U.S. SecDef tells Chinese: Red line>>further reclamation and militarization of the Scarborough Shoal
As China continues to make island reclamations in the disputed rocks, shoals and islands in the region, China’s military options have increased dramatically.Planes and ships travel past.
The PLA invariably installs military facilities on these reclaimed islands, including air defense radar and missiles, military runways, advanced combat aircraft, and naval docking devices.
This has constituted a slap in the face to President Barack Obama who received repeated assurances from China’s Supreme Leader Xi Jinping who promised not to militarize the disputed islands.
With the imminent ruling by the UN’s Permanent Court of Arbitration, that is widely expected to go against China, the PLA has upped its ante in the South China Sea and is becoming dangerously belligerent.
The U.S. has vowed to deter any Chinese attempt to forcibly occupy islands or maritime assets not allowed by the court’s ruling. As a result, Carter has authorized augmentation of naval deployment in the South China Sea, spearheaded by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Stennis.
On June 5, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson boarded the USS Stennis and flew in an E-2C electronic warfare plane from the carrier to inspect the tense area where a battle scenario might become a reality soon.
Meanwhile, Carter has told the Chinese that he might authorize deployment of B-52 strategic bombers in the region, in addition to the already augmented U.S. naval fleet of warships in the region that include the guided missile destroyers the USS Stockdale, the USS Mobil Bay, dozens of submarines and other special capability naval vessels.
Men take and hold islands. Just ask some guy named Vandegrift.