Over the past few weeks, the United States has been sending subtle messages to China, conveying in no uncertain terms to the red rogue state that their repeated misadventures in the South China Sea will have a tremendous consequence, once and for all. As a part of the Defender Pacific 2020 military exercise, the United States conducted high-end and complex military exercises spread across millions of square miles, with the focal point of such maneuverers being South China Sea alone.
The world continues to witness how China is growing belligerent all around its neighbourhood, from the Himalayas to the East China Sea, from Taiwan to South China Sea, and from Tajikistan to Russian Far East. The Chinese Communist party is leaving no front closed, and is picking up fights on all its borders. The South China Sea continues to remain an emotive issue for Beijing, as does the US and free world order remain committed to ensuring that attempted Chinese hegemonic authority over South China Sea is dismantled comprehensively.
As a part of the latest exercises, the United States has demonstrated to China a unique capability – that of putting its army on the ground in South China Sea’s islands, along with all that they would be requiring to fight a full-blown war against China. As per a Forbes report, U.S. Air Force airlifters landed on a dirt airstrip on an unnamed remote Pacific island, disgorging U.S. Army soldiers. An Army landing craft beached on the same island to offload rocket launchers.
What the US essentially demonstrated was its ability to putting troops on Islands spread across the South China Sea, even if the exercise was not conducted in the Islands lying in the disputed waterways per se, of which China irritatingly keeps claiming over 90 percent of aqua territory under the nine-dash line claim of its own imaginative invention.
The US Army, accompanied with the country’s formidable Marines, and assisted by the US Air Force have successfully demonstrated that it is not an impossible task for them to capture islands in the South China Sea, in order to maintain the maritime independence of the surrounding waterways for the greater benefit of the world community.
“The F-22s, C-17s, HIMARS and paratroopers all were part of the same effort, even if their activities were separated by time and distance. In wartime, the F-22s would clear the skies of enemy planes so the C-17s safely could drop paratroopers on an island in enemy territory. The HIMARS would come next, giving the lightly-armed paratroopers heavy firepower, including the ability to fire anti-ship missiles. Together, the fighters, airlifters, rockets and soldiers are an island-capturing team,” the Forbes report said.
While the said maneuverers were distributed in areas ranging from the Pacific to as far as Alaska, essentially, the US has been able to convey to Beijing that if need arise, the leader of the free world order will not hesitate from going on an island-securing spree in the South China Sea. By securing islands in the South China Sea, the US would make the conflict with China relating to the waterways, which is currently indirect, a personal and direct one, in which case China is bound to suffer heavy blows. By securing Islands in the South China Sea, what the US will also ensure is that China stops relentlessly flexing its muscles in the region, unless it is particularly interested in indulging in a full-blown conflict with Washington, only to be defeated.
Beijing’s moves in the South China Sea, which is a jugular sea trade route for countries around the world have only increased for the worse during the ongoing pandemic which was unleashed upon the world allegedly from a laboratory in Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak. China has been forming administrative districts in the said sea, with Beijing announcing earlier this year that it had set up new administrative districts on the Paracel and Spratly Islands.
With the QUAD, comprising of a strategic military alliance between India US, Japan and Australia officially making fast-paced progress towards formalisation, the US’ moves in the South China Sea will be backed by some of the most powerful nations around the world, rendering China incapacitated to act in a haphazard manner only to witness its own ruin. With time, it is becoming increasingly evident that the US is prepping for a military intervention in the SCS.