Top US Navy officer to visit China amid heightened tensions

The U.S. Navy’s high officer will visit China beginning Sunday amid rising frictions within the South China Sea and different tensions underscoring their rivalry for dominance in Asia.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson will meet along with his counterpart Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong and leaders of China’s Central Military Commission throughout his visit to Beijing and the jap metropolis of Nanjing lasting by way of Wednesday, the Navy stated.

The aim of the visit, Richardson’s second as head of operations, is to “continue a results-oriented, risk reduction focused dialogue” between the 2 militaries, the Navy stated.

“A routine exchange of views is essential, especially in times of friction, in order to reduce risk and avoid miscalculation,” the discharge quoted Richardson as saying. “Honest and frank dialogue can improve the relationship in constructive ways, help explore areas where we share common interests, and reduce risk while we work through our differences.”

Richardson and Shen met beforehand on the 2018 International Seapower Symposium within the U.S. and have held three discussions through video teleconference, the newest in December, the discharge stated.

China has lengthy chafed on the sturdy U.S. naval presence in its area, seeing that as a key part of a method to include its growth.

In current years, the South China Sea has change into the principle space of competition, house to islands, wealthy fishing grounds, undersea mineral deposits and delivery lanes by way of which go an estimated $5 trillion in items yearly. China claims just about the complete waterway on historic grounds and has strengthened its maintain by way of the fortification of its island holdings and the development and man-made outposts by piling sand and concrete atop coral reefs.

Five different governments additionally train overlapping claims within the space and whereas the U.S. takes no formal place on sovereignty, it insists on the precise to navigation and overflight, together with in air and waters inside the territorial limits surrounding China’s holdings.

Such freedom of navigation operations meant to assert such rights have enraged China, which has vowed to take no matter measures to thwart them.

While these often contain the dispatch of ships and plane to warn off U.S. vessels, in late September, a Chinese destroyer got here perilously shut to the USS Decatur within the South China Sea in what the U.S. Navy referred to as an “unsafe and unprofessional maneuver.” Navy officers downplayed the incident, calling it unlucky, uncommon and one thing they’d like to keep away from in future.

Richardson has stated such patrols spotlight the U.S. place in opposition to “illegitimate maritime claims.”

Chinese navy academy researcher Senior Captain Zhang Junshe stated Wednesday that Beijing could additional fortify the outposts relying on perceived threats.

While the perimeters have sought to enhance understanding and signed agreements to deal with surprising confrontations at air and sea, deep distrust lingers.

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