From AP:

WASHINGTON – The Defense Department charged Monday that five Chinese ships shadowed and maneuvered dangerously close to a U.S. Navy vessel in an apparent attempt to harass the American crew.

Obama administration defense officials said the incident Sunday followed several days of “increasingly aggressive” acts by Chinese ships in the region. U.S. officials said a protest was to be delivered to Beijing’s military attache at a Pentagon meeting Monday.

The USNS Impeccable sprayed one ship with water from fire hoses to force it away. Despite the force of the water, Chinese crew members stripped to their underwear and continued closing within 25 feet, the department said.

“On March 8, 2009, five Chinese vessels shadowed and aggressively maneuvered in dangerously close proximity to USNS Impeccable, in an apparent coordinated effort to harass the U.S. ocean surveillance ship while it was conducting routine operations in international waters,” the Pentagon statement said.

The Chinese ships included a Chinese Navy intelligence collection ship, a Bureau of Maritime Fisheries Patrol Vessel, a State Oceanographic Administration patrol vessel, and two small Chinese-flagged trawlers, officials said.

“The Chinese vessels surrounded USNS Impeccable, two of them closing to within 50 feet, waving Chinese flags and telling Impeccable to leave the area,” defense officials said in the statement.

“Because the vessels’ intentions were not known, Impeccable sprayed its fire hoses at one of the vessels in order to protect itself,” the Defense statement said. “The Chinese crew members disrobed to their underwear and continued closing to within 25 feet.”

Emergency stop
Impeccable crew radioed to tell the Chinese ships that it was leaving the area and requested a safe path to navigate, the Pentagon said.

But shortly afterward, two of the Chinese ships stopped directly ahead of the Impeccable, forcing it to an emergency stop in order to avoid collision because the Chinese had dropped pieces of wood in the water directly in front of Impeccable’s path, the Pentagon said.

Defense officials said the incident took place in international waters in the South China Sea, about 75 miles south of Hainan Island.

“The unprofessional maneuvers by Chinese vessels violated the requirement under international law to operate with due regard for the rights and safety of other lawful users of the ocean,” said Marine Maj. Stewart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman.

“We expect Chinese ships to act responsibly and refrain from provocative activities that could lead to miscalculation or a collision at sea, endangering vessels and the lives of U.S. and Chinese mariners,” Upton added.

Military-to-military consultations resumed
The incident came just a week after China and the U.S. resumed military-to-military consultations following a five-month suspension over American arms sales to Taiwan.

It also comes as Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is due in Washington this week to meet with U.S. officials.

And it brings to mind the first foreign policy crisis that former President George Bush suffered with Beijing shortly after he took office — China’s forced landing of a spy plane and seizure of the crew in April of 2001.

The Pentagon said the incident came after several other incidents involving the Impeccable and another U.S. vessel Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

It described those as the following:

  • On Wednesday, a Chinese Bureau of Fisheries Patrol vessel used a high-intensity spotlight to illuminate the entire length of the ocean surveillance ship USNS Victorious several times as it was operating in the Yellow Sea, about 125 nautical miles from China’s coast, the Pentagon said, adding that the Chinese ship Victorious’ bow at a range of about 1400 yards in darkness without notice or warning. The next day, a Chinese Y-12 maritime surveillance aircraft conducted 12 fly-bys of Victorious at an altitude of about 400 feet and a range of 500 yards.
  • On Thursday, a Chinese frigate approached USNS Impeccable without warning and crossed its bow at a range of approximately 100 yards, the Pentagon said. This was followed less than two hours later by a Chinese Y-12 aircraft conducting 11 fly-bys of Impeccable at an altitude of 600 feet and a range from 100-300 feet. The frigate then crossed Impeccable’s bow yet again, this time at a range of approximately 400-500 yards without rendering courtesy or notice of her intentions.
  • On Saturday, a Chinese intelligence collection ship challenged USNS Impeccable over bridge-to-bridge radio, calling her operations illegal and directing Impeccable to leave the area or “suffer the consequences.”

And from China recently via Reuters:

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s plans to add aircraft carriers to its fleet and an historic long-distance mission by its navy are aimed only at protecting the country and its trade interests, senior officials were quoted as saying on Monday. A long coastline, and high dependence on seaborne trade, meant China needed to have a strong presence at sea, but its growing confidence should not be misread as a “China threat”, the Navy’s deputy chief of staff told the official China Daily.

“Even when the navy has its aircraft carriers one day, our national defence strategy will remain purely defensive,” Major General Zhang Deshun told the paper in a story splashed across its front page.

Beijing has been keen to emphasise its case that its growing economic and political might is not a threat to other nations, even downgrading a doctrine of “peaceful rise” to “peaceful development” over worries the former might sound aggressive. But long-term plans to add an aircraft carrier to its fleet, and the unprecedented deployment of its navy to fight pirates in waters off Somalia late last year have sparked discussion in the West about Beijing’s ultimate goals.

Zhang said any worries were misplaced.




Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Foreign Policy, Maritime Security


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  • Byron

    “Zhang said any worries were misplaced”

    Sure, just trust me, here, pull my finger!

  • UltimaRatioReg

    The unfortunate part is the naive, almost child-like optimism with which we think we can engage Red China (they’re still RED) in various efforts that may or may not be in China’s interests. The Mar 09 PROCEEDINGS article is typical, but such attitudes also pervade at the General/Flag ranks, either because of our short-sightedness or because such an approach is the “party line”.

  • Alan Tomlinson

    It certainly seems that the PLAN is sensitive about something-is there something in the water that they are hiding or are they unhappy about detailed hydrographic maps of the area being made? How would the US react if they did the same in similarly local US waters? I have no illusions whatsoever about “friendliness” here, but how would the US react in similar but reversed circumstances?

    Cheers,

    Alan Tomlinson

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Alan,

    Good question. But I bet the US Navy would not send a FFG-7 to cut 100 meters across the bow of the foreign vessel, not in international waters, let alone 125 nm from our shores.

  • FOD Detector

    RED China! The RED menace! What’s next? Fluoridation in our drinking water?

    Hate to be the one breaking it to you, this type of nonsense happens more frequently than you know.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Gee thanks FOD.

    Yes, fluoridated drinking water, Mandrake. RED not in the sense of a worldwide postwar commie conspiracy, but in the sense that their approach and philosophy to how and where they act on their perceived national self-interest is far different from the semi-benign internationalism we seem to be assigning them of late.

  • FDNF Squid

    Eight years ago (April-May) I was on a CG that was surged to muscle up the Yellow Sea survey by the USNS Bowditch after it was itimidated off the Chinese coast. Our shadow was a Fisheries Patrol Vessel (and the occasional Y8 and Panda overflight) but after a few days the biggest danger was the fog.

    It seems the PLA-N response has finally matched the political rhetoric.

  • http://www.amiinter.com AMIGuy

    The PRC claim the entire South China Sea. This claim overlaps those of the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia and have been the cause of much consternation.

    Many have anticipated that if not settled, these would result in China’s trying to interfere with the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

    http://www.ndu.edu/inss/Strforum/SF_60/forum60.html

    AMIGuy

  • R. M. Hayball

    Nothing new here, for the benefit of our younger readers, an old
    salt’s
    TRANSLATION:

    American naval auxiliary THIS IS China Fisheries Enforcement Vessel crossing your bow NOW NOW NOW I have flash traffic for POTUS and and the US Navy from Central Committee CP PRC BREAK message follows: Testing Testing Testing OUT.

    This is USNS IMPECCABLE ROGER BREAK outbound now OUT.

    OPINION:

    Take it from an old TAGOS Chief Mate, IMPECCABLE responded to the provocation in accordance with her Repel Boarders Bill (phase one) and her standing force protection guidance. With a tiny civilian crew and limited self defense capability, she put up her tiny dukes and yelled for her big brothers while bobbing and weaving as best her little legs would let her.

    You did well, baby sister, just like Mama Navy told you to do.

    Next time she or her sisters go out to play in that park, it might not be a bad thing if some of her big brothers, cousins, and the grown ups (Arleigh B. or one of his kin, one or two of the Perry boys, Uncle Chester, Aunt Aegis, and a couple of the tough girls from the Fish side of the family) are sitting on the bench at the edge of the wading pool, just watching intently, not saying anything and not smiling…if you get my drift.

  • pk

    well put mr hayball, well put.

    C

  • pk

    by the way,

    for the litoral combat bunch this is what “blue water navy” is all about.

    C

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Arleigh B. or one of his kin, one or two of the Perry boys, Uncle Chester, Aunt Aegis, and a couple of the tough girls from the Fish side of the family) are sitting on the bench at the edge of the wading pool, just watching intently, not saying anything and not smiling…if you get my drift.”

    Hardly the things of thousand-ship navies, and global maritime partnerships, and cooperative strategies…

  • sid

    Wouldn’t surprise me one bit that the Impeccable was operating the LFA.

    The Chinese wanted to disrupt the operation…and steal some pieces if they could. Porbably worth looking a little silly if they could come home with some hardware.

    Thats my $.02

    Just goes to show that Capt. Hughes’ dictum, “Dangerous Machines are sure to attract enemy (F)ire,” is a sound one…

    At any rate, what the Impeccable was doing was a MILITARY MISSION, and not a civil Day Job.

    Its time to put all this Business School BS to rest and start to rebuild a Navy worthy of Battle E’s instead of trying to create an “Employer of Choice” worthy of a JD Power Award in Cushy Rides.

  • JEB

    Well put, Hayball. I rode shotgun in a CG for a couple of these missions in FDNF, but never saw anything like this (maybe because the Reds didn’t want to tangle w. a CG!).

    I’d offer that this is an example of “hybrid warfare” at sea, with non-military and non-governmental assets being used as instruments of state power.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    JEB,

    “Hybrid Warfare”. You took the words right out of my mouth. Though I would question just what vessels/assets in China that would take part in this would be described as “non-governmental”. This is the “admixture of other means” from our friend KVC. Who got it from Sun Tsu.

  • pk

    that is without a doubt the ugliest ship inflicted on water by man or beast.

    C

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “that is without a doubt the ugliest ship inflicted on water by man or beast.”

    That would be DDG-1000 IMHO….

  • Byron

    URR: Concur.

  • pk

    but ddg1000 is not wet yet.
    C

  • Larry Schumacher

    SLEP the Figs

  • UltimaRatioReg

    pk, you gots a point there. And Larry may have a slogan akin to “save the whales”. Good for bumper stickers, and t-shirts, and decals….

  • Byron

    URR, good to have a back up plan when your new construction plan goes to hell.

    SLEP the Figs

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Byron,

    A-MEN. Otherwise the choice is between a SLEP/FRAM FFG-7 and a whole lotta empty ocean.

  • Larry Schumacher

    Actually URR we owe the catchy phrase “SLEP the FIGS” to Byron as well as “Tiffany Navy” and others perhaps not quite suitable to USNI blog. (although I personally enjoyed them immensely!) I first mentioned Sleping the Perrys several months ago. Service life extension is exactly what I wanted to see for the little warship that not only could but did. Byron has applied his considerable FFG7 experience to a proposal which he has outlined on CDRs Blog.

  • Matt Hayball

    For pk: ugly, Ugly, UGLY?! She’s gorgeous. She’s wet in a storm, stable, incredibly seaworthy in HEAVY seas and she does what she was built to do without fanfare or fuss. She’s a lady and I’ll thank you to address her as one. Hrrmph!

    She is not a warship, so she needs somebody big and mean and built to get really Fugly (fighting ugly)to take a familial interest in her welfare and honor in case the local bullies forget their manners.

    For UltimaRatioReg: Hardly the things..?
    Ya think? Opinion: Neither is the real world and its all too impartial oceans.

    For Sid: Opinion:
    If we choose to man naval auxiliaries with civilians we need to clearly understand their inherent capabilities and limitations.
    There is a Hayball in a grave overlooking Gallipoli (we do get around) because the Brits thought civilians could man minesweeps.
    One thing will lead to another.

    Impeccable’s Master and crew did the job they were hired to do, bravely and well. Professionals. Niether amateurs or dilettantes.
    They are what they are, “in peace and war”. The incident was not unprecedented and should have been expected and prepared for. Let us hope it was. The PLA-N acted as if they understood it was. Moves in opening gambits are pretty much scripted, if you know the game…

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Mr Hayball,

    Not sure anyone is impugning the conduct of the crew. I would not have wanted to be one of them at that juncture. Visions of PUEBLO and CDR Bucher and all. It would be like showing up for a bar fight in your pajamas and slippers….

    I, for one, am not the least bit chagrined by the mission of the vessel. Perfectly within keeping of international law. Though the status of civilians on board will eventually be a problem. Someone will make it so.

    But it is China who is the issue. I have been watching our response, and it is frankly found wanting. We lodged a protest. Next time we will lodge a protest louder. Maybe the third time we will use bold font. And when we embolden them (or someone else who’s watching) to seize a vessel, will we be as milquetoast?

    Forward presence. It requires hulls manned by sailors, with weapons on board that advertise the possibility of a kinetic solution. And NOT a mission for a critical multi-billion dollar high-tech capital unit.

    You are right. Well-scripted by PLA-N. They know the game. It doesn’t seem like we were even aware we were playing.

  • FOD Detector

    URR: Your response?

    I’m always amused by those who believe countries/groups/”someone else who’s watching” will be “emboldened” to seize a vessel/fluoridate our drinking water.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Lloyd Bucher was equally amused, I am sure.

  • sid

    Impeccable’s Master and crew did the job they were hired to do, bravely and well. Professionals. Niether amateurs or dilettantes.

    Hayball, nothing at all against the crew. While the concept of this ship made sense back in the days of Bluewater Boomer Hunting against an adversary that pretty much understood and behaved by a mutually agreed set of rules, pushing this mission into the littorals against actors who have a disdain for those old rules and us, is a mistake.

    And in cultural terms, there is simply a waning sense of “Battlemindedness” within the USN. That gives rise to the notion that such operations are routine because they always have been.

    Now, back to my favorite topic…

    Staying Power.

    How’s that Network holding up?

  • Byron

    Well, Sid, right now the network is transformational and complying with the six sigma model ship…

  • UltimaRatioReg

    sid,

    “And in cultural terms, there is simply a waning sense of “Battlemindedness” within the USN.”

    You have just identified the disease, doctor! Everything else is a symptom.

    The Navy self-admittedly does not think of itself as a warrior culture, and in fact frowns upon it. The Navy recruiting clip so proudly displayed at the NWC a couple of years ago gave the impression (as does the latest recruiting commercial) that fighting an enemy is about the last thing they would consider doing.

    This is also reflected in the HA/DR mission as a core Navy task. That mission should be, and always has been, incidental to forward presence. When such missions are considered on par with the more critical warfighting tasks, there is a dissolution of effort, resources, and assets from the infinitely more important missions.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    *Burma Shave*

    It is small wonder that the US Navy is struggling to define its view for the future, as the lack of “battlemindedness” described by sid reflects an ambiguity of identity of today’s Navy. The 1954 Huntington article and General Wilkerson’s comments ring true.

    “If a service does not possess a well-defined strategic concept, the public and political leaders will be confused as to the role of the service . . . and apathetic or hostile to the claims made by the service on the resources of society.” And specifically of the Navy, “What function do you perform which obligates society to assume responsibility for your maintenance?”

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Byron,

    “What function do you perform which obligates society to assume responsibility for your maintenance?”

    Your answer, then, is “We’re lean six sigma compliant and a JD Power Best Employer!”? I love it.

  • pk

    didn’t say it was nonfunctional.

    still ugly.

    C

  • pk

    this business of “waning battlemindedness” can get people killed.

    see the USS Stark for one example.

    C

  • R. M. Hayball

    Strategy has entered the conversation, like man entering the forest. Some seem to imply that I miss the point. I guess my ironic subtext has been a little too subtle.

    One would think that the report of history’s demise has been greatly exaggerated.

    I daresay some even believe that the defense of the republic imposes a permanent need to maintain a Navy of sizable battle worthy fleets, composed of a balanced inventory of well designed and maintained modern ships capable of being organized for the full spectrum on naval tasks, either independantly or in mutual support of each other, as directed by the Commander in Chief of the armed forces, including constant readiness for prompt and sustained execution of combat operations at sea and in support of amphibious and land combat, not to mention humanitarian assistance where and as necessary and able.

    Some might even decry the use of mercenary forces and non combatant civilian employees in direct or independent forward fleet support operations as ill considered; not to mention disparaging long term reliance upon a spectrum of allies of (widely) varied ability and reliability. They might be so rash as to label such policies false economies which will inevitably fail in the crucible of combat, with a high cost in blood and treasure.

    Such thinking is clearly out of step with the 21st century, or cost effective management principles. By jove, considering my baracles, I believe the shoe fits!

    OBTW, when did 75 miles out become “littoral”. Do littorals creep? What exactly is the meaning of “littoral” in terms of naval strategy in the modern world. I missed the dotted line on the chart when we entered littoral waters, is it the 100 fm curve or the 100 mile limit? Are the ridge lines of the Hindu Kush “littoral”?

    Will we find our want of frigates (tankers airborne and otherwise, the fleet train, corvettes, PG’s, all weapons and sensors on the ship rather than a seavan on the pier) graven upon sailors’ mothers’ hearts?

    Fraught questions all. Meanwhile, our sailors/mariners must do the best they can with what the Navy has for the unforeseeable future. To them, my thanks and admiration.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “the defense of the republic imposes a permanent need to maintain a Navy of sizable battle worthy fleets, composed of a balanced inventory of well designed and maintained modern ships capable of being organized for the full spectrum on naval tasks”

    That’s CRAZY talk!

  • R. M. Hayball

    sid:

    The last time I checked, the little red book said something about power growing out of the muzzle of a gun. TAGOSs have always been pushed forward, and don’t mount a gun or carry a gunner. IMO, the vessels that harassed her were chosen with care, they don’t obviously mount a gun either. Methinks this isn’t a about comparative throw weight, ship for ship.

    This is a test, it is not a drill. The unit being (gently) tested is the NCA, as foreseen by the prophet, er…, Vice President. For my choice of tactics (if I ran the zoo, which I don’t and won’t, see my original post. The response will be measured with a micrometer in Beijing.

    Interesting times.

  • R. M. Hayball

    URR: (may I call you URR?), I’m just a wild and crazy guy. My baby brother, formerly a rompin, stompin, full fleet SN of the line, now he is just off the chart. That many ex wives can’t be wrong (his, not mine. I’m still on number one, the 10).

  • sid

    TAGOSs have always been pushed forward, and don’t mount a gun or carry a gunner. IMO, the vessels that harassed her were chosen with care, they don’t obviously mount a gun either. Methinks this isn’t a about comparative throw weight, ship for ship.

    Agree on all points Hay.

    BTW…Wonder how the ASW picture is looking today south of Hainan?

    TAGOSs have always been pushed forward

    My point exactly …its always worked before…

  • UltimaRatioReg

    RM,

    Please, call me URR. I don’t mind being on a first-pseudonym basis. And you speak the truth, with this being a carefully calculated test, not any kind of mistake. And a test of NCA. Which, IMHO, is not measuring up.

    This from the AP:

    The United States and China agreed Wednesday on the need to reduce tensions and avoid a repeat of a confrontation between American and Chinese vessels in the South China Sea, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. While neither side yielded in their conflicting version of events, Clinton said she and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi agreed that similar episodes should be avoided in the future.

    “We both agreed that we should work to ensure that such incidents do not happen again,” Clinton told reporters after meeting Yang at the State Department, signaling that the two countries were still at odds over the exact circumstances of what happened.

    Clinton told reporters that Yang’s visit to the State Department was a “very positive” development, and she looked forward to continuing discussions that she started with Yang during her trip to Beijing last month.

    “We have each stated our positions, but the important point of agreement coming out of my discussions with Minister Yang is that we must work hard in the future to avoid such incidents and to avoid this particular incident having consequences that are unforeseen,” she said.

    I can hear the laughing all the way from Peking.

  • R. M. Hayball

    URR: Actually, Hayball is my surname. Really. G. D. Hayball was my grandfather. Blacksmith 2/c, we’d say shipfitter. Really. Just so you don’t call me that G. D. Hayball, some have, for some reason. Just plain Hayball feels fine from my end.

    sid: It still will, if the family is sitting on the bench by the wading pool, just watching. Presence. It’s a naval task.

  • sid

    This is also reflected in the HA/DR mission as a core Navy task. That mission should be, and always has been, incidental to forward presence. When such missions are considered on par with the more critical warfighting tasks, there is a dissolution of effort, resources, and assets from the infinitely more important missions.

    I would argue that ,prior to WWII, this wasn’t the case. The wide exposure to duty in the Asiatic Fleet, indoctrinated most of the Line that its important to be well versed across the entire spectrum.

    The Leviathan need not be a one trick pony…

    (sorry for the mixed metaphors)

  • sid

    sid: It still will, if the family is sitting on the bench by the wading pool, just watching. Presence. It’s a naval task.

    And TAGOS is a direct naval task that needs to be re-militarized…

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “The Leviathan need not be a one trick pony…”

    Nobody advocating it should be. But to have HA/DR be mentioned as a core task takes away from warfighting focus to be sure.

    Persistent presence comes with sufficient numbers of adequate platforms, ready for the entire spectrum. Sort of the Navy version of the 3-block war. Especially with non-state actors having influence (no coincidence) in many of the littorals in which HA/DR will likely be required, either due to natural disasters or failing or failed states.

    There, security is the first task. Vigilance is survival, or as Gen Mattis had posted at the gates of all USMC FOBs in Iraq, “Complacency Kills”. Believe it. That vigilance and security require the very same warrior mentality that the people plugging humanitarian missions as a reason to join the Navy seem to be deliberately de-emphasizing.

  • sid

    Nobody advocating it should be. But to have HA/DR be mentioned as a core task takes away from warfighting focus to be sure.

    Agree with all URR..

    Except for “Nobody” part.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Sid,

    Doesn’t that just fill you with Hope? It’s Amateur Hour, apparently. A fool is humorous, a fool who believes himself wise is a menace.

    For sure, Lejeune and Pendleton are a lot farther away than Combat Outpost. Significant decomposition will have occurred on the bodies of the deceased Sysadmin personnel before we could get there.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    *Burma Shave*

    Which is not to say that such an effort does not require a “whole of government” approach.

    This is an interesting document: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/119629.pdf

    That said, DIME has different capital letters, depending on the state of the insurgency. Without the “M”, it becomes DIE. Appropriately enough.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    *Burma Shave*

    Foggy Bottom needs to get off its A**.

  • R. M. Hayball

    sid:
    As we both know, it takes an act of congress to get one more sailor in the Navy. Additional end strength for manning is coming from where?

    Then there is money. Next year’s rumored 10% naval budget cut plus cost overruns on new construction leaves how much exactly for conversion of 15-20 year old vessels which have no weight and moment to backfit, well, a lot of stuff.

    Which flag is going to give up what money? The money would be better spent on FRAMing figs and making realistic plans to provide short notice contingency CAP and/or escort. Then exercise the plans regularly where interested parties can see. Everybody likes an F18 air show. Let the Seals put on a show, great training.

    The Navy protects US flag merchant shipping as a matter of routine, or should. An attack on a unarmed public vessel is an act of war, or piracy, depending on the identity of the attacker.
    Catch ‘em in the act, you can sink ‘em on the spot, legal. Two way street, same rules apply to us if the situation is reversed (like it ever would).

    We could reinstitute the Service Force, it would take a lot. There is a lot to be said for it. The money comes from where?

    Telling all flags that failure to protect any USNS will result in their very own personal mast, demotion to below scrambled egg cap bill status, and immediate retirement with a bad paper DD214, that would get results.

    IMHO. I could be wrong.

  • sid

    Hay, thats the affordable fleet argument.

    The same one that nearly cost the Brits the Falklands.

    This isn’t so much about concrete number of ships and planes. It is about a military organization that is morphing into just another bureaucracy.

  • jwithington

    There seems to be a lot of focus on what the Impeccable should have done. I would offer what matters more is the response by the US to this action and future actions.

    Move in US warships to reassert the law of the sea to this EXACT location, demonstrating to China that international waters are international waters.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Midn Withington,

    You have very skilfully defined “forward presence”. As I said above, persistent presence comes with sufficient numbers of adequate platforms, ready for the entire spectrum. It is the sufficiency of numbers, with platforms we are willing to risk, that underlines this issue.

    Gotta have ‘em before you can send ‘em.

    Keep up the input. Impressive thus far!

    URR

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