Above-Chinese destroyer the Lanzhou (L) gets close to the USS Decatur guided-missile destroyer in the South China Sea, September 30, 2018. (Photo by US Navy)
The United States Navy is reported to be planning a global show of force to show China that the US is ready to engage it militarily.
The classified plan being drawn up by the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet recommends the US Navy to carry out a series of operations across the world during a week in November, the CNN reported Thursday citing several unnamed military officials.
Aimed at warning the adversaries about America’s ability to take on adversaries on several fronts, the “highly focused and concentrated” drills would involve warships, combat aircraft and troops, the officials said.
The plan specifically suggests sending ships and aircraft near China’s territorial waters in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait, as part of Washington insists are “freedom of navigation operations” to protect movement in the sea.
This means that the US military would get close to Chinese military forces operating both in the sea, running the chance of close encounters.
While the American officials emphasized that Washington had no plans to engage the Chinese forces, it is unlikely that China would ignore such operations.
This became evident last week, when the USS Decatur guided-missile destroyer attempted to sail close to a Chinese-claimed island in the sea only to be countered by the Chinese destroyer, the Lanzhou.
Lanzhou approached USS Decatur in such a manner that the American warship was forced to change direction and leave the area.
The close encounter was followed by a storm of criticism and warnings from the two sides, further straining tense US-China ties amid an ongoing trade war that is growing to include other issues.
Friction between the world’s two biggest economies hit a new high in late September, when Trump accused China of seeking to interfere in the upcoming US congressional elections in early November.
Military ties between the two sides took a major hit as a result of the fallout after Beijing rejected a US warship’s request to visit Hong Kong.
Beijing has also postponed joint military talks with the Pentagon after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Chinese military over buying Russian weapons.