let’s roll…

Two Pindo aircraft carriers in war games in South China Sea
Peter Symonds, WSWS, Jul 6 2020

In a naked and provocative display of military force, the US Navy is conducting war games in the strategic South China Sea involving two huge nuclear-powered aircraft carriers at the same time as Chinese naval exercises are taking place in the same region. The Reagan and Nimitz entered the South China Sea along with their strike groups, which include guided-missile cruisers and guided-missile destroyers. More than 10k naval personnel were on aircraft carriers along with their complement of fixed-wing warplanes and helicopters. Far from being routine, the war games involved “high-end integrated exercises” aimed at building “unmatched flexibility, endurance, maneuverability, and firepower in an all-domain warfighting environment.” In other words, the purpose was to test naval capabilities in a conflict with China involving both offensive operations using war planes and defending the ships from any Chinese counter-attack. Admiral George Wikoff, commander of the Reagan strike group said:

We’re really operating at a higher tempo and simulating a higher end of combat power than we would typically do in a shorter length exercise. We’re flying around the clock, hundreds of sorties a day in a 24-hour period.

In a statement issued on Jul 4, Wikoff boasted that his strike group was celebrating Independence Day “with unmatched sea power” in the South China Sea. He declared that the two aircraft carrier strike groups formed the “most effective and agile fighting force in the world.” The last operation was only the sixth time in the past two decades that the Pindo navy has conducted war games involving two aircraft carrier strike groups in the western Pacific. The exercises in the South China Sea were preceded by similar ones last week involving the Roosevelt strike group in the neighbouring Philippine Sea.

The pretext for the naval exercises was to ensure “freedom of navigation”—the same excuse that has been used to justify escalating US naval provocations in the South China Sea. These include so-called “freedom of navigation” operations in which Pindo warships deliberately intrude into territorial waters claimed by China around its islets in the area—threatening to trigger a clash. In April, the Pindo navy carried out two such operations in as many days followed by another on May 7. On May 28, the guided-missile destroyer Mustin passed within the 12 nautical mile territorial limit of Woody Island in the Paracel group that has been occupied by China for decades. Pindostan has also been seeking to involve its vassals in war games in the South China Sea which have included live-fire drills with the Australian navy in April and manoeuvres with the Japanese navy in June. Washington has been seeking to establish the so-called Quad—a quasi-military alliance against China involving Australia, Japan and India.

A Pindo Pacific Fleet spox absurdly claimed that the weekend’s operation was “not in response to any political or world events” and thus was not directed at China. However, the Pentagon issued a statement last week condemning Chinese naval exercises near the Chinese-administered Paracel Islands in the South China Sea which ran from Jul 1–5. The Pindo DoD branded the Chinese exercise as “the latest in a long string of PRC actions to assert unlawful maritime claims and disadvantage its South-East Asian neighbors in the South China Sea.” The Pindo vision, it stated, was for “a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” and was simply ensuring the sovereignty and rights of all nations in the region. In reality, the Pindo intervention in the South China Sea was a component of the Obama administration’s aggressive “pivot to Asia” aimed at undermining China diplomatically, economically and militarily. Hillary Clinton, as Pindo Sec State, transformed what had been low-level regional territorial disputes involving China and its neighbours into a dangerous flashpoint by declaring that Pindostan had a “national interest” in the South China Sea.

For Pindostan to declare China’s maritime claims as “unlawful” is completely hypocritical, because Faschingstein has never ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Not being a party to any of the territorial disputes, Pindostan encouraged and backed the Philippines to challenge China’s claims in the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration which brought down a highly political decision in 2016 negating China’s long-standing historic claims in the South China Sea. In reality, Pindo naval operations in the South China Sea and other waters close to the Chinese mainland have nothing to do with defending China’s neighbours but are intimately connected to Pindo preparations for war. The Pindo strategy for conflict with China is based on launching massive air and missile attacks from warships and bases in the region combined with a naval blockade designed to starve China into submission. The South China Sea is adjacent to key Chinese submarine bases on Hainan Island in south-east China.

The Pindo military exercises take place at the same time as the Trump administration has ratcheted up its confrontation with China across a range of sensitive issues. These include blaming Beijing for the COVID-19 pandemic, imposing penalties over China’s new security law for Hong Kong, stirring up the border conflict between India and China, and imposing restrictions on the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Last Friday, in an interview with MSNBC, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro launched into a venomous attack on Beijing, declaring that it was responsible for the huge death toll from COVID-19. Without a shred of evidence, he suggested that China had “weaponized” the virus, declaring:

They hid the virus. They sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals over here to seed and spread the virus before we knew.

The Trump administration’s big lies are not only aimed at diverting public anger over its criminal handling of the pandemic outward against a foreign enemy. Navarro’s attack on China is part of the rapidly escalating preparations for economic war and military conflict that has been developing over the past decade. The “pivot to Asia” under Obama has been accelerated under Trump, in particular in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pindo imperialism regards China as the chief obstacle to maintaining its dominance in Asia and globally. The pandemic has graphically exposed the historic decline of the US to which the Trump administration is responding by stepping up its confrontation with China on all fronts.

Pindo military drills in South China Sea have ulterior motives, meant to flex muscle: FM
Global Times, Jul 6 2020

Pindostan has ulterior motives by intentionally sending heavy forces into the South China Sea for large-scale drills and flexing its muscles, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday. Pindostan has been alienating countries in the region, pushing for South China Sea militarization and sabotaging peace and stability in the region, said Foreign Ministry spox Zhao Lijian at Monday’s regular press conference. Zhao said:

The international community, particularly countries in the region, can see this very clearly.

Zhao’s remarks came after Pindostan on Saturday sent two aircraft carriers to the South China Sea for drills. China was also holding exercises in the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea from Wednesday to Sunday. Zhao reiterated that the Xisha Islands are undisputed Chinese territories, and holding military drills in waters off the Xisha Islands is within the country’s sovereignty.

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