Top Ranking U.S. Navy Officers Plans to Visit China As tensions Intensify
Top U.S. Navy Officers are scheduled to visit China starting on Sunday as tension between the two superpowers intensifies. The United States claims that the visit aims to continue a "results-oriented, risk reduction focused dialogue" with the Asian nation.
The navy said that United States Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, will meet with Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong and leaders of China's Central Military Commission during his visit to Beijing and the eastern city of Nanjing.
Richardson said that a routine exchange of views is essential especially in times of friction in order to reduce risk and avoid miscalculation. He also said that honest and frank dialogue can improve the relationship in constructive ways, help explore areas where we share common interests, and reduce risk while the two parties work through their differences.
The two navy officials met previously during the 2018 International Seapower Symposium in the United States and they have held three discussions through a video teleconference. Recently, China complains about the rampant presence of the United States in the Asian region. The country claims that the United States exercise in the areas is a key component to contain the country's development.
The South China Sea has been one of the main areas that intensify the tensions between the two nations. The region is home to islands that can be used as a tactical base, it is also a rich fishing ground, it has sufficient undersea mineral deposits, and it is strategic maritime routes that pass an estimated $5 trillion in goods every year.
China claims most parts of the area is based on historical grounds. The country has established its hold in the area by fortifying some of its islands through the construction of Chinese posts. Five other Asian countries questions the countries claims emphasizing their rights based on the international court ruling. The United States, on the other hand, insists their right to navigate and overflight within the territorial limits that surrounds China's territory.
The freedom of navigation claimed by the United States is condemned by China and they vowed to take necessary measures to prevent intrusion in the region. In September, a Chinese destroyer approached the USS Decatur in the South China Sea. The western nation said that the Chinese vessels move is an "unsafe and unprofessional maneuver". Richardson said that the incident highlights the U.S. position against "illegitimate maritime claims".