China, US at loggerheads as RIMPAC naval war games set to begin
-: R Muthu Kumar :-
The U.S. Navy has said it will host the world’s largest maritime exercises in Hawaii again this year, but the drills will only be held at sea because of the coronavirus.
The Pacific Fleet said in a statement RIMPAC 2020 would not include social events on shore. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will host a “minimal footprint” of staff for logistics and support functions.
It said the modified exercise was a way to “conduct a meaningful exercise with maximum training value and minimum risk to the force, allies and partners, and the people of Hawaii.”
The drills will also be held over two weeks, from Aug. 17-31.
A Philippine naval ship has already set sail for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) drills. Other nations expected to attend include Vietnam, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Meanwhile, China has deployed warships and sent fighter jets on a long-haul flight to bases it occupies in the disputed Spratly island chain, according to satellite imagery and state media, in the latest show of Chinese military strength in the South China Sea.
That comes ahead of a major, multi-nation military exercise led by the United States near Hawaii which will be attended by nations across the Indo-Pacific.
The U.S. updated its position on the South China Sea last month, refuting China’s insistence on holding maritime rights to the area and calling China’s claims to features that sit on the Philippine continental shelf “illegal.”
U.S. President Donald Trump’s rapid-fire escalation of attacks on China — from bans of WeChat and TikTok to sanctions on Hong Kong’s top official — underscores that he’s dropped past restraint and decided to make confronting Beijing his priority less than 90 days before the U.S. election.
The U.S. ordered the closing of China’s consulate in Houston in July, alleging that it had become a hub of espionage and intellectual property theft.
The next jittery move is the move by U.S. regulators that stock exchanges set new rules that could trigger the delisting of Chinese companies. The administration argues that American investors could be exposed to fraud because Beijing refuses to allow Washington regulators to inspect the audit papers of companies based in mainland China and Hong Kong.
The further irritant to China is sure to be Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, who is expected to arrive in Taiwan within days in the highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official since Washington cut ties with Taipei more than 40 years ago.
It is also pertinent to note that the U.S. allies in Europe haven’t been nearly as willing to follow the U.S. in its more antagonistic approach, arguing that the best approach is to confront China where necessary while cooperating where possible — on issues such as counter terrorism, climate change and nonproliferation.
All these points to a cold war chill that was present days before World War II, and the world fears Trump is fanning the fumes of war cloud like his many predecessors who waged war as a means to stamp authority in global affairs and get a mileage among voters.
In the midst of an ever-worsening economic scenario in America,as the countdown to November 3 is less than 100 day away, 87 days to be precise, fear of war erupting in a major scale is sure a big threat to global peace.
The team behind president Trumo hasn’t admitted publicly that his popularity is waning, but it seems to be there in the minds of Americans.
Following these developments Trump sows doubt about the integrity of the election, rises the war to words with China, and all for what? one wonders.