As tensions between the U.S. and China remain elevated, a recent incident in the South China Sea has upped the ante.
According to a report from The New York Times, Chinese military forces fired multiple medium-range missiles into the sea in an apparent warning to American counterparts regarding the communist regime’s self-affirmed sovereignty over the disputed waters.
“Not directed at any country”
On one level, experts believe the barrage of missiles is part of China’s ongoing effort to lay claim to a stretch of islands in the area known as Spratlys.
Furthermore, the military exercise has been interpreted as an act of intimidation directed at Taiwan as China continues to put pressure on the self-governing island. For its part, China has denied any such theories.
“The above exercises are not directed at any country,” Colonel Wu Qian of the Chinese Ministry Defense said, according to the Times.
In the eyes of the Pentagon and other U.S. experts, however, the act was an apparent signal to America and its allies in the region.
“The growing frequency of exercises and the new types of capabilities displayed demonstrate the progress China has achieved in its military modernization drive over the past two decades,” Taylor Fravel, a Chinese military expert who serves as director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program, said, as the Times reported.
“38 ships underway”
As the Pentagon explained in its statement confirming the missile launch, China’s decision to conduct “military exercises over disputed territory in the South China Sea is counterproductive to easing tensions and maintaining stability.”
Vice Admiral Scott D. Conn, commander of the U.S. 3rd Fleet, recently confirmed that “the U.S. Navy has 38 ships underway today in the Indo-Pacific region, including in the South China Sea,” according to Stripes.
While the U.S. military is certainly prepared to meet the challenges presented by such Chinese provocations, this missile launch was the latest in a troubling series of military exercises.
President Donald Trump has been outspoken in his insistence for America to address China from a position of strength.
That might mean the communist regime is hoping for a win in November by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. It could also be a motivator for undecided voters to cast a ballot for Trump on Election Day.