Friday, December 16, 2016
Trump as created his first diplomatic crisis
And make no mistake, it was The Great Orange Fungus's ill conceived phone call to Taiwan and his follow up insults to China that brought this about. The Chinese Navy has has seized an unmanned oceanographic drone in international waters.
The Pentagon said on Friday it had issued a formal protest to Beijing demanding the return of an underwater drone seized by a Chinese warship in the South China Sea, an incident that risked increasing tensions in a region already fraught with great-power rivalries.I do believe that Trump has set a land speed record for creating a diplomatic crisis. Usually Presidents wait until they have been sworn into office.
A Defense Department official said that the unmanned underwater vehicle was discovered missing on Thursday when the crew of the United States Navy vessel Bowditch tried to retrieve it.
The Bowditch, an oceanographic ship, was operating in international waters and carrying out scientific research, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a potentially sensitive international incident.
American officials said they were still trying to determine whether the seizure was a low-level action taken by Chinese sailors who spotted the drone — or a strategic-level action ordered by more senior Chinese leaders.
The incident is the second this week in the South China Sea, coming just after China signaled on Thursday that it had installed weapons on disputed islands that it would use to repel threats. The latest moves complicate already testy relations between China and the United States, ties that have been further complicated by President-elect Donald J. Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan.
Mr. Trump angered Chinese officials by holding a phone conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, an island that Beijing deems a breakaway province of China. It had been nearly four decades since a United States president or president-elect had such direct contact with a Taiwanese leader.
In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Mr. Trump also criticized China over its trade imbalance with America and its military activities in the South China Sea and its ties to North Korea.
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