Is China getting too big for its britches in the South China Sea?

Just days after the U.S. shot down a Chinese "weather balloon" loaded with surveillance equipment that had brazenly traversed the U.S., along with perhaps a few flying objects that might be theirs since, you'd think China would be on its best behavior ahead of a summit.

Not a chance.

China has now been caught throwing its weight around in the South China Sea, actually harming the Coast Guard sailors of our treaty ally, the Philippines.

Here's the Associated Press report:

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines on Monday accused a Chinese coast guard ship of hitting a Philippine coast guard vessel with a military-grade laser and temporarily blinding some of its crew in the disputed South China Sea, calling it a “blatant” violation of Manila’s sovereign rights.

The Chinese ship also maneuvered dangerously close, about 137 meters (449 feet), to block the Philippine patrol vessel BRP Malapascua from approaching Second Thomas Shoal, a submerged reef that has been occupied by Philippine forces, on Feb. 6, the Philippine coast guard said in a statement.

The Philippines has filed nearly 200 diplomatic protests against China’s aggressive actions in the disputed waters in 2022 alone.

Which sounds pretty evil, given that ship they were interfering with was a supply ship bringing food and water to Philippine military personnel stationed on the Second Thomas Shoal. No word on whether the sailors got the food or water.

What's more, there is no reason to doubt the Philippine officials, who have photographs of the whole thing as it happened. Their statement is here. The AP has three of photos from them on a photo carousel at this link, the first shows the green laser, the second shows the utterly menacing ship that attacked them and the third shows another view of the Chinese ship.

The incident follows hundreds of provocative acts in that part of the world against the Philippine military and certainly seems the most aggressive. What's more, the Chinese didn't even lie about it, which is often their default mode when they get caught doing something they shouldn't: 

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said a Philippine coast guard vessel trespassed into Chinese waters without permission on Feb. 6. Chinese coast guard vessels responded “professionally and with restraint at the site in accordance with China’s law and international law,” he said, without elaborating and mentioning the use of laser."

Doing harm to another country's sailors is not "professional," it is an act of war. What's more, their fiction about being in Chinese waters is nonsense. They know as well as anyone else that the waters they were in are claimed by Philippines even as the Chinese, too, claim them. A normal nation would proceed with caution, but not these guys. Based on what we know about the facts in this encounter, the Filipino sailors were the only professional ones, as they opted not to escalate. The Chicoms acted like street thugs. They wanted to hurt the Philippine sailors and now they have done that, stepping up their aggressive tactics, quite likely in response to news that the U.S. will be returning to the Philippines at nine military bases to help guard the region.

They've never done this before, just as they've never done their balloon stunt over the U.S. to the level they did this month. 

Notice also the implied threat within the Chinese statement, in their claim to have acted with "restraint" ... by merely blinding the sailors temporarily with military grade lasers. In other words, they could have acted much worse, suggesting that the Filipinos should be grateful they didn't kill them.

 The timing is interesting, too -- the Chinese balloon that was shot down off South Carolina was first discovered by the public on Feb. 1 or so, and had been around a few days earlier. It was shot down on Feb. 4. The incident in the Philippines was on Feb. 6.

It shows a cluster of Chinese warfare-type activity on the U.S. and its allies, done through very irregular and unconventional means, creating surprise.

Dollars to donuts, China's military chief didn't call up Gen. Mark Milley to advise him they'd give a heads up before they attacked as Milley did for them. The Chicoms play for keeps.

It also shows the sheer pinheadedness of those in the Biden administration who are running the Pentagon, too. Recall that the Department of Defense's policy chief, Colin Kahl, the number three official in charge of our defense, made this idiotic statement a week ago as noted in the Washington Examiner:

In an interview with Defense News this week, Kahl offered extraordinary overconfidence that China will not attempt an invasion of Taiwan within the next two years and likely far further into the future. This bears note because U.S. military and intelligence officials increasingly do believe that Xi is likely to order an invasion before this decade is out, possibly before 2027. Their assessment is vested in intelligence reporting and comprehensive political and military analysis.

Kahl, however, is unconcerned.

"I don't see anything that indicates that [an invasion] is imminent in the next couple of years," Kahl said. Identifying China's investment in capabilities and strategies designed to counter the U.S. military within the waters west of Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines, Kahl added, "I see nothing that indicates Xi Jinping believes his military is ready to do this. Nothing."

Nothing? That's a very bold statement for someone who holds an office that must wager against unknowns. But Kahl was just getting started. Describing Beijing's calculations, Kahl observed, "I think that they understand well that the United States continues to have pretty significant overmatch in a lot of critical domains."

That ought to be a firing offense right there, given the balloon incident, and now the laser-blinding incident on our ally. If this clown doesn't know that China means business and has every intention of taking control of Taiwan and the South China Sea by its stepped up aggressions and provocations, nothing will teach him.

We know the Chicoms read those Kahl statements, and laughed up their sleeves at him, given what they were planning at the time.

Well, now they have gotten started and take a gander at where they are going. They know that Joe Biden is weak. They know that the Philippines is weak. They know that the Democrats have been compromised and they have the receipts. They know that President Trump is out of the picture. They would not have dared try anything under Trump who scared them.

Is it any wonder that they are stepping up their aggressions now? For them, the time is now, and they seem to just be getting started. 


Image: Twitter screen shot

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