A month ago, Beijing called the American expeditions FONOP (Freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea) very dangerous and fraught with military escalation between the two countries. As an example, the incident was given on September 30, 2018, when there was a threat of a real clash between the Chinese destroyer type 052C Luyang (“Destroyer”) and the US destroyer USS Decatur.
This was a little forgotten, but the other day there were unexpected details that had the effect of a bombshell. The Hong Kong edition of the Morning Post has published a new video that clearly shows that Luyang made a dangerous maneuver to force the other side to obey – the Americans. The material for some reason is provided by mail by the British Ministry of Defense.
But the most interesting thing is the words of the Chinese captain, which were addressed to American sailors! But about them a bit later.
Recall, since 2011, America regularly conducts expeditions FONOP. The raids were initiated by US President Barack Obama, who ordered his ships to come closer than 12 miles to the bulk islands, which the Celestial Empire considers its territories. Thus, Washington intends to ignore the sea borders of China, apparently, demonstrates the international status of the disputed waters. Trump has not changed this policy and even tightened it.
By the way, this is mainly about the mounds on the coastal shallows, that is, on the shoals that go directly from the coastline. As a rule, similar artificial islands do not cause heated international disputes. After all, America does not send its fleet in Dubai to the man-made Palm Islands.
In fact, the seabed structure allows Beijing to extend its jurisdiction to 80% of the South China Sea. So he does, relying on Article 13 of the UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea).
But Americans, of course, did not like it since the 1980s. In the end, after another dispute around the reef of Sibi, located in the immediate vicinity of the Sandy Kay cliff, which belongs to the Middle Kingdom, the very same FONOP began. At the same time, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, which rejected 100% Chinese arguments, behaved in a strange way, although it did not recognize them as incorrect.
So, on September 29, 2018, Washington circulated a message about the possible sale of military aircraft components to Taiwan. At the same time, the campaign of the USS Decatur began in the 12-mile zone of man-made islands in the area of the Spratly archipelago, which, in addition to China, is claimed by Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei. The purpose of the provocation was obvious – to withdraw the dubious contract from the fire of the fair criticism of Beijing.
The Pentagon stated: “The United States Navy will be present wherever international shipping permits, these operations are carefully calibrated to comply with legal rights.” Here is another phrase from a US defense warning: “In the past, China reacted correctly to Washington’s verbal indignation and generally practiced safe navigation of US Navy ships.”
In short, America decided to again demonstrate who the real owner in the South China Sea, and notified China in advance. However, after the trade war launched by America and the anti-Chinese rhetoric that started in the United States, Beijing began to act tough.
In the area of the Gaven reef across the USS Decatur, a 052C type destroyer Luyang was launched. We add that Gaven declared the territory of the People’s Republic of China back in 1988, and today is a man-made island of 34 hectares.
The fact that the incident actually happened is demonstrated by the same Morning Post video, which includes a new audio and video information about the incident. The Chinese ship Luyang approached the American destroyer at a distance of 16 meters, after which the USS Decatur was forced to obey “to prevent a collision.” A special piquancy of the situation adds the “last Chinese warning.”
“You are on a dangerous course,” said Captain of Luyang. “If you do not change course, your ship will suffer the consequences.” No one in modern history has ever told such a thing to the sailors of the US Navy. Yes, the Chinese had previously asked the Yankees to leave the territorial waters of the PRC. So, in May 2015, the crew of the P-8A Poseidon, flying over this artificial island, received the following message: “Please go … to avoid misunderstanding.”
But to threaten is great.
However it was the first time when someone threatened the great United States with “consequences”. Captain Charles Brown, a representative of the US Pacific Fleet, addressed the public through CNN: “The Chinese destroyer made an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver.”
In fact, behind Charles Brown’s toothless commentary there is an ordinary fear. And the Chinese “Destroyer” maneuver seems to be the most serious attempt by the Chinese Navy to challenge the FONOP policy in the South China Sea.
The Department of Defense of China did not stint harsh words: “The US side repeatedly sent warships to the waters located near the islands of South China without permission, which seriously threatens the sovereignty and security of China and damages China-US military relations, regional peace and stability. The Chinese armed forces are categorically against this. ”
Thus, the phrase of Captain of Luyang to the American sailors gained historical meaning. Washington really needs to understand that he is “on a dangerous course.” It is also becoming obvious that the United States is not ready to go into a direct clash, even with a rival not equal in military might, but at the same time in every way demonstrating its “musculature”.
Unfortunately, the current Russia has a weaker fleet than China, but the incident in the Gaven reef area should become an example for our Black Sea fleet, especially with regard to the mosquitoes of the Ukrainian Navy.