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Three U.S. aircraft carriers operating on doorstep of South China Sea

Three US aircraft carriers operating on doorstep of South China SeaFor the first time since 2017, the U.S. Navy has positioned three of its aircraft carriers on the doorstep of the disputed South China Sea, as tensions between Washington and Beijing continue to soar.

Analysts said the dispatch to the Western Pacific of the three vessels was likely intended to send a message to China that, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the United States military would continue to maintain a strong presence in the region.

On Sunday, the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet said the USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Nimitz carrier strike groups had begun dual carrier flight operations in the Philippine Sea.

The two strike groups were scheduled to conduct air defense drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, long-range strike drills, coordinated maneuvers and other exercises, according to a statement.

Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream”: a thorny path

Xi JinpingAfter becoming the master of Zhongnanhai and having a great centralized power in hand, Xi Jinping introduced the “Chinese Dream” to make China a superpower and “the centre” of the world. To materialize the “Chinese Dream”, Xi Jinping also launched the “Belt and Road” and “Maritime Silk Road" initiatives. The primary goals are to transform China into a maritime power, increase its presence, and expand its influences over Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, and the South Pole.

To realize such ambition, on the one hand, Beijing fosters its media campaign promoting “China’s peaceful rise”. On the other hand, China increases its intrusion on land into different regions through the “Belt and Road” (BRI) and on the sea against its neighbouring countries. With its propaganda machine, several countries have initially believed in Beijing's words. However, China’s increasing aggressiveness and assertiveness, particularly in the South China Sea, have revealed its expansionist and Great Han hegemonic nature. The “Chinese Dream” of Xi Jinping concurrently enters tough times.

Increase in anxiety and “anti-Chinese” sentiment from Beijing’s aggressive behaviors

Increase in anxiety anWithin just over a month, China has launched a series of aggressive activities in the South China Sea. While global efforts are focused on coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing’s encroachment in the South China Sea has increased anxiety and “anti-Chinese” sentiments in Vietnam. Vietnamese web pages are filled with information and articles condemning Chinese behavior in the South China Sea.

In 2014, when China’s Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil platform perforated Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and Central continental shelf, a strong “anti-Chinese” wave surged within the country, causing destruction of a number of Chinese enterprises’ infrastructure in Vietnam, even prompting Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation to transfer most of its Chinese workers home. In recent time, psychological anxiety and “anti-China” sentiments have re-emerged as Beijing conducts a series of belligerent activities in the South China Sea. Such sentiments are demonstrated as follows:

1. Vietnam’s determination to protect its national sovereignty, rights and interests at sea against Beijing’s expansion and hegemony

Beijing’s serious challenge to Washington's interests in the South China Sea

Beijings serious challenge to Washingtons interests in the South China SeaBeijing officials consider the US Navy to be at its hardest time as four aircraft carriers (USS Theodore Roosevelt, USS Ronald Reagan, USS Carl Vinson and USS Nimitz) have had to cease operations due to the COVID-19 epidemic. As such, there is currently no US carrier fleet currently operating in the Western Pacific region. The Global Times even gloated in saying that the US Navy "cannot conceal the weak position".

Beijing sees this moment as an opportunity to carry out a series of aggressions in the South China Sea to gain an advantage over the US, boosting its irrational claim in the South China Sea, eventually pushing the US out to monopolize the area.

With this view, Beijing authorities have constantly increased aggressive activities in the South China Sea, from the recent sinking of Vietnamese fishing vessels, dispatching Liaoning aircraft carrier combatants in the South China Sea and Haiyang Dizhi 08 geological survey ship and multiple law enforcement vessels to harass and prevent Malaysia's petroleum activities, to announcing the illegal establishment of "Xisha District" and "Nansha District" and naming 80 entities in the South China Sea.

South China Sea: US-China hostility reaches 'new Cold War levels' as violence fears grow

tải xuốngChina has been accused of capitalising on the global coronavirus crisis to assert further dominance in the South China Sea, as the US aims to halt Beijing's ambitions in the region. Washington made the accusation in April as multiple sources reported that Chinese forces stepped up patrols and naval exercises in the contested waters. The US Department of State said in a statement: "We call on the PRC [People's Republic of China] to remain focused on supporting international efforts to combat the global pandemic and to stop exploiting the distraction or vulnerability of other states to expand its unlawful claims in the South China Sea."

But Xi Jinping and his government allies have hit back at President Donald Trump's US government, claiming any suggestion China is "exploiting" the pandemic is false.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded: "There is nothing to support the claim that China is using COVID-19 to expand its presence in the South China Sea."

Vietnam, Japan hold deputy defense minister-level talks

VNJapan hold deputy defenseDuring the call, General Vinh shared the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam with the Japanese Vice Defense Minister, adding that Vietnam has achieved success in controlling the disease thanks to the engagement of the whole political system and the firm direction of the Government, as well as the participation of all ministries, agencies and localities, with the military playing an important and active role.

He underscored that Vietnam highly values the achievements of Japan and the role and contributions of the Japanese Ministry of Defense in COVID-19 prevention and control. He also praised the international cooperation spirit of Japan in the sharing of information and experience in dealing with the pandemic and its support for other countries.

As the fight against COVID-19 is still complicated, the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense wishes to continue cooperating, supporting and sharing experience with the Japanese Ministry of Defense, he stressed.

US UN Ambassador Pushes Back on Chinese South China Sea Claims

US UN Ambassador Pushes Back on Chinese South China Sea ClaimsIn a significant step to push back on China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea at multilateral forums, the United States has challenged Beijing’s claims at the United Nations.

On Monday, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations formally submitted a note verbale — a diplomatic communication — to the office of the UN Secretary-General’s office arguing that China’s maritime claims in the disputed South China Sea were “inconsistent with international law.”

The U.S. note verbale was in response to December 2019 communications by China responding to a submission by the Malaysian government to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, seeking an extended continental shelf in the South China Sea.

The U.S. statement, attributed to Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, focused solely on Chinese claims and “does not comment on Malaysia’s submission to the CLCS.”

ASEAN's role in the South China Sea amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

ASEANs role in the South China Sea amidst the COVID19 pandemicAs the global COVID-19 pandemic rages on, both the United States and China have intensified their military activities in the South China Sea, while the fierce debate between the two sides over the origin of coronavirus continues. China has launched an anti-American propaganda campaign, accusing the United States of being responsible for bringing the corona virus to Wuhan; while the United States calls it the "Chinese virus".

There is a fierce strategic competition going on between China and the United States in regional and international spheres. Since becoming the President of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump has implemented many measures to contain China, as he deems China the "most dangerous opponent" who challenges America's number one superpower position.

The United States has since made numerous attempts to increase pressure on China in many areas. Besides trade, intellectual property rights, or human rights issues, the United States has played two key strategic "cards" in the region, namely Taiwan and the South China Sea. In return, China has always sought ways to push the United States out of the South China Sea and to prevent them from interfering in Taiwan.

Challenging China's Claims In South China Sea, US Navy Warship Sails Near Paracel Islands

Challenging Chinas Claims In South China SeaWashington D.C: Challenging Beijing's claims in the highly contested South China Sea, US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin on Thursday (local time) sailed near Paracel Islands, reported CNN.

"On May 28 (local time), USS Mustin (DDG 89) asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the Paracel Islands, consistent with international law," Lt. Anthony Junco, a spokesperson for the US Navy's 7th Fleet, was quoted as saying in a statement.

"By conducting this operation, the United States demonstrated that these waters are beyond what China can lawfully claim as its territorial sea," the statement added.

The Paracel Islands are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

The move comes amid heightened tensions between two countries on a range of issues including the coronavirus pandemic with the US criticising China over the global spread of coronavirus.

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What Washington should do to repel Beijing's provocations in the South China Sea

US strategic expertsOver the years, China has shamelessly challenged international law in the South China Sea, from building illegal military bases to making absurd sovereignty claim under the false "nine-dash line". Beijing's unruly behavior in the South China Sea also includes threatening neighboring countries and dangerous and unethical harassment of vessels operating in international waters. China's expansion in the South China Sea not only threatens the core economic interests and security of the US, its allies and the international community, but also to drive the US and its allies away from mainland China.

Experts and researchers in many countries said that only the US can repel Chinese illegal activities in the South China Sea. However, past US efforts have been impotent, not enough to cause China to flinch – on the contrary China has been more aggressive than ever. If the US and its allies do not respond promptly and comprehensively, China may act even more drastically. US strategists must now ask one another what Washington should do to counteract Beijing's provocations in the South China Sea.

The Global Maritime Axis – Indonesia’s way of protecting self-interests in the South China Sea

The Global Maritime AxisAs a country located between the Pacific and Indian Ocean, Indonesia has over 17,000 large and small islands, and a coastline of over 20,000 km. The international community considers this Islamic island nation to be of great potential at sea. But for the past seven decades, Indonesia has largely overlooked the sea in its development process. It was until President Joko Widodo took office that the Indonesian government overcame these shortcomings in sea policy development. As such, immediately upon assuming office in May 2014, President Widodo announced the Indonesia Global Maritime Axis (GMA) Policy before the People's Representative Council of the Republic of Indonesia, the main goal of which was to make Indonesia a leading “maritime power” in Asia and the world; an interchange for international shipping routes and a global maritime center by 2025.

Indonesia's Global Maritime Axis strategy carries great ambitions. However, initially, the strategy only laid out general principles without specific measures, resulting in Indonesia's ministries branches and localities finding themselves at odds with different interpretations and implementations of the GMA. In order to solve these shortcomings, in June 2017, President Widodo issued Decree No. 06/2017 on "Sea policy" with up to 76 specific measures to realize the GMA strategy, focusing on 7 main pillars of: (1) Maritime potential and human resource development; (2) Strengthening national defense and security, law enforcement and safety at sea; (3) Ocean governance; (4) Development of marine economy, infrastructure and people-centered prosperity ; (5) Marine space management and marine environment protection; (6) Building marine culture; (7) Marine diplomacy.

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