• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Is the U.S. Commitment to Freedom of Navigation Expiring in the Yellow Sea?

    The decision by the United States to delayl military exercises in the Yellow Sea in order to placate “neighboring countries,” i.e., China, prior to the G-20 summit in the Republic of Korea (ROK) marks the latest in a series of ill-considered, costly concessions Washington has made toward China.

    A high-level South Korean government official stated that a joint U.S.–South Korean naval drill scheduled for this month in the Yellow Sea was canceled in “consideration of geopolitical conditions ahead of an upcoming Seoul G-20 economic summit.” The exercise was to have included the USS George Washington carrier strike group and a joint large-scale landing exercise involving both countries’ marine corps.

    Seoul also indicated that there would be no exercises off either Korean coast this year involving the U.S. aircraft carrier.

    It is important to remember that the exercises in question were intended as a response to North Korea’s unprovoked aggression against South Korea—the deliberate sinking of a South Korean frigate in South Korean waters by North Korea and the subsequent failure of the United Nations to punish North Korea in any way because of China’s obstructionism. Had Beijing (and Moscow) cooperated with the U.S. in at least formally condemning Pyongyang’s aggression, these exercises might well not be necessary.

    Instead, China has insisted that it cannot be sure of who sank the Cheonan and inappropriately compares the event to a natural disaster like an earthquake, as though it were an unavoidable act of God rather than the deliberate act of the North Korean leadership.

    Moreover, despite Chinese protests over the sensitive nature of the location, these exercises are being held in international waters. Beijing is in no position to prevent these exercises—unless the U.S. chooses to invest them with such authority, which it appears to all the world to be doing.

    Despite this, the Administration is apparently now indicating that the George Washington carrier battlegroup will not be visiting the Yellow Sea this calendar year—just as Beijing has demanded and despite Washington’s strenuous previous claims to the contrary.

    From the perspective of relative power, the failure of the U.S. to stand by an ally—and by its own principles of freedom of navigation and open use of international waters—will obviously be interpreted in many quarters as indicative of American decline and China’s rise. Worse, taken in conjunction with the Administration’s clumsy handling of the termination of suspensions of the issuance of temporary export licenses related to C-130s for use in oil spill control and the visit of the head of NASA to China, it seems as though Washington is intent on making clear that it is China, not the U.S., that calls the shots in the region.

    One can only wonder what further concessions the Administration is preparing to make to China and what other commitments the Administration thinks may be reaching their expiration dates.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Is the U.S. Commitment to Freedom of Navigation Expiring in the Yellow Sea?

    1. Drew Page, IL says:

      Let's hold on a minute here. Don't we have enough irons in the fire already?

      Do we want to interpose ourselves in another civil war between North and South Korea, like we did in Viet Nam? What did that get us besides 58,000 dead and our country torn apart? Are we still worried about "dominoes" falling? North Korea has nuclear weapons and we can only assume that they would use them if they felt threatened. Tell me what advantage there is in an alliance with South Korea?. Seriously, what do we get out of it, another place to spend tax dollars and American lives?

      We saved France (twice) and Russia (once) from speaking German during the 20th century, only to be looked down upon by the French and targeted for nuclear destruction by the Russians. We go into Bosnia to put and end to the "ethnic cleansing" of Muslims; we go into Muslim Kuwait and kick Saddam Hussein back into Iraq and what does it get us? People dancing in the streets of Palestine when they saw the Twin Towers destroyed on 9/11.

      We don't have to be isolationists. We can carry on trade with other nations who are willing to do so. But we don't have to be the police force for the world. It gets us nowhere here in America, except at each others throats.

    2. Charles King, Dawson says:

      Appeasement. plain and simple. Read your history. It never works. Untill we hold nations accountable for undeclared war, barbarisim on the high seas and murder in international waters we only send them the WRONG message. The yellow sea IS NOT a Chinese lake. North Korea should NOT be allowed to sink free nations vessels and murder innocent sailors to accentuate its temper tantrums.

    3. Marvin Clark says:

      A state policy of appeasement and capitulation speaks clearly of the government that embraces these failed policies. A show of trepidation does not encourage Asian countries to reciprocate by acceding to your wishes.

    4. Charles E. Spence says:

      Remember it was our leaving out Korea as in our sphere of influence during the Truman administration that led to the Korean war. Are we preparing the way for another such event in the future maybe this time it will be Taiwan.

    5. Spiritof76, NH says:

      The US is a debtor and China is a creditor country. They own over $1T of our debt. US can not afford to excite China because we don't have the guts to make the tough decisions on our spending and debt. I wouldn't be surprised if the Chinese demanded natural resoiurces for repayment of the debt instead of the worthless dollars.

    6. icetrout says:

      What should we expect from the POTUS from the Left side of Left??? Look out Taiwan the American Back-Stabbing Left is about to through you under the Big Red Bus :(

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.