The US Navy’s 7th Fleet announced today that it had fired a missile during live fire exercises in the the South China Sea, and pundits are interpreting it as a strong signal to China.
The 7th Fleet announced on Facebook today that the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Barry, launched a missile, and conducted combat information center operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. The message was hash-tagged #NavyReadiness.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) shared the post and considered a serious display, pointing out that missile launches by the US Navy had not occurred previously in the area.
Taiwan should continue to watch closely, and pay attention,” Wang wrote.
United Daily News quoted strategic studies scholar Lin Ying-yu ( 林穎佑 ) as saying that we should now pay attention to possible PLA responses in the Taiwan Strait. Dr Lin, an assistant-professor at the Institute of Strategic and International Affairs at National Chung Cheng University, referred to the ancient Chinese text The Art of War, and the strategy of “Besiege Wei to rescue Zhao.” Dr Lin suggested China may make a response in the Taiwan Strait, the East China Sea, or the Yellow Sea.
Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR) agreed that the display of medium-range firepower in the South China Sea is a significant move, and that it sends a message that even in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, the US is committed to defending allies in the Indo-Pacific.
Su Pointed out that even at the height of the coronavirus epidemic in China, the PLA still managed to send military aircraft on provocative missions around Taiwan.
The live-fire exercises, an example of “forward deployment,” relayed a message that “even if the United States has an outbreak, Indo-Pacific Command is still ready to respond to any situation,” Su said.
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