The South China Sea has been the centre of an ongoing political and military struggle between Beijing and Washington. Both have used their allies in the region in an attempt to wrestle control of the diplomatic and material rewards that would come of it. While US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping haven’t confronted each other on a military level, Chinese military officials have been employing warring rhetoric since the turn of the year.
Read Admiral Lou Yuan of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences told an audience that the South China Sea dispute could be easily solved with military means.
The solution, he claimed, was sinking two US Navy aircraft carriers to ward off American presence.
In a fiery speech on the state of Sino-US relations earlier this year, he claimed that the South China Sea was a “prime strategic issue” for Beijing and they should not back down.
He said: “What the United States fears the most is taking casualties.
South China Sea: the crisis!
Donald Trump’s aircraft carrier
“We’ll see how frightened America is.
“China should use its strength to attack the enemy’s shortcomings.
“Attack wherever the enemy is afraid of being hit.
“Wherever the enemy is weak.”
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Donald Trump’s USS Carl Vinson
He claimed that sinking one super carrier would cost the lives of 5000 American troops, and naturally, downing another would double the toll.
Washington flexed their military muscle in the South China Sea last month when they sent nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to the Philippines.
Alongside Australia, the Philippines have been at the centre of the South China Sea crisis over the last few weeks.
Philippine trust in China plummeted in a recent poll, reflecting the strained relations between the two following the presence of Beijing’s warships on disputed islands.
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South China Sea disputes
Hundreds of Chinese ships passed near the disputed Spratly islands last year, while one sunk a Philippine fishing boat in June by aggressively barging it.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo labelled China an “irritant” last week in a U-turn on Manila’s former ally.
Meanwhile, Australia joined forces with Vietnam against China after both governments pledged to team up against Beijing’s expansionism.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said: “We are deeply concerned about the recent complicated developments in the East Sea (South China Sea) and agree to cooperate in maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight.”
Australia are concerned with China
Australian leader Scott Morrison, meanwhile, claimed that countries should be entitled to the resources in their own boundaries without Chinese interference.
Mr Morrison’s comments came after own of his own MP’s compared China’s rise to that of Nazi Germany.
Andrew Hastie wrote: “The West once believed that economic liberalisation would naturally lead to democratisation in China.
“This was our Maginot Line. It would keep us safe, just as the French believed their series of steel and concrete forts would guard them against the German advance in 1940. But their thinking failed catastrophically.
South China Sea
“The French had failed to appreciate the evolution of mobile warfare. Like the French, Australia has failed to see how mobile our authoritarian neighbour has become.”
The Chinese government has come under fire for its response to the Hong Kong protests which have encompassed the self-ruling state since June.
Beijing officials fear that Hong Kong could totally reject China and attempt to gain independence.
There are similar fears in Taiwan, a self-ruled island which split from mainland China following the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
Australia v China
Strengthening US-Taiwan relations could provoke a similar uprising in Taipei, which has enjoyed a frosty relationship with Beijing since the ‘Sunflower’ movement in 2014.
Admiral Lou claimed the Chinese army should immediately invade to ensure China’s ‘complete unity’.
He added: “If the US naval fleet dares to stop in Taiwan, it is time for the People’s Liberation Army to deploy troops to promote national unity on the island.
“The achievement of the past 40 years of reform and opening-up has given us the capability and confidence to safeguard our sovereignty.
“Those who are trying to stir up trouble in the South China Sea and Taiwan should be careful about their future.”
China feel they are entitled to 80 per cent of the South China Sea, including all the materials and waters within the ‘nine-dash line’.
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