Showdown in the South China Sea: Why China or America Won't Backdown

Showdown in the South China Sea: Why China or America Won't BackdownThe South China Sea is once again rapidly becoming a major point of contention between Washington and Beijing, with both sides refusing to back down. Two U.S. Navy warships — the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam — conducted a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea Saturday, sailing within twelve nautical miles of several Chinese-controlled islands in the Paracels, territories the Chinese military forcefully seized from Vietnam in the 1970s. Asserting that the American vessels entered China’s territorial waters “without the permission of the Chinese government,” the Chinese Ministry of National Defense explained that the Chinese military “immediately dispatched warships to identify and inspect the American ships according to law, and warned them to depart.” This claim has not been verified.



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