US Armed Forces to Engage in Biggest War Game in Years

US Armed Forces to Engage in Biggest War Game in Years

( – The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continually espouse the belief that nearly all of the South China Sea is its sovereign territory. The People’s Liberation Army, along with its navy and air force components and other paramilitary organizations, regularly engage in aggressive and provocative actions throughout the area, something the United States and its allies in the region often confront.


Units from the United States armed services will be engaged in joint maneuvers with those from the Philippines in their annual “Balikatan” exercises scheduled for some time in the second quarter of 2023. This year’s version will be the largest one put on since 2015 and comes against a backdrop of increasing tensions between Beijing and Manila.

On February 6, a ship from the Chinese Coast Guard allegedly closed to within 150 yards of a vessel belonging to the Philippine Coast Guard and aimed a green military-grade laser at them. The amplified light of that wavelength can cause temporary blindness, which is exactly what happened to some of the Filipino crew, according to a February 13 press release from the US State Department. The CCP-run news site Global Times portrayed the incident as a legitimate “law enforcement” action by their ship when their territorial waters were violated.

This incident occurred in the waters around the Second Thomas Shoal (a.k.a. the Ayungin Shoal by the Philippines and the Ren’ai Reef by the Chinese), which is located approximately 165 miles off the shore of Palawan Island, Philippines, and almost 725 miles from Hainan Province, China. In January 2022, the State Department published the “Limits in the Seas No.150,” a study of the PRC’s claims of sovereignty over the South China Sea, and concluded that they are unlawful and have been rejected.

Beijing bases its claims on two separate theories, first, the artificial islands that they continue to build (many with military bases) and, second, ancestral/historic “evidence” that it discovered much of the area several thousand years ago. However, the State Department study examined several international treaties to which the PRC is a signatory and determined that “artificially formed” lands are “not entitled to any maritime zones.”

According to the 2014 version of the study (No. 143), the State Department analysis determined international law is that any historic claim must include “continuous exercise of that authority and acquiescence by foreign States in the exercise of that authority,” which would disqualify China’s theory. When one considers the words attributed to China’s Minister of National Defense (1993-2003) Chi Haotian when he claimed that “America was originally discovered by ancestors of the yellow race” and that it is one of only three countries that “have the vast land to serve our need for mass colonization,” it becomes frighteningly clear where their endgame strategy could lie.

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