Trump confronts China with aircraft carrier bristling with F-35Bs

President Trump confronted China's effort to dominate the South China Sea by sailing the USS Wasp Marine Assault Carrier armed with up to 15 F-35B jump jets.

Local fishermen uploaded video of the USS Wasp amphibious carrier on April 15 sailing near the highly disputed Scarborough Shoal reef about 140 miles from the Philippine mainland that Beijing forcibly seized in 2012, after an extended standoff with Manila.  The Obama administration diplomatically intervened, but the Chinese have been dredging and have continued block access to Scarborough Shoal's fish-rich lagoon.

President Trump began confronting China by sailing the 4,500-ton USS Hopper destroyer to within 12 miles of Scarborough Shoal in January 2018.

Filipino fishermen were stunned when the monstrous 844-foot USS Wasp, weighing 40,500 tons, came over the horizon.  They reported that the vessel, carrying a crew of 1,000 sailors, 1,600 Marines, fifteen F-35Bs, four V-22 Ospreys and helicopters, was actively launching and recovering armed F-35B warplanes.

A U.S. military spokeswoman told the Japan Times that the Wasp had joined with the Philippine Navy for a "force protection and security" training mission.

The United States since 1945 had assured freedom-of-navigation rights for the world's oceans that cover 140 million square miles of the Earth's surface.  That effort has included supporting the U.N.'s 12-mile territorial sea boundaries and exclusive economic zones extending up to 200 miles offshore.

But with about $3.4 trillion, or about 20 percent, of world trade moving through the strategic area, China has drawn a Nine-Dash-Line to claim 80 percent of the 1.35-million-mile South China Sea as its Exclusive Economic Zone, directly infringing on the U.N.-recognized EEZs for Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.

Although the People's Liberation Navy has expanded to 232 combat vessels, two aircraft carriers, and about 250 Coast Guard vessels, China is no match for the U.S. Navy with about 300 active combat vessels, including 11 aircraft carriers and nine Marine Assault Group light carriers.

But China has constantly tried to intimidate the nations that ring the South and East China Seas by bolstering its growing naval presence with a maritime militia consisting of hundreds of vessels that Geopolitical Futures refers to as "little blue men."

Most little blue men appear to be fishing trawlers that provide Beijing with a distributed surveillance, but some are camouflaged large boats manned by the People's Liberation Army and feature water cannons and oversized rails suitable for ramming.

Combining its naval, coast guard, and little blue men has allowed China to engage in layered "cabbage tactics."  To avoid sparking a U.S. response, the little blue men squat or form cordons around disputed fishing grounds and islands, knowing they can call on the Chinese coast guard close by if confronted by local coast guards or call in the PLA-Navy if a foreign navy shows up.

China has used the "cabbage tactics" to take control of several South China Sea rocky outcropping in the Spratly and Paracel Islands.  On Woody Island, China reclaimed land to build an 8,900-foot military runway and landed a Chinese long-range H-6K bomber.

After a Philippine warship attempted to arrest Chinese little blue men harassing its forces supplying Scarborough Shoal in 2012, two Chinese coast guard cutters and several militia vessels charged in and set off a two-month confrontation and then ousted the blocking Philippine fishermen.  China used the same tactics in deploying hundreds of vessels to allow a massive oil-drilling ship to deploy in Vietnamese coastal waters.

President Trump's military confrontation with China comes as the Red Dragon is desperate to show that its economy is recovering.  According to Jim Pinto, who built computer component plants across Asia for three decades, high-tech consumer goods–manufacturers will close parts-supplier order books for the Christmas season within four weeks.  His polling indicates that factory order books are down substantially and can recover only if the Chinese are able to assure customers with a signed U.S. trade agreement. 

President Trump confronted China's effort to dominate the South China Sea by sailing the USS Wasp Marine Assault Carrier armed with up to 15 F-35B jump jets.

Local fishermen uploaded video of the USS Wasp amphibious carrier on April 15 sailing near the highly disputed Scarborough Shoal reef about 140 miles from the Philippine mainland that Beijing forcibly seized in 2012, after an extended standoff with Manila.  The Obama administration diplomatically intervened, but the Chinese have been dredging and have continued block access to Scarborough Shoal's fish-rich lagoon.

President Trump began confronting China by sailing the 4,500-ton USS Hopper destroyer to within 12 miles of Scarborough Shoal in January 2018.

Filipino fishermen were stunned when the monstrous 844-foot USS Wasp, weighing 40,500 tons, came over the horizon.  They reported that the vessel, carrying a crew of 1,000 sailors, 1,600 Marines, fifteen F-35Bs, four V-22 Ospreys and helicopters, was actively launching and recovering armed F-35B warplanes.

A U.S. military spokeswoman told the Japan Times that the Wasp had joined with the Philippine Navy for a "force protection and security" training mission.

The United States since 1945 had assured freedom-of-navigation rights for the world's oceans that cover 140 million square miles of the Earth's surface.  That effort has included supporting the U.N.'s 12-mile territorial sea boundaries and exclusive economic zones extending up to 200 miles offshore.

But with about $3.4 trillion, or about 20 percent, of world trade moving through the strategic area, China has drawn a Nine-Dash-Line to claim 80 percent of the 1.35-million-mile South China Sea as its Exclusive Economic Zone, directly infringing on the U.N.-recognized EEZs for Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.

Although the People's Liberation Navy has expanded to 232 combat vessels, two aircraft carriers, and about 250 Coast Guard vessels, China is no match for the U.S. Navy with about 300 active combat vessels, including 11 aircraft carriers and nine Marine Assault Group light carriers.

But China has constantly tried to intimidate the nations that ring the South and East China Seas by bolstering its growing naval presence with a maritime militia consisting of hundreds of vessels that Geopolitical Futures refers to as "little blue men."

Most little blue men appear to be fishing trawlers that provide Beijing with a distributed surveillance, but some are camouflaged large boats manned by the People's Liberation Army and feature water cannons and oversized rails suitable for ramming.

Combining its naval, coast guard, and little blue men has allowed China to engage in layered "cabbage tactics."  To avoid sparking a U.S. response, the little blue men squat or form cordons around disputed fishing grounds and islands, knowing they can call on the Chinese coast guard close by if confronted by local coast guards or call in the PLA-Navy if a foreign navy shows up.

China has used the "cabbage tactics" to take control of several South China Sea rocky outcropping in the Spratly and Paracel Islands.  On Woody Island, China reclaimed land to build an 8,900-foot military runway and landed a Chinese long-range H-6K bomber.

After a Philippine warship attempted to arrest Chinese little blue men harassing its forces supplying Scarborough Shoal in 2012, two Chinese coast guard cutters and several militia vessels charged in and set off a two-month confrontation and then ousted the blocking Philippine fishermen.  China used the same tactics in deploying hundreds of vessels to allow a massive oil-drilling ship to deploy in Vietnamese coastal waters.

President Trump's military confrontation with China comes as the Red Dragon is desperate to show that its economy is recovering.  According to Jim Pinto, who built computer component plants across Asia for three decades, high-tech consumer goods–manufacturers will close parts-supplier order books for the Christmas season within four weeks.  His polling indicates that factory order books are down substantially and can recover only if the Chinese are able to assure customers with a signed U.S. trade agreement.