US Backs Away From WW3 In South China Sea

US Backs Away From WW3 In South China Sea
White House Tom Lohdan / Flickr CC BY 2.0

After insisting freedom of navigation over South China Sea and arming its Asian allies, the United States has suddenly showed signs that it is retreating from a possible World War 3 against China.


Unnamed military officials divulged that advanced Chinese warships can easily obliterate aging U.S. vessels. Hence, in an actual confrontation between the two nations, U.S. would suffer more casualties; worse, it could face defeat.

Three Pentagon officials who have spoken with Reuters on condition of anonymity said President Barack Obama did not approve another U.S. Navy patrol within 12 nautical miles of South China Sea. The officials said Mr. Obama is now avoiding raising tensions with China and would like to focus on the fight against the ISIS. Prospect of conducting a sail-by in the region by January is still unsure, the sources said. Pentagon spokesman Bill Urban refused to comment on future Navy activities, Reuters reported.

Other military officers who have spoken with Foreign Policy said Chinese warships can easily shoot down or outmaneuver the aging harpoon of the U.S. Navy. The report noted indeed that China has an impressive number anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles than the U.S. Navy. Furthermore, China’s military have more effective missiles, with range from 100 up to 900 nautical miles than U.S.

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A confrontation in the South China Sea between China and the U.S. could see the US Navy being pinned down or locked out, the report said. Gone are the days when America can assume that it will win war against China over the contested region.

Victory in a possible WW3 that can erupt in South China Sea may seem far-fetched with the present conditions of U.S. war vessels and other weapons, Foreign Policy noted. The U.S. is “going to lose ships and jets and people. Our military establishment came to this realization reluctantly. The challenge is as much conceptual as it is hardware related,” David Ochmanek, a former senior Pentagon official, told Foreign Policy.

Nevertheless, Lt. Robert Myers, a navy spokesman, offered hopes that the retreat from a possible World War 3 with China is only for a given time. The Navy had been pushing to arm its warships with newer anti-ship missiles with longer ranges. It had also pushed modification of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile and started production of a Norwegian naval strike missile and rigging an SM-6 air defense missile.

Vice Adm Thomas Rowden, U.S. Navy’s Surface Force Commander, said Defense is ready to allot the needed budget to add more offensive weapons across the fleet. Rowden was optimistic that U.S. Navy can deploy new missiles and advanced weaponry in the coming years.

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  • Tony

    While the unresolved issues of Taiwan, the Diaoyu Islands, South Tibet, the Indian border and the remaining issues around the South China Sea are high on the immediate agenda of the PLA; the eventual removal of the United States beyond the second island chain is a prerequisite to resolving matters to the PLA’s satisfaction. One of the best expositions of this scenario is the “Aztlan Protocol” by Alderic Au, where the absence of an effective American strategy and purpose is exactly what leads to China’s Finlandization of ASEAN and eventual hegemony in Asia.
    Since its creation in 1949 the People’s Republic has increased its territory by fifty percent, forcibly incorporating Xinjiang, Tibet, the Paracel Islands and much of the South China Sea; a ferocious appetite worthy of one other historical comparison, the United States.
    China is not the first rising power to claim their own version of Manifest Destiny nor will it be the last. Left unchallenged at some point in the next ten years we may expect a ‘doctrine’ and it will not be Monroe’s.