By John Galt
June 22, 2011
The dispute in the South China Sea with China involving several nations is about escalate one more notch as the PLA announced the first sea tests for the former Soviet aircraft carrier, the Varyag. The refurbishment is complete and training exercises are expected to start on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1st which is a sharp message being sent to its neighbors in the region.
While there appears to be some calming of the situation with joint naval patrols being held with Vietnam, a scathing editorial in a Chinese newspaper(via the Tapei Times) said the following:
“If Vietnam wishes to create a war in the South China Sea, China will resolutely keep them company,” the Global Times said. “China has the absolute might to crush the naval fleets sent from Vietnam. China will show no mercy to its rival due to ‘global impact’ concerns.”
Thus the timing of this sailing and the perceived threats from the Philippines and US naval exercises in the region only add to the existing tensions. The timing of this sailing is unfortunate for the West with all of the attention being focused on the financial crisis and military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The next ratcheting up of Sino-American relations will not be when they begin construction of their own aircraft carrier constructed from the keel up, but when they elect to take this vessel around the Pacific on a “goodwill” tour. I am sure that an American port will be included to foster “friendly” relations between America and its central banker, the People’s Republic of China.