25 May 2024
Chinese fleet in the East Sea tests Biden 3

Chinese fleet in the East Sea tests Biden 3

China anchored hundreds of ships at reefs in the East Sea, seemingly to test how tough Biden's response would be.

Information about more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels anchored at a reef near Sinh Ton Dong Island in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago in the East Sea was announced by the Philippines last month.

However, two weeks later, more than 40 Chinese ships were still anchored at this reef despite calm weather, and announcements from Beijing became increasingly brief.

`I’m not a fool. The weather has been good recently so they have no reason to continue there. They have to leave,` Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on April 3.

A Chinese ship formation anchored at a rocky beach near Vietnam’s Sinh Ton Dong Island.

Experts say this move is part of China’s `gray zone` tactics, which means using maritime militia to conduct provocative activities below the threshold of military conflict, in order to take over the islands and seas.

`Professional seafarers will know China is lying,` said Carl Schuster, former executive director at the Joint Intelligence Center of the US Pacific Command.

`No one lets a ship ‘take shelter’ in a storm zone for several weeks before a storm. If it was truly a commercial fishing vessel, anchoring in such a spot would cost hundreds, if not more,

According to Bloomberg commentators Andreo Calonzo and Philip Hejimans, this move shows that China seems to be trying to probe what action US President Joe Biden will take, after the White House boss announced he would strengthen

In 2012, China made a similar move at Scarborough Shoal when it deployed maritime militia ships to the area, leading to 10 weeks of confrontation with the Philippine navy.

`This is a test to see what the Biden administration is willing to do. How the US reacts will determine the next test. Up to now, everything Washington has done has been more talk than action,` Schuster commented.

US national security advisor Jake Sullivan and Philippine counterpart Hermogenes Esperon on March 31 discussed the presence of Chinese ships, agreeing that the two sides `will continue to coordinate closely to respond to challenges.`

Sullivan affirmed that the US `always stands side by side with its ally the Philippines`, and accused China of `using maritime militia to provoke and threaten other countries`.

On April 5, USNI News reported that the US aircraft carrier battle group USS Theodore Roosevelt had crossed the Strait of Malacca, entered the East Sea and was in the area off the coast of Malaysia, after exercising with the Indian navy last week.

Chinese fleet in the East Sea tests Biden

Three weeks of presence of more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels in the East Sea

Three weeks of presence of more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels in the East Sea.

However, Bloomberg commentators point out a major problem for Washington is determining the appropriate level of response to Beijing.

However, if inaction, the image of the Biden administration could become weak towards China.

The Biden administration has reaffirmed that it will provide mutual assistance if the Philippines is attacked in the East Sea, according to the mutual defense treaty between the two countries.

Rommel Ong, former rear admiral of the Philippines, said that the country’s navy would be `hands and feet tied` under Duterte.

Philippine officials have spoken out about the arrival of a large number of Chinese ships with language that is considered quite strong, but Duterte has so far remained silent, although his spokesman Harry Roque said the President’s position was

`The President’s position is that we will defend our rights, but this is not a reason to resort to violence. He believes that with our close relationship with China, we can resolve

Observers say the need to ensure Covid-19 vaccine supply may be the factor preventing Duterte from taking a tougher stance, in the context of the Manila metropolitan area once again being blocked amid a bad outbreak.

Shahriman Lockman, a senior analyst at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Malaysia, assessed that the US this time will `not be so naive` after the 2012 mistake at Scarborough Shoal, which `caused serious damage.`

`The Americans are entering the situation cautiously. It is unclear whether they will later be blamed for escalating the situation. That is a real possibility with the erratic leadership in Manila

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