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US-CHINA

Chinese military spokesperson Colonel Tian Junli has said that China has issued an 'eviction warning' to US warship USS Benfold operating in disputed waters around the Xisha island chain in the South China Sea.

  • The official statement from the Chinese military read: 'We solemnly demand that the US side immediately stop such provocative actions, otherwise it will bear the serious consequences of unforeseen events'.
  • Whilst this event isn't in itself a dramatic escalation of tensions in the region it highlights the increasing assertiveness of Chinese militarisation of the South China Sea.
  • The Xisha Islands are claimed by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan but China holds de facto control through military infrastructure on the island chain.
  • The US military has a stated foreign policy objective of maintaining freedom of navigation in the South China Sea but the Biden administration has been criticised for its lack of military presence in the region.
  • Increased Chinese assertiveness could be another headache for US foreign policy makers as the so called 'pivot to the East' is being challenged by Russian aggression in Ukraine focusing US military and diplomatic attention on NATO's European defence framework.
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3850 | adam.burrowes@marketnews.com

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