The Arbitration Court at The Hague has handed down its ruling, but China has said it refuses to honor and accept the decision when it comes to the territorial dispute in the South China Sea versus the Philippines.
In response to the ruling, the U.S. has chosen not to outwardly take sides, but has said it supports the rule of law. Now, the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations has announced he will pay China a visit.
Tensions have been high between the U.S. and China when it comes to matters concerning the South China Sea. At one point, China criticized the U.S. with regards to several freedom of navigation exercises it has conducted along the disputed waters.
In response, President Barack Obama insisted that such exercises will continue despite Chinese ire.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned China that its recent aggressive actions in the disputed territories may lead to them erecting a “Great Wall of self-isolation.”
To add to that, Secretary of State John Kerry also warned China against putting up an ADIZ or Air Identification Zone in the South China Sea. Through it all, China has been adamant about defending its actions and behavior.
Amidst tensions and several military incidents with China along the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy has announced that Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson shall be making a three-day visit to China starting July 17.
During this visit, he shall meet with People’s Liberation Army (Navy) (PLA(N)) commander Adm. Wu Shengli. This visit is said to be Richardson’s first to China as a CNO. This will also be the first time that he will meet Wu in person. Since last year, the two men have only spoken via video teleconference.
“These are important times for our two navies and for maritime forces throughout the region. As we seek to learn from each other, there is no substitute for these types of face-to-face meeting,” explained Richardson. The U.S. Navy said that among the topics that will be discussed during the visit are the ongoing Rim of the Pacific exercise along with the South China Sea.
At the same time, Richardson will take time to visit the PLA(N) headquarters to meet with senior Chinese defense officials. He is scheduled to visit the Chinese Navy’s submarine academy and tour the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (CV-16).