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Mark J. Valencia:
By Mark J. Valencia - 19 May 2017
It appears that Trump has paused criticism and actions against China in exchange for its assistance in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear program. This transactional approach means that his foreign policy is negotiable and not based on principles.
By Mark J. Valencia - 12 May 2017
The US flies hundreds of ISR missions every year to collect communications between the target country’s command-and-control centers and radar and weapons systems. The initial deployment of the Carl Vinson strike force was to the South China Sea. Are these probes and the deployment a violation of the UN Charter?
Some US and foreign media have used the information to convince the Trump administration that China presents an imminent threat to US interests in the South China Sea. But the burgeoning drumbeat for the US to confront China should be considered with a healthy dose of skepticism.
If negotiations resulted in a “freeze” in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and a lowering of the risk of war, South Korea and Japan would probably be better off than living under constant threat. To obtain this concession from North Korea, the US would have to make genuine compromises.
Analysts trying to parse US policy in the Trump era regarding the South China Sea must be prepared for stark contradictions and intellectual whiplash. It is too early to draw conclusions regarding US-China relations in the South China Sea or in general.
In the run-up to Donald Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States, advocates of a more aggressive US foreign policy towards China unleashed a barrage of hawkish commentaries and proposals. Most comments focused on China’s behavior in the South China Sea.
On January 11, 2017, US President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made several intemperate remarks. Most provocatively he said that China’s access to the features it has built up in the South China Sea is not going to be “allowed.”
US underwater drones can be categorized as Force Net, Sea Shield, Sea Strike and Sea Base. Force Net includes the missions of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and oceanography. Some may even be weaponized. Thus, it is easy to be uncertain regarding the mission of particular UUVs.