A retired Japanese admiral says President Obama’s strategy to neutralized China’s territorial claims to a man-made reef in the South China Sea are almost entirely meaningless — and may actually serve to embolden the communist regime.
Retired Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force(JMSDF) Rear Admiral Sumihiko Kawamura, the former vice commandant of the Joint Staff College, told The Sekai Nippo that “the Obama administration’s strategy of freedom of navigation is intended to be a gesture indicating they do not recognize the seas around the artificial islands as territorial waters, but I think this is almost entirely meaningless.
“What the U.S. is currently doing is called ‘innocent passage.’ Innocent passage refers to passage through a nation’s territorial waters by another nation’s military vessels within 12 nautical miles of the shore, taking only the minimum of action necessary and without causing any alarm or intimidation. The passage of military vessels is permitted so long as it is innocent passage. According to the statements by US Department of Defense, U.S. Navy vessels are making innocent passage. That is to say, their actions imply that they recognize the area as Chinese territorial waters, which has the opposite of the intended effect.”
The retired admiral said allies standing against China in the South China Sea need to make more provocative military actions.
“They must be actions that are not innocent passage, namely circumnavigating the artificial islands in military vessels, stopping, dropping anchor, and launching aircraft.