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Top U.S. Naval Officer Describes Provocative Strategy Towards China

April 30, 2019 (EIRNS)—Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said yesterday that the deployment of two U.S. destroyers through the Taiwan Strait on April 20 is the expression of a strategy in which the U.S. will be making the first moves “so that we can force our competitors to respond.” To justify this overt justification of provocations, he told an audience at the New America Foundation that “in the ideal world we would want our competitors to respond to our moves instead of us responding to them.... We would want to make many of the first moves on our own.”

“It’s easy to think of this as a bilateral approach, but it’s really a regional approach we have that is trying to make all of our allies and partners more resilient” through constant U.S. operations and training events, Richardson said. Running so-called Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS) near Taiwan and tiny islands constructed by China in the South China Sea not only reminds Beijing that its claims are allegedly illegal under international law and not recognized by Washington, but, Richardson said, “it goes to this idea of response time as well, so we can respond and anticipate” actions of competitors. “The idea that our competitors are responding to [us] rather than always being in response mode ourselves.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Gen Shuang made clear during his regular press briefing on April 29 that U.S. Navy provocations in the Taiwan Strait risk damaging U.S.-China relations. “China closely followed and monitored from start to end the U.S. warships’ sailing through the Taiwan Strait and has expressed concerns to the U.S. side,” he said.

“The Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive element in China-U.S. relations. We urge the U.S. to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques and prudently and properly handle issues related to Taiwan to avoid negative impact on China-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”