China has an aggressive posture in the South China Sea, the world’s largest military, an ever-modernising and threatening navy, and a fearsome domestic ballistic and cruise missile program, but there is one thing they can’t buy or build or claim as their own — allies.
In the video below, the US leads submarines, battleships, white hulls, amphibious assault vessels and more in what has to be one of the most powerful naval formations of all time, as part of RIMPAC 2016.
In the clip, you see Japanese battleships, South Korean submarines, coast guard ships, and all manner of naval power in a tight formation in the royal blue waters of the Pacific. Of course, the formation is led by a US aircraft carrier, the premier source of naval power projection today.
Though China has an impressive grip on the South China Sea with their militarised islands and radar outposts, unilateral action can only get them so far. With China’s immediate neighbours disputing their claims, the only multilateral, peaceful way forward is through international cooperation, the kind on display here at RIMPAC:
RIMPAC 2016 runs from June 30 to August 4.
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