By Ciro Scotti, The Fiscal Times:
China sent president-elect Donald Trump a not-so-subtle signal on Monday when its first aircraft carrier, accompanied by five warships, sailed in disputed waters of the South China Sea.
The implicit message from Beijing was: We are not cowed by your tough talk.
The Liaoning, a 999-foot retrofitted aircraft carrier, sailed past islands controlled by Taiwan, which has become a flashpoint in emerging relations between China and Trump since he took a congratulatory post-election call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
That was the first direct contact between an American president and the leader of Taiwan since 1979, and it called into question the future of the “One China” policy that has been a bedrock of Washington-Beijing relations for decades.
More recently, Trump took China to task for seizing a U.S. submersible drone in international waters near the Philippines on December 15:
After objections from the Obama Administration, the ocean-monitoring drone was returned.
Taking the drone was also seen a message to Trump. Patrick M. Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank, told The New York Times:
“I see the snatched drone as a calculated act of coercive diplomacy approved at the top. I believe Beijing accelerated plans to create an early test for the new administration because Trump publicly called into question the One China policy and because China judged it safer to provoke Obama than an unpredictable Trump.”…
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