INT, (cMczone.com) – Amid the Covid-19 melanfa of the World, the United States Navy (US) sent seven submarines to the South China Sea. According to one important figure in the US navy, the ships were deliberately alerted for the purpose of ensuring freedom and offsetting Chinese operations in the region. “Our operation is a demonstration of our willingness to defend our interests and freedoms under international law.” said Rear Admiral Blake Converse, commander of Pacific sub-forces based in Pearl Harbor, Express reported on Tuesday (5/19/2020).
The submarines alerted include four attack submarines based in Guam, USS Alexandria based in San Diego and several ships based in Hawaii. Attack submarines are submarines armed with torpedoes and sophisticated Tomahawk cruise missiles, types capable of carrying out covert surveillance. In addition to submarines, the US Navy has also alerted the fleet of warships in the Western Pacific as a show of strength in the region.
This move comes amid rising tensions between the US and China in the South China Sea and amid quarrels in the world’s second largest economy about the corona virus pandemic (COVID-19). In recent times China has continued to increase its activities in the South China Sea. China also continues to expand its control over most of the territorial waters by building artificial islands or reclamation islands. China is also believed to have carried out activities that disrupted other countries in the region, such as the recent oil exploration vessel contracted by Malaysian state energy company Petronas.
Previously, the US had called what China was doing in the region was an illegal attempt. China is also considered to have deliberately exploited the conditions under which the pandemic is endemic to increase profits in the region.
“When the US military handled COVID-19 at home, we remained focused on our national security mission throughout the world. “Many countries have sought to recover from a pandemic, and in the meantime, our strategic competitors continue to try to exploit this crisis to their advantage at the expense of other countries.” said US Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Esper also accused China of stepping up a “disinformation campaign” to redirect mistakes related to the deadly virus from the city of Wuhan and protect its image. “We continue to see aggressive behavior by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the South China Sea, from threatening Philippine naval vessels to sinking Vietnamese fishing vessels and intimidating other countries to be allowed to be involved in offshore oil and gas development.” Esper said that two US ships had just completed a freedom of navigation (FONOP) operation in the South China Sea the previous week. The two ships are USS Bunker Hill guided missiles and USS Barry destroyers, Esper continued USS Bunker Hill’s guided missile cruisers carried out FONOP in the Spratly Islands, and the destroyer USS Barry sailed twice through the Taiwan Strait and through the Paracel Islands, a disputed territory claimed by China as his own.
“The operation aims to send a clear message to Beijing that we continue to protect freedom of navigation and trade for all large and small countries.” Esper explained. This action has previously angered China by calling the US effort a provocative act and threatening calm in the region.
“These provocative actions by the US have seriously violated China’s sovereignty and security interests, deliberately increasing regional security risks and could easily trigger unexpected incidents.” said Chinese military command. (* samudrapost)