should be noted China pretty much claims the entirety of the South China Sea save to the 12 mile limits for the countries surrounding.  This is far past any reasonable - from the other countries and American POV - for China's territorial waters.  To have 'some' basis in international law for their claims, China has been building those artificial islands and placing personnel.  The theory being the Chinese new islands get the 12 mile limit and then the 200 mile economic exclusive zone.

As I said above, the other nations surrounding the South China Sea dispute China's claim, but lack the real ability to dispute their actions.  The US does have that ability and had already started to do so.

Previously, the US flew an antisubmarine patrol plane near the disputed islands.  They brought along a CNN reporter team so as to show how the Chinese responded.

The last 24 hours, the US sent a Burke class destroyer within 12 miles of one of the island bases.  The US made it clear it was considering this for a while and announced its intent yesterday.  The USS Lassen did, in fact, sail within those 12 miles.

Chinese warships threatened the USS Lassen.

China's foreign minister even summoned the US ambassador.

The Chinese reiterated their anger and apparently have named the artificial islands the Nanshan Islands.  I think Fiery Cross Reef sounds better though not that it matters.

We shall see what happens.

Oh!  As part of their agreement on behavior in the South China Sea, the Americans and Chinese have agreed to NOT flip each other off or point at each other with the middle finger.  o.O

However, in a meta comment, the Scuffle posts will follow in the vein of the Ukraine War Update and Russia's Most Syrian Adventure posts.  It will probably NOT be posted as often.  This is a slow fuse rather than an explosion.  However, it's something folks ought to be paying attention to.

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