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Why US aircraft carriers DO NOT PASS THROUGH THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

Written by Rafaela Fabris
Published 11/06/2024 às 15:31
Why US aircraft carriers DO NOT PASS THROUGH THE SOUTH CHINA SEA
US aircraft carriers avoid the South China Sea to avoid tensions with China. Understand the reasons behind this strategy. Image: Navy Productions/Disclosure

US aircraft carriers avoid the South China Sea to avoid tensions with China. Understand the reasons behind this strategy.

O South Sea of China is one of the most strategic areas in the world. But have you ever wondered why US aircraft carriers don't pass through there? Let's explore the reasons behind this strategic decision and understand the geopolitical and military complexities involved.

The main reason is to avoid increasing tensions with China. An aircraft carrier is not just a ship, but a floating military base, symbolizing great power. If the US regularly deployed these giants in the South China Sea, how would China react? It would likely be seen as a provocative act, leading to military clashes or serious diplomatic crises.

China claims almost the entire South Sea, marked by the nine-dash line, despite international decisions to the contrary

Sending an aircraft carrier could be seen as a direct threat to Chinese national security, leading to aggressive measures. In addition to military considerations, there are diplomatic and economic factors. The presence of a US aircraft carrier could be seen as an escalation, undermining diplomatic efforts and harming trade relations with China and other countries in the region.

Aircraft carriers are valuable and versatile assets needed in many global hotspots. Concentrating too many resources in the South China Sea could leave other regions vulnerable. The U.S. Navy must maintain a flexible and strategic military posture, ensuring the security of international sea lanes and responding quickly to global threats.

Maintaining an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea presents significant logistical challenges

These U.S. aircraft carriers require extensive support, including supply ships, maintenance facilities, and safe harbors. The presence of Chinese military bases and artificial islands equipped with advanced missiles poses a constant threat, making operations risky.

Territorial disputes in the region make it difficult to find friendly ports and reliable support bases. Many countries in the region are hesitant to become involved in the US-China rivalry, making it difficult to create a support network necessary for sustained operations.

Freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) are part of the United States strategy

These operations aim to ensure that the oceans remain open and accessible to all nations by challenging excessive maritime claims. The US conducts FONOPS regularly, using smaller ships such as destroyers and cruisers, which are more maneuverable and less provocative than aircraft carriers.

China's assertive posture and military buildup in the South China Sea complicate U.S. operations. China has turned submerged reefs into military outposts equipped with airstrips, radar systems and missiles, increasing tensions and the risk of conflict.

US aircraft carriers avoid South China Sea to avoid escalation, maintain global military commitments, overcome logistical challenges and counter Chinese military construction. The strategy involves a delicate balance between avoiding conflict and maintaining a credible military presence. The situation continues to require diplomatic engagement supported by a robust military presence.

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Rafaela Fabris

Talks about innovation, renewable energy, oil and gas. Updates daily on opportunities in the Brazilian job market.

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