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South China Sea: US military strategy at the heart of the Shangri-La Dialogue

After years of clashes and brinkmanship in the hotly contested region, Acting US Secretary of Defense Michael Shanahan is expected to present the Pentagon's new Indo-Pacific strategy on Saturday at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Interestingly, just a day later, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe will talk about Beijing's role in the Indo-Pacific, China's highest-ranking official, who will be at Asia's premier defense conference in eight years.

Meanwhile, US military officials vowed to continue enforcing a free and open Indo-Pacific space.

  Chinese Guided Missile Destroyer Guiyang participates in a naval parade on April 23, 201[ads1]9.

William Choong, executive officer of the Shangri-La Dialogue, said in a tweet on Tuesday that both were present Wei and Shanahan would "enter into a meeting of two visions – the "free and open" Indo-Pacific, led by the US and Japan, and China's "Asia for Asians."

Carl Schuster, former Operations Director of Joint Intelligence Center of US Pacific Command, on ld CNN: "Chinese leaders now recognize the value of multilateral defense and want to deny the US a monopoly on the influence of the great power."

US intentions for the region have already been heavily telegraphed.

The Pentagon has increased the navigation freedom to weekly. And the commander of the US Pacific Air Forces said this month that nearly every day Jets of the Air Force flew in and around the South China Sea.

Washington has also sent warships across the Taiwan Strait that separated China from its so-called breakaway province this year.

The operations in the Taiwan Strait in Washington included a US Coast Guard cutter who later sailed to the South China Sea and deployed the fifth arm of his military and its main law enforcement agency in the Pacific. [19659003] Even more robust US arms packages seem to be part of the plan. For bilateral exercises with the Philippines in April, the US loaded the amphibious attack ship USS Wasp with 10 F-35B stealth fighters – four more than it normally wears – and sailed it to the South China Sea.

  The amphibious assault ship USS Wespe traverses the waters of the South China Sea with a large cargo of F-35 fighters.

Of course, not only the US is active in the region. His allies and partners are also involved.

France sent a ship through the Taiwan Strait this year, showing its carrier Charles de Gaulle on the sidelines of the conference. Alone in May, Japanese, Indian, Philippine and US ships participated in a multilateral exercise in the South China Sea – while the host of the Singapore Singapore conference held live fire drills. An Australian naval force with four ships also visited countries in the region during a three-month voyage that ended this week.

Meanwhile, US officials have bigger plans for the coming year.

In a teleconference with reporters this month, John Richardson, US chief of naval operations, reiterated his plans to ship two coastal warships – fast, maneuverable warships designed for shallow-water operations – to Singapore this year. The ships would be the US Navy closest to the South China Sea.

In March, Commander of the US Pacific Forces, General Robert Brown, announced plans to train 10,000 US troops to fight in "a" South China Scenario. "The Philippines and Thailand were named as possible targets for the troops."

US pressure on Beijing dates back to Washington, where a bipartisan group of senators introduced laws that imposed sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals last week Building the Chinese Sea.

"China has been bullying in both the South and East China Seas, attacking and intimidating its neighbors. Such aggressive behavior can not go unchecked, "Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, said in a statement.

China, for its part, did nothing to launch new warships, promote new weapons, deploy its forces in the South China Sea – Taiwan and China Beyond that – to keep active and blow up Washington.

Beijing says it's the US that endangers peace in the region.

After the USS Preble hit on May 20 near Scarborough, China-occupied Shoal sailed, the PLA website said: "The provocation of the US warship endangered the safety of ships, aircraft and personnel on both sides, undermined China's sovereignty and security, violated the basic norms of international relations and sabotaged regional peace and stability ,

Li Huamin, spokesman for the PLA Southern Theater Command, attributed the comment.

Li said Chinese ships and aircraft had been sent to identify the US destroyer and warn it of the territory claimed by China

] China has no shortage of ships to carry out such surveillance, and the PLA navy is expanding rapidly.

  What are China's naval targets? The West can not wait to find out

On May 12, he launched two Type 52D destroyers on a single day – the 19th and 20th. The expected 30 ships in this class.

A US Department of Defense report released in early May said China had the largest navy in Asia with more than 300 ships and submarines.

The Milit ranalytiker Euan Graham, who had recently during an operation in the South China Sea on board an Australian warship, said it and other Australian and US ships operating in the region have been closely monitored by the Chinese navy.

"The ubiquity of PLAN ships (PLA Navy) shadowing other warships in the South China Sea suggests that China's surface forces have increased." The PLA navy now has training exercises with Russia off China's east coast and Thailand in the south Graham wrote in the blog "The Strategist." In the north, Chinese air force jets carried out Taiwan's "most provocative" mission in Taiwan for years, crossing the central line between the island and the mainland in April.

"Es was a deliberate, reckless and wanton mission provocative e action. We have informed regional partners and condemned China for such behavior, "Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

But it is clear that Taiwan can not expect much from China.

A May report on PLA English -language website praised a new amphibious assault vehicle as "the most advanced in the world." With its help, combined with other weapons in the Chinese arsenal, "the People's Liberation Army is well positioned to cope with Taiwanese secessionists and possible island disputes." [19659002] The Shangri-La Dialogue promotes a venue where Ministers discuss key region security challenges, hold important bilateral talks, and find new solutions together. "

It's hard to expect that from what Wei and Shanahan have to say compromises arise.

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