Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 28 December 2016, 05:30 hrs, UTC, Post #64.
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Accessed on 28 December 2016, 05:30 hrs, UTC.
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According to “Reuters”, tensions in the South China Sea are rising following the passage of a Chinese task force past Taiwan. The Chinese naval force, led by China’s Russian-built aircraft carrier “Liaoning”, sailed past Taiwan en route to the island of Hainan, just northeast of Vietnam.
Taiwan views the passage as a direct threat to its sovereignty and is watching the voyage closely. Mainland China considers Taiwan a rogue province and wants to incorporate the dissident island as part of the “Greater China.”
The “Reuters” reporting team added this observation:
“The Liaoning has taken part in previous exercises, including in the South China Sea, but China is years away from perfecting carrier operations similar to those the US has practiced for decades.
Last December, the defense ministry confirmed that China was building a second aircraft carrier but said its launch date was unclear. The aircraft carrier program is a state secret.
Beijing could build multiple aircraft carriers over the next 15 years, the Pentagon said in a report last year.”
Mainland China is using this voyage of the aircraft carrier Liaoning to project its power and influence over Southeast Asia, particularly in the strategic Paracel and Spratly Islands. Many of these islands are claimed by China, Malaysia, The Philippines, and even Taiwan. China has already built military and civil aviation facilities on some of these low-lying islands. The current convoy to Hainan Island is part of China’s efforts to impress neighboring nations of its ability to project power despite the presence of the U.S. Navy. A confrontation between Chinese and U.S. naval forces is a distinct possibility.
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Hawaii Intelligence Digest