Unnamed US officials are quoted in Reuters as saying that the Navy intends to send more surface ships to the Third Fleet’s deployment in East Asia, with an eye toward further confrontation of China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
The South China Sea is broadly claimed by China, though they are one of seven nations with competing claims in the region. The US has made it a matter of policy to back every other nation’s claims where they conflict with China’s, and to urge them to work it out if they conflict with one another.
In recent months, the Pentagon has made a habit of conducting naval patrols extremely close to Chinese claimed islands, on the grounds that they legally can. They have made it a point to hype these patrols as being deliberately confrontational to China.
Chinese officials downplayed the planned new deployments, saying that they don’t see a reason for the US to add more ships to the quiet situation in the South China Sea, but that “how the US military uses its taxpayers’ dollars to carry out deployments is its own affair.”
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