VOL. 25 - NO. 28
JUL 12 - 19, 2020
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX

Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

US Carrier Sails into Disputed Waters amid New Flare-Ups with China

Aug 09, 2019
by Jim Gomez
ABOARD THE USS RONALD REAGAN, South China Sea -- A U.S. aircraft carrier sailed through the disputed South China Sea in the latest show of America's military might amid new territorial flare-ups involving China and three rival claimant states.

The U.S. Navy flew a small group of Philippine generals, officials and journalists to the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, where they watched fighter jets landing and taking off by catapult with thunderous blasts. The nuclear-powered carrier, carrying about 70 supersonic F/A-18 jets, spy planes and helicopters, was en route to Manila for a port visit.

Armed cruisers kept watch a few miles from the carrier.

"The motto of this carrier is peace through strength," Rear Adm. Karl Thomas said.

He said the American military presence helps provide security and stability that foster diplomatic talks among rival claimant nations. He made the comment when asked what message the warship's presence was sending amid new tensions involving China and rival claimants Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines over long-contested territories.

"We just think that folks should follow the international law, and our presence allows us to provide that security and stability in the background for these discussions to take place," Thomas said.

China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have been locked in on-and-off territorial conflicts over the strategic waters, where the bulk of Asian and world commerce transits, for decades. Tensions rose to new highs when China transformed seven disputed reefs in the Spratly chain into islands and then installed a missile-defense system, runways and hangars.

Washington expressed concerns over China's "repeated provocative actions aimed at the offshore oil and gas development of other claimant states."

Vietnam has demanded that China remove a survey ship from Vanguard Bank, which it says lies within Vietnam's 200-mile exclusive economic zone. China has had a dispute with Malaysia over Luconia Shoal, and Manila protested after a Chinese fishing vessel hit a fishing boat with 22 Filipinos at Reed Bank and left as it sank at night in June. The Filipinos were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel.

Greg Poling, director of the Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, which tracks actions by rival states in the disputed waters, said China is using its artificial islands to bolster its vast claims and allow its navy, coast guard and militia vessels "to operate over every inch of the South China Sea in a way they never could before."

China's assertive actions will also undermine negotiations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on a so-called code of conduct to check aggressive actions in the disputed waters, according to Carl Thayer, another South China Sea expert.

The 10-nation ASEAN bloc includes four nations contesting China's territorial claims. Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed hope the proposed code may be concluded in three years.

"One must ask what will be left for ASEAN claimant states to negotiate if China continues to control access to fishing grounds and hydrocarbon exploration," Thayer said.

* * * * *

Photo caption: Rear Admiral Karl Thomas, Task Force 70/Commander, Carrier Strike Group 5, poses before an E-2 Hawkeye aircraft following a media interview aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea on Aug. 6, 2019. The USS Ronald Reagan is cruising in international waters in the South China Sea amid tensions in the disputed islands, shoals and reefs between China and other claimant-countries as Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)


TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Assembles All-Star Cast for Online Reading of Suzanne Bradbeer's "Shakespeare in Vegas"

Coast Guard Cutter Departs Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for Last Time

Navy SEALs to Launch New Submersible from Bigger Sub off Hawaii

Army Reviewing 'Confederate Memorial' Featuring Slaves at Arlington National Cemetery

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: The Marsh Unveils New Daily Programming on Marshstream

Soldier Makes History as First Woman to Join the Green Berets

Marine Corps' First Female Ground Combat Battalion Commander Reflects on her Historic Role

Air Force Flying Car Trade Show Puts $10M of Contracts on the Table