A Chinese admiral was pontificating about sinking American aircraft carriers in the open ocean. Speaking at a military conference in the Chinese city of Shenzhen on December 20, Rear Adm. Lou Yuan boldly asserted that China’s anti-ship missiles could sink a U.S. carrier as easy as a snake could swallow a mouse.
Whereas the U.S. and Chinese governments generally use military-to-military talks and diplomatic channels to avoid confrontation in one of the most critical waterways on the planet, Admiral Lou’s solution to the territorial dispute is nothing short of the exertion of full Chinese military hegemony in the region.
“What the United States fears the most is taking casualties,” Lou lectured his audience. “We’ll see how frightened America is.”
There is no indication whatsoever that Beijing would be brazen or stupid enough to do anything the rear admiral outlined.
Sure, Chinese vessels have sailed dangerously close to U.S. ships and have strenuously objected to U.S. freedom-of-navigation operations in the South Sea and Taiwan Strait, but that has been the extent of Beijing’s response.
It’s that way for a reason: deliberately sinking any U.S. vessel, let alone an aircraft carrier, would elicit such extreme retaliation from Washington that the so-called U.S.-China cold war we are now talking about would look like a cake walk in comparison to the hell that would be unleashed in a hot conflict.
The Chinese may seek dominance in the South China Sea, but not at any cost.
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