While New Zealand continues to cuddle up to Communist China, the United States says it will deploy four warships designed to fight in coastal areas to Singapore by 2018, further expanding US military presence in Southeast Asia. Up to four littoral combat ships (LCS) will be sent to Singapore on a rotational deployment as part of the US Seventh Fleet ships, Rear Admiral Charles Williams confirmed on Tuesday.
The deployment of the warships comes as Washington embroils itself over issues in Southeast Asia, including those with China and North Korea. The United States has held numerous joint military drills with regional allies in Southeast Asia (Japan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.) despite criticism by China and North Korea.
The US State Department said in a recent report that Red China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea were both unclear and inconsistent.
Meanwhile, China has called on Washington to stay out of regional disputes and not to take sides. China has frequently warned the US to be cautious in its words and actions with regard to territorial disputes involving China and its neighbors.
Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines. The waters are believed to sit atop vast reserves of minerals, oil and gas.