South China Sea waves: rockets and punishment

On the morning of August 26, when the second night of the congress of the Republican Party in the United States gradually came to an end, two Chinese Dong Phong anti-ship ballistic missiles left their launchers from secret positions in two provinces of Zhejiang and Qinghai and rushed towards the South China Sea.

Less than half a day later, the US State Department and Commerce Department announced sanctions against 24 companies and dozens of Chinese individuals involved in the accretion and militarization of artificial entities in the South China Sea.

The risk of a collision like?

Two consecutive moves of the US and China related to the South China Sea issue signaled that this region will continue to witness hot developments from now until the US election in November. One of the two Chinese missiles launched in the South China Sea is Dong Phong 26B (DF-26B), a type of missile that China confidently dubbed the “carrier killer”, according to the South China Morning Post.

The source of this newspaper confirmed that the missile shoot was to “respond and discourage US provocations” in the area, implying that the US U-2 spy plane appeared in the Chinese practice area. battle.

The risk of a clash between the US and China in the South China Sea is there, according to analysts, but the likelihood of it happening is very low, because both are restrained and only want to show the power of deterring and reassuring regional allies. field.

Both the moves of the US and China related to the South China Sea on August 26 surprised experts, but not surprisingly, because they had been forecasts.

Talking to Tuoi Tre , Master Nguyen The Phuong of the Center for International Studies (University of Social Sciences and Humanities – National University of Ho Chi Minh City) commented: “China’s exercise itself is a message, but the It is only the weight of the message to send in that exercise.The launch of the DF-21D and DF-26B anti-ship ballistic missiles as the Hong Kong newspaper has said was a sudden move, but the message remains the same: warn the US and demonstrate China’s ability and willingness to fight “.

DF-26B is a specially designed missile that allows “hot change” of conventional warheads into nuclear warheads in a short time.

From a strategic perspective, according to The Phuong expert, the shooting of the DF-26B could be to test the tactical performance of this missile, but also sent a message reminding the US that China already owns. weapons preventing the US from entering the first island chain.

The US is open to the possibility of further sanctions

“Washington will continue to act until China ends coercive acts in the South China Sea, towards the common good, and behaves in a friendly and respectful manner with respect to neighboring countries,” the State Department said. sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals participating in building artificial islands in the South China Sea on August 26 (Vietnam time).

During a telephone press conference held by the US State Department on August 27 (Vietnam time), a senior US diplomat emphasized that the sanctions on August 26 were just the beginning.

For observers, the August 26 sanction was announced from July 13 by announcing a new US stance on the South China Sea. US Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell later insisted that “all measures, including punishment” of companies involved in building artificial islands and assisting China in coercing other countries were taken into account.

The absence of the China Marine Petroleum Corporation (CNOOC) this time sanctions list shows that the possibility that oil companies and Chinese surveyors have harassed the oil and gas activities of other countries in the South China Sea will be punished. penalty at another time. CNOOC owns the rig HD-981 that encroached upon Vietnam’s waters in 2014.

Calling the 24 sanctioned companies instrumental in China’s “hunting tactics”, the US diplomat said: “Washington has many goals ranging from forcing them to pay the price for bad behavior. to encourage global governments and companies to reassess their relationships with these companies. “

One of the most prominent names on the list of sanctions is China Traffic Construction Corporation (CCCC). Not only participating in the process of illegally accreting and building artificial entities in the South China Sea, the US has identified CCCC as the leading contractor used by Beijing in its “Belt and Road” initiative.

After declaring a new stance on the South China Sea and pledging to assist countries whose sovereignty was violated by China, the biggest question arises as to what the US will do to prove this promise.

The August 26 punishment was an attempt to reassure America. What surprised experts was that Washington did so so quickly that it took just over a month and a half to identify the Chinese companies involved.

Decisive battle

Vice Admiral Scott Conn, commander of the US Navy’s 3rd Fleet, on August 27 confirmed the report of the Chinese missile shootout. “Our forces are constantly monitoring drills in the region, including the latest Chinese drills. The US Navy will be ready to respond to any threats posed to them. US allies and partners in the region. We have 38 warships in the region and will continue to operate wherever international law allows, “Conn stressed during a morning telephone press conference. 27-8.

From Beijing, at a press conference the same afternoon, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spoke out against the US sanctions, accusing Washington of interfering with “internal affairs” and demanding “immediate corrections”. .

The Chinese Ministry of Defense then also urged the US to “stop provoking” and emphasized that exercises in the East China Sea and East China Sea “are routine activities, not targeting any country”.

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