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Beijing is deliberately provoking the US and its regional allies in the East Sea

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Chức năng bình luận bị tắt ở Beijing is deliberately provoking the US and its regional allies in the East Sea
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With the Biden administration currently focused on conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, there is a concern that a new crisis may emerge in another part of the world. One area of particular concern is the Pacific region, with China being seen as a key troublemaker.

China’s actions in the disputed South China Sea have raised alarm. Beijing appears to be deliberately provoking the United States and its regional ally, the Philippines. The South China Sea has long been viewed as a potential flashpoint between the United States and China. It is crucial to resume military-to-military contacts and establish a crisis communications hotline to prevent unintentional mishaps from escalating into a full-blown conflict.

China’s recent conduct in the South China Sea seems deliberate and calculated. Chinese vessels intentionally collided with a Philippine coast guard ship and a supply vessel, which were trying to resupply a Philippine marine detachment stationed on a contested outpost called Second Thomas Shoal. China’s actions amount to a de facto blockade of the shoal and should not be tolerated. The Philippines rightly condemned China’s dangerous and illegal behavior.

China has also increased provocative maneuvers against U.S. aircraft flying in international airspace over the disputed South China Sea. A Chinese jet attempted a reckless nighttime intercept of a U.S. B-52 bomber, coming within just 10 feet of the aircraft. The U.S. military released a video capturing the near collision, accusing the Chinese pilot of unsafe and unprofessional behavior.

There are speculations that President Xi Jinping may be trying to divert attention from growing domestic problems, such as a faltering economy and a leadership crisis. Recent dismissals of key officials within the ruling Communist Party have raised concerns about an isolated autocrat unable to trust his own subordinates. China may be testing the United States’ focus on other global crises, such as Israel’s conflict with Hamas and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It is imperative for the Biden administration to send constant reminders to Beijing and its allies in the region that the United States is a Pacific power capable of handling multiple crises simultaneously. President Biden’s recent statements alongside Australia’s prime minister, emphasizing the ironclad defense commitment to the Philippines, are a step in the right direction. Restating this deterrent commitment is necessary to ensure China does not test it.

In conclusion, while the Biden administration is currently engaged in important conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, it must not overlook the rising tensions and provocation by China in the South China Sea. Maintaining strong military-to-military contacts and sending a clear message of deterrence are crucial in preventing further escalations and protecting the interests of the United States and its allies in the region.

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