Biden orders aircraft carrier to stay in South China Sea, but postpones ICBM test

The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is seen during a port visit in Hong Kong on October 2, 2017.

Anthony Wallace | AFP | beautiful pictures

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will keep a US Navy aircraft carrier strike group in the South China Sea longer than originally planned, in response to China’s missile tests and increased aggression. aggression around Taiwan, the White House announced on Thursday.

At the same time, Biden will postpone a previously scheduled test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, a White House spokesman said.

The two communiques signal an approach aimed at raising US military vigilance in the region, while limiting Beijing’s opportunity to point to any US actions as provocative in order to intensify aggression. for Taiwan and neighboring countries.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at the White House on Thursday, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its escorts will remain in the South China Sea “slightly longer than expected” initial”.

The goal of extending the strike group’s stay in the area would be “to monitor the situation,” he said. He added that “the president believes it is prudent to do so, leaving her and her escorts there just a little longer.”

The Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier strike group has been operating in the South China Sea since mid-July, according to the US military.

Kirby said the postponement of the Minuteman 3 ballistic missile test was intended to demonstrate “the behavior of a responsible nuclear power by minimizing the risk of miscalculation” while China “engaged in the exercises”. destabilizing military battles around Taiwan.”

However, the United States does not expect China to ease its aggressive actions anytime soon.

“We are expecting more exercises, more rhetoric and rhetoric, and we are expecting more incursions” into non-Chinese territories, he said.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing have increased dramatically over the past week, in part due to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to visit Taiwan with a delegation of congressional Democrats.

The White House and Pentagon reportedly warned the powerful California lawmaker against making the trip as she did, due to the potential for increased bilateral tensions.

Pelosi wrote in an article that she believes China poses a serious threat to the independence of Taiwan, which Beijing considers a Chinese province. She said her trip was necessary to show US support for democracy in Taiwan and around the world.

However, as Biden tries to balance America’s desire to flex US muscles in the South China Sea and not provoke further action from Beijing, experts say the Chinese government could lose the distinction.

Andrew Mertha, director of the Center for China Global Studies at Johns Hopkins, said: “China does not want or need to convince itself that we are serious. And the analysis between ‘serious’ and ‘provocative’ ‘ School of Advanced International Studies.

“This ‘separation of differences’ precisely represents the confusion and incoherence that Beijing might see as a kind of deliberate and ambiguous strategy,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

“If cooler heads prevail behind the scenes – in both Beijing and Washington – this will be a prelude to a shift towards a more substantial and sustained diplomatic engagement,” Mertha said.

Kirby stressed on Thursday that the main lines of communication between the US and China are always open, despite rising tensions.

“We’re using those lines of communication, and I think you’ll see that in the coming days,” he said, somewhat baffled.

The White House did not immediately respond to an email requesting more details about Kirby’s intentions.

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