26 July 2017
The Trump administration has approved a plan to “regularise” U.S. “freedom of navigation operations” against China’s claims and actions in the South China Sea. The White House will now know in advance about upcoming patrols, which will supposedly quicken the approval process. An official said this means operations will be implemented on a “very routine, very regular basis”.
Joseph Liow of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies observes that the frequency of such patrols is “often seen as a litmus test, for better or worse, of American commitment”. Indeed, many Southeast Asian countries perceive these provocative probes as political statements. Some at home and abroad argue that these patrols are the tip of the spear of a strategy to support the U.S. hub-and-spoke regional security architecture, and to persuade China to comply with the “international rules-based order”.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 01/08/2017