The Uss Carl Vinson, the 97,000-ton aircraft carrier along with its escort the guided missile destroyer USS Wayne E Meyer, has sailed into the South China Sea. China claims the entire ( almost 80%) of the sea, and that includes some islands approximately 800km from the Chinese coast. The Chinese were able to consolidate their control due to the lukewarm opposition from President Obama. They also rejected the verdict of the Internationa tribunal which had rejected China's claim to the Sea.

Disputed Sea

The Chinese have militarized the area and built airfields for jet fighter operation.

Secretary Rex Tillerson during his confirmation had stated that China should be blocked from using the artificial islands it has created. This was in line with the thinking of the new President Donald Trump. The stage is thus set for a show of force. Th entire South China Sea is disputed, and countries like the Philippines, Borneo, Vietnam have a claim on the mineral rich sea. As all these countries are militarily weak, it is incumbent on the USA to enforce the rules of free navigation.

Incensed China

The Chinese are incensed but are unable to do much. The Carl Vinson is a powerful carrier with 60 fighter jets including the F/A-18. This is the second foray into the South China Sea by a US warship within the last month.

The Chinese have warned the USA against infringing its sovereignty This is mere bravado, and Donald has done well to call the Chinese bluff. One can expect further action on this front from the USA in the future.

Taming the Chinese

The Chinese had so far been getting away due to a weak policy of the earlier president, but Donald Trump is a different kettle of fish.

He has also called for a 20% tariff on all Chinese goods. In conjunction with the move of the USS Vinson, the nuclear submarine the 6000 ton USS Louisville was in Subic Bay in the Philippines, and the Philippine Navy was feting the crew. The visit to Japan of the defense secretary General Mattis can be seen as such. It is a reassurance of US power to contain an aggressive China.