James A. Lyons and Richard D. Fisher Jr., washingtontimes.com
China’s threat to ‘innocent passage’ cannot go unchallenged
Image from article, with caption: Illustration on U.S. responses to Chinese expansion in the South China Sea by Alexander Hunter/The Washington TimesExcerpt:
After five months of almost visible equivocation, on Oct. 27 the Obama administration allowed the destroyer USS Lassen to patrol within 12 nautical miles of China’s newly built and illegal island military bases in the South China Sea. ...
A dramatic buildup to the Freedom of Navigation Operation, however, allowed China to conduct a political and psychological warfare exercise portraying the United States as an invader violating China’s sovereignty, justifying threatening suggestions of military action, including the use of China’s new long-range anti-ship ballistic missiles. ...
It is ... imperative that Washington accelerate military cooperation with the Philippines by offering Manila a substantial military aid package, including combat aircraft, ships, and short-range ballistic missiles that can strike China’s new island bases if they are used against the Philippines. Washington should also work to accelerate intentions to station U.S. aircraft and ships at Philippine bases. In addition, fifth-generation fighters should be sold to Taiwan.
Washington should also encourage the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam to elevate public diplomacy by using their islands for safety and rescue cooperation, activities China could join if it dismantles its new islands. But since China now wants to threaten war in the South China Sea, it is necessary for Washington to create the basis for a new armed peace that deters Beijing.