It’s a war between two super world powers as the United States continues to challenge Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. The West has decided to conduct additional drills in the disputed region as a means to counter what Beijing is supposedly causing because of its territorial ambitions.
Things are not letting up in the South China Sea as another US official accused China of igniting further tensions in the region thanks to its land reclamation and militarization activities. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed during a visit to Vietnam that Washington will be maintaining its activities and playing a constructive role to its allies in the region. He did confirm though that the US is not planning to set up more bases for its troops.
“United States and Vietnam are sharing interest in maintaining peace and stability in the region, so is China,” Reuters quoted Blinken during his speech at a Hanoi university.
“But its massive land reclamation projects in the South China Sea and the increasing militarization of these outposts fuels regional tension and raises serious questions about China’s intention,” added Blinked. Furthermore, he also advocated that China and other nations respect the decision (once made) of international arbitration court. The Philippines previously filed the case which threatens to affect China’s claims in the South China Sea.
However, while the United States is not looking forward to set up more bases, it appears that the country will not stop at conducting military drills in the region. In a report by The Diplomat, the US apparently also conducted a trilateral naval drill with Japan and Australia. This comes right after its joint exercise with Indonesia. As reported previously, the United States, Japan and Australia were among the participants of the Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo (MNEK 2016). This is the second version of the drills that Indonesia started hosting in 2014. U.S. Navy’s Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC) said in a statement that the guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) participated in a trilateral exercises – joining ships under the the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in the Java Sea starting April 17 to April 19.
“The exercise was an excellent learning experience,” explained Cmdr. Sean Grunwell, commanding officer of Stockdale. “You can’t simulate the challenges of working with units you don’t operate with on a regular basis, and it has provided invaluable training for everyone involved.”