Beijing Tests Biden Administration With Provocations in Disputed Waters

The Chinese communist regime has recently intensified its provocations against Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines in disputed waters. Various international media reports pointed out that Beijing is testing the Biden administration to see if the United States will take concrete action after pledging to work with Asian allies to contain China.

The tension between China and Japan has recently intensified as Beijing announced last week that Tokyo must abandon all claims of sovereignty over the disputed Senkaku Islands. The Senkaku are an uninhabited chain of islands in the East China Sea that Japan has controlled for decades, but Beijing has recently claimed the islands as its own territory.

On April 4, the Joint Staff of the Ministry of Defense of Japan stated that Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and five frigates have passed Miyako Strait—a key waterway between Japan’s Okinawa Island and Miyako Island to the Pacific Ocean.

U.S. Marine Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa, southern Japan, on Jan. 27, 2018. (Kyodo News via AP)

The dispute between Taiwan and China over control of the Taiwan Strait has also escalated. The Chinese regime’s military aircrafts have entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) more frequently. The most serious provocation occurred on March 29, when China’s Air Force conducted an exercise involving 10 fighter jets flying into Taiwan’s ADIZ.

The dispute between China and the Philippines has intensified last month. Since March 7, about 220 Chinese ships have been seen in the waters around disputed Whitsun Reef of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The Philippine government considers the vessels to be Chinese maritime militia ships, and lodged a diplomatic protest and demanded China to remove its ships from the disputed waters.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying said on March 22 that the ships were fishing boats that were “taking shelter from the wind” and the Philippines should look at the situation in a “rational light.”

However, the Chinese vessels have not left the area and there are more than 40 Chinese ships in the waters around Whitsun Reef. The Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned on April 5 that as long as the Chinese ships are still there, they will issue diplomatic protests every day.

The United States also expressed concern over China’s aggression in the region. At the NATO meeting on March 23, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called out China’s militarization of the South China Sea, saying it violates international laws.

On March 28, Blinken tweeted in support of the Philippines: “We will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order.

The Philippines claims the resource-rich Spratly as its territory, citing the island chain is within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei also claim sovereignty over it.

In 2016, the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on the South China Sea was in favor of the Philippines’ EEZ claim over China’s historical claim. However, China rejected the ruling and has been building artificial islands in the disputed waters and military facilities on disputed islands it occupied.

China asserts that it holds exclusive rights to more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, encompassing an area of 1.4 million square miles in the Pacific Ocean that holds up to 22 billion barrels of oil, and 290 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Various international media outlets reported that Beijing’s recent aggressive moves in the Indo-Pacific region are a test for the Biden administration. The Chinese regime wants to see if Washington will work with its allies in the region to contain the CCP. In mid-March Blinken visited Japan and South Korea and affirmed U.S. commitment to its Asian allies.

U.S.-based China affairs commentator Zhong Yuan believes that the CCP has made a serious misjudgment of the United States. “It [the regime] has repeatedly adopted a confrontational strategy of proactive military and diplomatic actions, trying to force the Biden administration to step back and give in. But, it failed to achieve its goal. While the CCP was putting itself in the dilemma, it also messed up China-EU relations,” Zhong wrote in his article, which was published in The Epoch Times.

Zhong pointed out that the CCP has recently stepped up confrontation with the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, and that Beijing blames Washington for not cooperating with China.

On April 5, state-run media Xinhua published an article in which it interviewed Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi, titled, “Wang Yi: China Doesn’t Recognize a Superior Country.” On the same day, Xinhua published another article, “The Chinese Navy’s Liaoning Ship Carrier Formation Launches Open Sea Training,” while Liaoning passed through the Miyako Strait near Okinawa and bypassed eastern Taiwan.

Wang told Xinhua in the interview: “China and the United States should have more dialogue and cooperation in the region, and less competition and confrontation.” He emphasized, “China does not recognize that there is a superior country in the world, or accept that things in the world can only be decided by one country.”

Zhong believes that Wang’s remarks reflects the top leadership’s stance—the CCP is ready to carry out a full-scale confrontation with the United States.