The high seas are becoming more volatile across the world. On Sunday, Iranian speed ships whipped towards the Straits of Hormuz. The Iranians were only deterred after the US Mahan shot three warning shots at them. Today, China sent an aircraft carrier into the Taiwan Strait, raising the hackles of Taiwan and the US. The US has been an ally of Taiwan an an independent nation since World War II, while China still considers Taiwan a Chinese territory.
In Sunday’s assault, three Iranian speedboats rushed towards the Strait and refused commands to slow down, according to US officials. The boats looked like they were ready for attack, with guns at the ready. They also ignored warnings issued over the radio.Yahoo reports:
“At this point the United States does not know what the intentions of the Iranian vessels were, but the behavior is not acceptable given that the USS Mahan was operating in international waters,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said during a press conference on Monday.
While President-Elect Donald Trump was not available for comment, he has expressed his views before in a September speech. He was referencing an August event which unfolded similarly to Sunday’s assault.
“And, by the way, with Iran, when they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats, and they make gestures at our people, that they shouldn’t be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water,” Trump said to thunderous applause.
While the US did not have direct interaction in the Chinese scene, this has the appearance of saber-rattling. China’s aircraft carrier moving through the Taiwan Strait complies with international law, according to NPR’s Rob Schmitz. However, the Liaoning’s use of the Strait could be viewed through the lens of assertion.
Recent events such as Donald Trump’s call to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen or deployment of an advanced missle defense system by the US and South Korea have made the Chinese uneasy. But Chinese officials expressed the idea that China is threatening Taiwan is off base.
“China has now acquired numerous means to pose threats to Taiwan. If the Taiwan side interprets it as a threat, that’s a matter for Taiwan,” said Zhao[Gancheng, director of the Asia-Pacific Center at Shanghai’s Institute for International Studies], adding such missions would grow more frequent as the Chinese navy gained new capabilities.
There are already maritime threats, real or imagined, that will test Donald Trump when he assumes the office on January 20th.