Freedom of the seas

The Trump Administration in the tradition of the American state from its origins and backed by an even older but allied British modus operandi is pursuing freedom of the seas.

That was why the USS Stockdale (DDG-106) and USNS Pecos (T-AO-197), an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and a Henry Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler, sailed through the Taiwan Strait Wednesday, “Nov. 28 (local time), in accordance with what a U.S. spokesman called “a routine Taiwan Strait Transit on Nov. 28 (local time), in accordance with international law.”
However, the possibility of misunderstandings and accidents appears to continue at a high level due to the counterclaims of the U.S. and China to passageways in this area and others.

For example, the U.S. claims the Taiwan Strait, the channel between the Mainland and Taiwan Island, is an international waterway and therefore subject to transit by its ships at any time without permissions from China [or Taiwan].
Lt. J.G. Rachel McMarr, a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesperson, told USNI News in an email: “The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The U.S. Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.”

Beijing, with its unrewarded claims on Taiwan sovereignty as part of China, routinely complains the U.S. military transits arguing sailing through the region infringes on China’s sovereignty. Along with the roughly 110-mile-wide Taiwan Strait, China also claims several reefs and artificial islands in the South China Sea as part of its sovereign territory, claims Washington says are not always supported by international law.

Earlier on Oct. 22, the two non-Chinese ships transited the Taiwan Strait with no incidents, according to Pentagon officials. But shortly after Chinese officials hinted they would defend their territory against expected future U.S. Navy transits of the Taiwan Strait. At the end of September, a Luyang-class destroyer had steamed on a near-collision-course with USS Decatur (DDG-73) as both ships traveled near the Gaven Reef. In this case, Decatur was finishing a Freedom of Navigation Operation in the area past some high-tide elevations.

“We have noticed related reports. China’s position on Taiwan and the South China Sea remains unchanged. The Chinese military’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty and regional peace and stability is rock-solid,” Senior Col. Wu Qian, the director general of the Information Office of Beijing’s Ministry of National Defense, said a month ago according to a state-issued English translation of his monthly press briefing. In this case, Decatur was finishing a Freedom of Navigation Operation in the area past some high-tide elevations.

The dispute about use of the waterways is only part of a continuing U.S.-China standoff on a number of issues. The relationship between the U.S. and China has become not only extensive but intense.

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd, for example, is a Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics company based in Shenzhen, Guangdong with180,000 (2017) employees and with a net income‎ of ‎CN¥47.455 billion [US$7.276 billion].

Huawei provides networking products and telecommunication solutions to a wide group of customers outside China and including the U.S. and Canada. The Company researches and develops internet access, transmission network, servers, storage, security, and other networking products. It also offers business consulting, network integration, assurance, managed, learning, and global delivery services.

Despite President Trump’s statement that he might intervene in a criminal case against the chief financial officer of Huawei, who was arrested in Canada for deportation to the U.S., such a move would break from longstanding tradition and advisers have warned him that his options are limited, according to people familiar with the matter.


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