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Is the US gearing up for a direct challenge to Beijing’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea?

2016-01-22 19:42:45       source:South China Morning Post

"Last October 27, the destroyer USS Lassen carried out a 'freedom of navigation operation' in the South China Sea. It was rather a long time in coming, as the wisdom of doing so was hotly debated between the US Defence Department and the White House national security team.

It was purportedly intended to challenge China's maritime claims there. But its execution was muddled and the message ambiguous. There is mounting domestic pressure in the US to follow it up with a clear challenge to China's claims. But there is also mounting domestic pressure in China to respond to any further US 'provocations'. So what is likely to happen next and what are the legal and political considerations?"

Mark J. Valencia is an adjunct senior scholar at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, Haikou, China

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