Asia Times: The Looming Military Showdown in the South China Sea

The guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins transits the Pacific Ocean.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins in the Pacific Ocean / AP

BY:

After delaying for months, the Obama administration has authorized the US Pacific Command to send warships into the disputed South China Sea, and China is threatening to confront the naval presence as part of an aggressive buildup in the region.

However, the US military is not expected to send the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group to pass passing within 12 miles of any disputed islands that China is claiming as its territory. The carrier arrived at its new homeport of Yokosuka, Japan on Oct. 1 replacing the USS George Washington.

Instead of a carrier group, the administration is likely to send one of its new, lightly-armed Littoral Combat Ships on what the military calls FON, for freedom of navigation, operation, in the next two weeks.

Read the entire article at the Asia Times.

Bill Gertz   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill Gertz is senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon he was a national security reporter, editor, and columnist for 27 years at the Washington Times. Bill is the author of seven books, four of which were national bestsellers. His most recent book was iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, a look at information warfare in its many forms and the enemies that are waging it. Bill has an international reputation. Vyachaslav Trubnikov, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, once called him a “tool of the CIA” after he wrote an article exposing Russian intelligence operations in the Balkans. A senior CIA official once threatened to have a cruise missile fired at his desk after he wrote a column critical of the CIA’s analysis of China. And China’s communist government has criticized him for news reports exposing China’s weapons and missile sales to rogues states. The state-run Xinhua news agency in 2006 identified Bill as the No. 1 “anti-China expert” in the world. Bill insists he is very much pro-China—pro-Chinese people and opposed to the communist system. Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld once told him: “You are drilling holes in the Pentagon and sucking out information.” His Twitter handle is @BillGertz.

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