China Challenges Trump By Deploying A Military Aircraft Carrier Into Contested Waters

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Dec 2016 - Chinese Military Planes During An Exercise On The Liaoning Carrier Near North China

China’s beef with Donald Trump continues. After seizing a U.S. Navy drone in international waters and putting on a display of nuclear military force for the president-elect’s benefit, China has now deployed a military aircraft carrier into disputed waters. This entire mess follows Trump’s casual phone call with Taiwan (and his refusal to recognize the one-China policy), which ruffled diplomatic feathers.

China sent its only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, to the contested South China Sea (located near Taiwan and Japan) to patrol waters that it claims as its own. Over the years, China built up numerous artificial islands in the waters as an attempt to cement its claim, much to the frustration of its neighbors and the U.S. On the islands, oddly enough, are things as random as basketball courts and as practical as a runway. However, the past month has seen China boldly assert military force over the area, and analysts are viewing the newly deployed aircraft carrier as a challenge and a means of “testing” Trump:

Chinese military experts called the deployment of the Liaoning a long-overdue challenge to American military dominance in the Pacific. Several said the move appeared aimed at testing Mr. Trump, who has antagonized Beijing with acerbic words and actions on issues like Taiwan, trade and North Korea.

“The message is: ‘If you test our bottom line, we’ll play that game too,’” said Ni Lexiong, a naval expert at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

The carrier brought five Chinese warships along for the ride — a clear sign that Trump’s angry “unpresidented” tweet didn’t smooth over the drone or phone call situations at all. Taiwan reportedly grew nervous over the past few days after the carrier “cruised past Taiwan,” but China claimed the move was only part of a routine military drill.

Looks like China’s new “routine” is to poke at Donald Trump.

(Via New York Times, Time & Foreign Policy)