While much of the focus of the G20 to this point has been on the first time meeting between President Trump and Russian President Putin, he’s also got plenty to talk about with Chinese President Xi, who is seated to his immediate right at the meeting.
Not only is there the problem with China’s aggressive, threatening nuclear puppet, North Korea, there is the issue of China seizing the territory of other nations in the South China Sea and constructing military bases upon them. Both issues are serious potential flash points for conflict.
A year ago, in July of 2016, the UN International Court of Arbitration ruled that China has no claim to the Philippines’ Spratly Islands and others as well as those of other nations based upon what they determined was an invalid, exaggerated “nine-dash line.”
In response to China’s continued placement of military assets, including missiles, on facilities constructed on those expanded reefs and islands belonging to other nations, the United States has been conducting both naval and air operations, asserting our right to international airspace and seas.
On Thursday two US Bombers flew over the South China Sea while returning to Guam, having conducted training exercises with Japanese fighter pilots over the East China Sea. It was the first time the United States had conducted joint night-time drills with the Japanese.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said his nation has no problem with freedom of navigation or overflight for the East and South China Seas, “But China resolutely opposes individual countries using the banner of freedom of navigation and overflight to flaunt military force and harm China’s sovereignty and security.” So it’s airliners, fishing boats and cruise ships only?
They followed that up with a statement by their Defense Ministry to Reuters, stating China has always maintained its vigilance and “effectively monitors relevant countries’ military activities next to China. The Chinese military will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability.” There it is, that’s the vague saber rattling we’re accustomed to.
They’ve also got the little matter of Pork Chop Kim trying to pick a nuclear fight with the United States. President Trump has been asking China to exert their influence in a helpful manner, as in telling Kim to knock it off, so far they’ve been less than enthusiastic in their efforts. There’s always the possibility that Kim is doing exactly what he’s being told by his Chinese puppeteers, providing a bargaining chip through which to attempt to gain concessions on their military expansionism.
President Trump has made it clear that the United States is willing to act with or without Chinese help or approval. Maybe they’ll be able to make some progress over the weekend, particularly in light of their seating assignments. We were told they hit things off at Mar-a-Lago in April. If they are able to maintain and build upon that relationship the world will be much better off. But Xi shouldn’t expect President Trump to give away the sovereign territory or rights of other nations. That’s not how he makes deals, that was the Kenyan – he’s gone now.
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