Here’s the Fitzgerald CO’s side of the story

Nearly two years after the guided-missile destroyer Fitzgerald’s collided with a merchant vessel, drowning seven American sailors, their commanding officer is finally speaking out. Cmdr. Bryce Benson intended to air his side of things at his court-martial. But last month, outgoing Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson dropped all criminal charges against Benson and one of his deputies, Lt. Natalie Combs. The move came after defense attorneys accused Richardson and other Navy leaders of unlawful command influence. Instead, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer issued a letter of censure against Benson.…

Vietnam rejects Beijing’s South China Sea fishing ban that covers Philippine EEZ

Vietnam rejects Beijing’s South China Sea fishing ban that covers Philippine EEZ (Philstar.com) – May 7, 2019 – 11:56am MANILA, Philippines — Hanoi has expressed opposition against Beijing’s imposition of its annual fishing moratorium in the South China Sea, which also includes the West Philippine Sea. On May 1, the Chinese agricultural ministry announced the start of the annual fishing ban which will last until August 16. The fishing ban covers areas also claimed by other countries such as Vietnam’s Paracel Islands and the Philippines’ Scarborough Shoal, according to…

Pentagon Report on China’s Military Expansion Hypocrisy: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson

SHARMINI PERIES It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. On Sunday morning, the Pentagon announced that it is sending two guided missile destroyers near the disputed islands claimed by China in the South China Sea. This move comes shortly after the Pentagon released a report in which it warns about China’s new military capabilities and its militarization of the South China Sea. The Pentagon report, which was released to Congress last week, is titled Chinese Military Development and it discusses how China is engaged…

U.S. sends two destroys to Spratly Islands to challenge China’s claim over two reefs

Caitlin DoornbosStars and Stripes The Navy sent two guided-missile destroyers on Monday to challenge China’s claims to two reefs it has militarized without internationally recognized authority to do so, according to the Navy. The USS Preble and USS Chung Hoon sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands “to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” said Lt. Joe Keiley, a 7th Fleet spokesman. China first took possession of the reefs in 1988 and has…

China Complains After U.S. Warships Sail Near Spratly Islands

After two U.S. warships sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on May 6, China’s foreign ministry complained that the ships had infringed on Chinese sovereignty. Commander Clay Doss, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet, told the Reuters news agency that the “innocent passage” was “to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law.” Doss confirmed that the U.S. guided-missile destroyers Preble (shown) and Chung Hoon traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly…

China fires up drills near Taiwan Strait in test of combat strength

Beijing is conducting live-fire military drills at the northern end of the Taiwan Strait as it signals its resolve to thwart “pro-independence forces” in Taiwan. Authorities in the small city of Yuhuan, Zhejiang province, notified the public on Sunday that a “no-sail zone” and “no-fishing zone” would be in effect in the area until Friday night. It said the drills were part of the People’s Liberation Army’s “annual regular exercise plans” and would involve “actual use of weapons”. “According to the annual [PLA’s] regular training plan … live-fire exercises involving…

‘No more concessions’: Why is China playing hardball in trade war talks with the United States?

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He, pictured with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (left) and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (right), will travel to the U.S. for another round of trade negotiations. | Andy Wong/AFP/Getty Images South China Morning Post By KINLING LO | SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, WENDY WU | SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST and TEDDY NG I SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST 05/07/2019 08:41 AM EDT This story is being published by POLITICO as part of a content partnership with the South China Morning Post. It originally appeared on scmp.com on May…

Labor vows to protect South China navigation rights

While Mr Shorten ruled out a purge of security agencies, Labor sources and foreign policy experts do anticipate an early challenge from China to test out the prospective new administration. Complex relationships Mr Marles, a former parliamentary secretary and trade minister in the Rudd and Gillard governments, is regarded as pro-US and was a key driver of Labor’s policy to step up engagement with the Pacific, leaving the government scrambling to catch up. Amid the disruption unleashed by Donald Trump and China’s rise, Mr Marles said Australia was facing its…

Navy challenges China’s claims on militarized reefs for the third time this year – Pacific

Navy challenges China’s claims on militarized reefs for the third time this year YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy sent two guided-missile destroyers on Monday to challenge China’s claims to two reefs it has militarized without internationally recognized authority to do so, according to the Navy. The USS Preble and USS Chung Hoon sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands “to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law,” said Lt. Joe…

Philippines, US navies train in South China Sea for Balikatan 2019 |

MANILA, Philippines — The navies of the Philippines and United States trained in the South China Sea as part of their two-week Balikatan exercises. The US government’s Defense Visual Information Distribution System (DVIDS) released photos from the exercise conducted last April 5. US amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1), along with Philippine Navy ships BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16), and BRP Tarlac (LD-601) were photographed sailing together at the disputed sea. The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) (center) maneuvers alongside the Philippine Navy landing platform dock BRP Tarlac (LD…