Last Thursday, the US Russell a guided-missile destroyer passed the Taiwan Strait after the second Chinese carrier Shandong passed the same area days ago when it went for a shakedown cruise to test its systems, according to USNI News.
Enter China's second big stick
The Shandong (Hull 17) is the sister ship to the aircraft carrier Liaoning that had recently left the docks of the Dalian Shipbuilders, declared by the Ministry of National Defense of China. Last December, Shandong did similar transit in the Taiwan Strait, located south of the Dalian.
According to Cmdr Reann Mommsen 7th fleet representative sent an email to USNI News. The USS Russell's passing the Taiwan Strait is done to send a signal to Beijing that the US will keep the Indo-Pacific open for the transit of sea vessels in the area. She further stressed the US Navy is going to sail, fly also conduct operations where international law permits it, confirmed VOA News.
Increased tension in the Taiwan Strait for the last three weeks has sent the USS Russell, after earlier freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) was accomplished by the USS McCampbell, by crossing the strait at an earlier time. This is one of many FONOPs telling China the area is not theirs to control.
Frequency of the PLAN operations in the South China Seas during the pandemic cost the USS Theodore Roosevelt dock time, instead of managing whatever assets that were not affected were sent in to intervene.
US Navy and the PLAN are banging it out in the Indo-pacific theatre.
It has been an active time for the US Navy in the SCS, with China forging forward and establishing footholds in the South China Seas. Many of these operations are to blunt and push back the Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to keep the sea open and support its allies in Asia.
The US Navy while other nations navies have back operations, the US Navy is the only one active on this part of the world. In most cases, China has blasted back from a safe distance.
Chinese Militia bullied a drillship
One of these operations was backing up a Panamanian-flagged drillship hired by Malaysia, for weeks US Navy ship kept watch on the civilian vessel for explorations. It came to a climax when Chinese vessels had to be interdicted by the US Warships that spooked the Chinese, spending time escorting or guarding the Petronas vessel. Later the US denounced China's activities in the SCS, reported Breaking Defense.
The PLAN was not pleased with the push backs it got from the US Navy's belligerent stance, and Chinese attaches were blasting interference on their perceived sovereignty in claimed area. But, not once did they block the US warships, said Tak Tikz,
Zhao Lijian, a ministry spokesperson, said that their claim is legal and follows international law for the UNCLOS which cannot be contested by another country. The Chinese added that the US is the cause of instability in the region.
Another burr is the US support for Taiwan, but the US has considered Taiwan as a state, that is contrary to the one-China policy.
The USS Russell symbol of US power in the Taiwan Strait opposes even the Shandong as Beijing's message to the world that China is not backing down on its claims of a one-China or China seeks to rule SCS.