22 October 2015
Strong calls continue to be made in Washington for the U.S. Navy to increase its freedom of navigation (FON) activities in the South China Sea. This is despite apparent differences of view between the Pentagon and the White House about the wisdom of such action.
The United States has done little in 2015 to ease concerns about whether it knows what it’s doing in the South China Sea. If anything, the rhetoric coming out of the Pentagon, and the U.S. Navy in particular, has become stronger.
While extensive land reclamations in the South China Sea have not helped China’s image, none of its current actions justify deliberate provocations by the United States. It’s not clear just what Washington is protesting in the South China Sea. There are three possibilities, some or all of which may apply.
… Sam Bateman is an adviser to the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University. This article was originally published over at East Asia Forum here and is republished with kind permission.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 13/11/2015