The U.S. Pacific Fleet is drafting up plans for a global show of force to warn China and demonstrate resolve to deter Beijing’s military actions, CNN reported, citing several unidentified U.S. defense officials.
The draft proposal from the Navy recommends that the Pacific Fleet conduct a series of operations during a single week in November that would involve American warships, combat aircraft and troops to demonstrate that the U.S. can counter potential adversaries quickly on several fronts, CNN said.
“We plan for a variety of contingencies and different operations, but we do not comment on future operations,” said U.S. Navy Captain William Kafka, spokesman for Indo-Pacific Command.
The proposal was being driven by the military, CNN reported. The plan suggests sailing ships and flying aircraft near China’s territorial waters in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait in freedom of navigation operations to demonstrate the right of free passage in international waters, the report said.
China has publicized a series of military exercises in recent months, with President Xi Jinping presiding over the country’s biggest-ever fleet review in April. Last month, roughly 3,200 Chinese soldiers and 30 aircraft participated in Russia’s largest military drills since the Cold War.
Earlier this week, the U.S. accused China’s navy of “unsafe and unprofessional” conduct near an occupied reef in the South China Sea after a Chinese destroyer maneuvered close to the bow of an American warship attempting to assert navigation rights. While close encounters between U.S. and Chinese forces are hardly unprecedented, the incidents were seen as the latest indication of rising tensions between the two sides.
The U.S. Navy proposal focuses on operations in the Pacific, but the CNN report said they could stretch as far as the western coast of South America, where China is expanding investments and diplomatic relationships. If the initial proposal was approved, the missions could be expanded close to Russian territory, it said.
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