Skip to content Commentary Calls U.S. Navy Warships Recent Presence in South China Sea “Escalation of Unprecedented Provocative Action” against China

On May 27, Reuters first reported that two U.S. Navy warships, the Higgins guided-missile destroyer and the Antietam, a guided-missile cruiser, came within 12 nautical miles in the region where China has territorial disputes with its neighbors. The article called it “an operation that is the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in those strategic waters.” On May 28,, People’s Daily Overseas edition, published a commentary article that Hu Bo wrote. Hu is a research director at the Institute of Ocean Research at Peking University. The article stated that the latest move of the U.S. Navy is an obvious escalation in its action to challenge China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea islands. It called the move “provocative,” and “unprecedented.” It stated that “the U.S. is uneasy with China’s growing military power in the South China Sea.” The author predicted that the U.S. will increase its presence in the region and will take more “direct and rough” provocative actions against China. As to how China should react to the threat, the article said that China has no other way except to continue to exercise its ability in the area of self-defense. According to the article, “Since the U.S. is concerned about the narrowing of the power gap between China and the U.S. in the South China Sea, the conflict and standoff could be a long term and perhaps a direct fight between China and the U.S. This could be a healthy move for the relationship between the two countries.”

1. Reuters, May 28, 2018
2., May 29, 2018