China is belligerent as ever and its actions are getting more provocative by the day, especially after #Donald Trump took a 10-minute call from the Taiwan president. It is flexing its muscles and the nations around the rim of the #South China Sea from Thailand to Vietnam and the Philippines are witness to this display of naval might. On Monday the Chinese aircraft carrier the Liaoning led a task force of 5 other warships and sailed past the Pratas islands which are controlled by Taiwan. The #navy was following instructions from the Chinese government to reinforce the claim to almost the entire South China Sea. China is locked in a dispute with all the smaller nations who also claim the mineral-rich South China Sea.

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Disputed sea

The Philippines had taken the matter to the International court and it ruled against China. However, in a typical reaction the award of the tribunal was rejected. Satellite images by the US have confirmed that Beijing is militarizing the islands by building airstrips and heavy guns on the disputed islands. No power in South East Asia including Japan can match China (who has shown its belligerence by capturing a drone of the US Navy, which was carrying out research in the waters). The drone was returned, but it was too little, too late in a lot of ways.

Belligerence

China is also involved in a dispute with Taiwan, which it claims is part of China. Donald Trump has asked a question about the One China policy and this has irked Beijing even more. The Chinese show of force can only be matched by the USA.

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The Liaoning -- the sole aircraft carrier has still to perfect operations and at the moment does look impressive but is hardly combat-ready.

Show of force

China, by this show of force, is trying to put pressure on the incoming president. This is the first time that the Chinese aircraft carrier (with its full complement of war planes) sailed into the South China Sea. Donald Trump will soon have to face up to the reality of a belligerent China in the South China Sea.