Tags: Trump Administration | navy | trump | chinese islands

Navy Under Trump Avoids Chinese 'Islands'

Image: Navy Under Trump Avoids Chinese 'Islands'
President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up while speaking to Navy and shipyard personnel aboard nuclear aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford, Thursday, March 2, 2017, at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By    |   Wednesday, 03 May 2017 10:50 AM

The United States Navy has yet to send a ship within 12 miles of any disputed islands in the South China Sea under President Donald Trump.

Although Trump said during his presidential campaign that former President Barack Obama had been weak defending international waters from China, he has yet to increase Navy patrols in the region to cut off the country's access to the artificial islands.

In an interview with The New York Times in March of last year, Trump said those islands built by China were "a military fortress, the likes of which perhaps the world has not seen."

"Amazing, actually," he added. "They do that at will because they have no respect for our president and they have no respect for our country."

Freedom of navigation operations, known as Fonops, have not increased under Trump despite "all of the language, combined with the fact that the Republican foreign policy establishment had been critical of Obama for not carrying out enough Fonops, means there was a wide expectation that Trump would put down a marker early," Kissinger Institute director Robert Daly told the Times.

"And that hasn't happened."

Upon entering office, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called China's island-building "akin to Russia's taking of Crimea," and that Trump's administration was "going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops" and, "second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed."

Anonymous Defense Department officials told the Times that Pacific Command asked for a naval excursion inside 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal to show Beijing that island-building is a red line.

The officials added that this appeared in-line with the Trump administration's wishes, though they also said that Defense Secretary James Mattis and Pentagon officials are reviewing the effects of these excursions on national security policy.

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The United States Navy has yet to send a ship within 12 miles of any disputed islands in the South China Sea under President Donald Trump.
navy, trump, chinese islands
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2017-50-03
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 10:50 AM
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