The Trump administration this week dispatched Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to send an unequivocal message that China cannot use its military or economic might to coerce other South China Sea claimants.
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Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion surveillance plane in international airspace southeast of Hong Kong last Wednesday, less than a week after a similar intercept of a WC-135 Constant Phoenix radiation detection aircraft.
This week, the United States navy carried out what may be its first Freedom of Navigation Exercises (FONOPs) in the South China Sea since President Trump took office, just a few days after a close encounter between American and Chinese aircraft.
The Dewey challenged China’s claim of “indisputable sovereignty” to Mischief Reef as one of the features in the South China Sea and China’s claim of “adjacent” waters surrounding it.
The US Conducts the First South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Operation of the Trump Era, But It Was “Off the Record”
The Trump administration may have authorized its first "freedom of navigation operation" in the South China Sea, but no U.S. government officials will go on the record to provide details.
This week, American officials sought to allay concerns that Washington is failing to address China’s activities in the South China Sea, which have showed no signs of slowing.
The annual ASEAN Summit wrapped up in Manila on Saturday, and the official closing statement notably failed to mention the UNCLOS arbitration ruling last year or China’s ongoing land reclamation and militarization activities in the South China Sea.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces General Eduardo Año made an unexpected visit last Friday to the disputed South China Sea island of Pag-Asa, also known as Thitu.
Vice President Mike Pence began a ten-day Asia-Pacific tour this week, with stops in South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia.
Last Friday, as Congress and the international community reacted to U.S. airstrikes in Syria, President Donald Trump completed his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.