Thursday, April 23, 2020

Presence Mission Done Right

Hidden behind all the COVID-19 news this week is another standoff in the South China Sea that had a bit more energy than usual.

Via Sam LaGrone at USNINews;
On Monday, USNI News first reported USS America (LHA-6) was operating in the vicinity of the site of a tiff between China and Malaysia over mineral-rich territory in Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The region has been marked by the increased presence of naval and paramilitary ships from China, Vietnam and Malaysia since Malaysian drillship West Capella began exploring the region in October. Currently, the Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 has been operating in Malaysia’s EEZ since April 16 with an escort of China Coast Guard vessels.

Chinese officials typically call out U.S. actions in the South China Sea that conflict with Beijing’s interests. However, during a Tuesday press conference, the foreign ministry presented a toned-down response to questions about U.S. ships near the territorial dispute.
We seem to have put together a team to make a point;
“USS America (LHA-6) and USS Bunker Hill (CG-52) are forward-deployed to the region and are currently operating in the South China Sea,” U.S. Indo-Pacific Command spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman said in a statement to USNI News.
America and Bunker Hill are operating in concert, with the cruiser serving as an air defense escort for the amphibious warship. Guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52) is also operating in the region.
Then look who came out to play;
HMAS Parramatta (FFG 154) began sailing with Ticonderoga-class guided missile-cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) then rendezvoused with amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) and Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) April 18.
Isn't this a great view?

That is the way it is done. I think we need to get the Australians a properly sized battle-flag, but that is a minor quibble.

Photo credit, IPN.

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