Wendell Minnick
Wendell Minnick

China is flexing it maritime muscles in the South China Sea, and military analysts different on how dangerous the situation can get. Defense analyst Wendell Minnick thinks a clash between China and the US is unlikely, but cannot be excluded, writes Asia one.

Asia One:

A military stand-off and any exchange of fire would be the worst-case scenario, they say.

Defence News’ Asia bureau chief Wendell Minnick said while it is very unlikely, the possibility of “a Chinese commander firing an anti-ship missile and having things escalate from there” cannot be ruled out. “The nationalistic fervour is so great right now that you’re not sure how far that might push a commander.”

The reaction of the Chinese navy also remains a huge source of uncertainty as it has not been observed in combat before, Mr Minnick noted, adding that the Sino-US crisis management mechanism meant to avoid unwanted clashes can also be improved…

China is likely to use “swarming tactics” rather than a direct military confrontation, Mr Minnick said. This means sending Chinese fishing boats and coast guard vessels to harass the US ships while the Chinese navy watches at a distance, Beijing’s usual tactic.

He said: “But the US military can’t do this forever. It is likely to demonstrate its physical presence, then slack off before bringing it back during a crisis.”

More at Asia One.

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