Lou Chan, deputy chief of the Chinese academy of military sciences, last month spoke at a military conference proposing an attack on two US aircraft carriers as a solution to the South China Sea crisis. The move would be a high casualty one claiming as many as 10,000 American sailors’ lives. Explaining his reasoning Lou said China’s anti-ship missiles are sufficient to destroy U.S. carriers and their escorts:
“What the United States fears the most is taking casualties.
“We’ll see how frightened America is.”
And Loun is not the only one with these tactics in mind, as his latest call to arms echoes a growing sentiment in China that the US is too weak to fight.
The crisis has been heating up again this week as Manila plans to seize control of oil and gas in the region despite protests from Beijing.
PXP Energy Corporation in the Philippines has requested permission from the country’s Department of Energy to capitalise on the resource rich Malampaya gas facilities located in the South China Sea.
However, Manila could also permit the company to exploit other gas prospects in the region, including the Sampaguita field located at Reed Bank, which lies in China’s controversial waters claim known as the Nine-Dash Line.
A PXP spokesman said: “The project intends to ensure energy security to the country from indigenous natural gas resources for the next 25 years and beyond, while bringing in significant revenues to the Philippine government.”
Gas fields in the area have long been claimed by the Chinese but the Philippines have also staked their claim in the resources defying them.
Last month also saw an increase in the US’ involvement in the area as they drafted in the US Coast Guard (USCG) for the first time since the Cold War.
As part of its deployment the USCG will carry out joint exercises with regional partners.
Admiral Karl Leo Schultz, commandant of the USCG, told Asia Times in a recent interview that “there are ongoing discussions, ongoing planning efforts” to support the US Indo-Pacific Command’s (INDO-PACOM) operations in the South China Sea.
He added: “We have partnered up in training [allies] to enhance security in the region.
“We are keenly focused on those likeminded partners, building [a] regional approach.”