- According to certain security specialists, it was very plausible that American assault submarines were also nearby such a formation.
- According to diplomats who are familiar with its route, the strike group made a U-turn and instead made its way to Singapore for a five-day stopover beginning on July 22.
Nancy Pelosi’s Tuesday flight over Borneo to Taipei and a U.S. aircraft carrier’s convoluted transit in the South China Sea draw attention to the challenges U.S. forces are currently facing in dealing with a Chinese military eager to exercise its might over Taiwan.
According to diplomats, military attachés, and security analysts, although U.S. military officials frequently mention “regular” patrols to promote a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” the realities are becoming more difficult in light of the worst Taiwan tensions since 1996.
This week, U.S. officials told Reuters that they did not want to stir up trouble with needlessly aggressive deployments before House Speaker Pelosi, the third-ranking American politician and a vocal opponent of China, arrived in Taipei.
They believe the Chinese military is conducting live shooting drills in the waterways that encircle and in some cases cut through Taiwan’s territory, but they are continuing to take that stance.
One defence official remarked, “We can control how we react. We can’t control Pelosi’s trip.”
When Reuters asked the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii about its tactics and actions, they did not react right away.
As it took a longer path over the island of Borneo and the eastern edge of the Philippines on Tuesday, the aircraft carrying Pelosi and her congressional party skirted the South China Sea and its defended islands.
The South China Sea is currently covered in radars, sensors, and jammer equipment on China’s island outposts, so the logical flight path would travel over that region instead. This is something to avoid in the Pelosi context, according to a security consultant from Singapore.
The South China Sea is currently covered in radars, sensors, and jammer equipment on China’s island facilities, so the logical flight path would travel over that region instead. This is something to avoid in the Pelosi context, according to Singapore-based security expert Alexander Neill.
“Based on how things are going, it’s clear that avoiding uncontrolled escalation is the main objective here.”
Chinese coast guard ships, cruisers, and aircraft regularly patrol deep into Southeast Asia’s maritime interior after establishing outposts in the disputed Paracel and Spratlys archipelagos, frequently trailing the navies of the United States and other nations.
Some security analysts claim that given China’s recent military modernization, it would be impossible for American aircraft carriers to confront Chinese forces in the waters off Taiwan in the same way they did 25 years ago.
Back then, when Beijing disputed Taiwan’s first direct presidential election, one carrier sailed through the Taiwan Strait while another manoeuvred near by to put an end to days of Chinese missile launches and military exercises.
According to tracking by the independent U.S. Naval Institute, more than half of the 111 battle force ships that the U.S. Navy has currently deployed are now under the jurisdiction of the Seventh Fleet, which is stationed in Japan and controls the western Pacific and Indian seas.
Given China’s arsenal of sophisticated cruise and ballistic missiles and its sizable surface fleet, regional security analysts think mass ship deployment to the Chinese coast is another issue.
According to Reuters, the guided missile cruiser USS Antietam, the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli, and the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan are all present east of Taiwan. Nearby in Japan, a second assault ship that flies F-35 strike fighters is docked.
According to certain security specialists, it was very plausible that American assault submarines were also nearby such a formation.
Security analysts in the area paid special attention to the Reagan strike group’s passing in the days leading up to Pelosi’s mission.
Following patrols in the southern South China Sea close to China’s fortifications in the Spratly Islands, Radio Free Asia reported last month that a ship was scheduled to dock in the central Vietnamese port of Danang in July.
According to diplomats who are familiar with its route, the strike group made a U-turn and instead made its way to Singapore for a five-day stopover beginning on July 22.
According to statements made by regional marine authorities, the action was taken when China began drills between July 16 and July 20 surrounding its sites farther north in the Paracel islands, east of Danang, that covered 100,000 square km.
However, a U.S. Navy official told Reuters this week that schedules “frequently change” without confirmation or notification. Neither U.S. nor Vietnamese officials have commented on the alteration or the rationale for it.
According to a U.S. naval Facebook page, the Reagan later travelled via the Philippines’ narrow sealanes before arriving in waters west of Taiwan.
Collin Koh, a security expert based in Singapore, referred to the aircraft carrier’s unorthodox route through the San Bernadino Strait in the Philippines as opposed to going north between the Philippine and south Chinese coasts.
“I believe it demonstrates some carefully calibrated deployments, intended to not overprove.