USS Carl Vinson

USS Carl Vinson

On 18th Feb 2017, the United States deployed the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The Vinson carries a flight group of more than 60 aircraft, including F/A-18 jet fighters.

What are US intentions in the South China Sea?

On 18th Feb 2017, the United States deployed the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The Vinson carries a flight group of more than 60 aircraft, including F/A-18 jet fighters.

Why are there Tensions between US & China

  • Territory: China’s creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea, equipped with weapon systems has increased tensions between US and China. China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including islands more than 800 miles from the Chinese mainland, despite objections from neighbours such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam. 
  • Trade: Chinese trade practices allegedly involves government subsidized export promotions. This makes competition difficult for US and other international players. 
  • Currency: US has also accused China of currency manipulation, making trade unfair in the international markets. 

China’s Concern

US is conducting military training exercises with allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Philippines hosted the crew of the attack submarine, USS Louisville in Subic Bay. This is a cause of concern for China as US military presence in the South China Sea is becoming more prominent with the passing trainings and routine operations.

About 30% of global maritime trade (US $5.3 trillion) passes through the South China Sea. It is also a rich source for fishing and oil and natural gas reserves. Losing control over the South China Sea to the has serious financial implications for China.

Assessment

US presence in the South China Sea on the basis of freedom of navigation operations seems like an open show of US might. The objective seems to be to send China a clear signal to stop artificial island building and deny access to those islands built. US seems to also be acting as a mediator between China and the neighboring countries, which oppose China’s role in the South China Sea.  

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