China begins the response to Trump’s “diplomacy” with Taiwan.

There was always going to be a Chinese response to Donald Trump’s call Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-wen. It has started in an interesting fashion.20160116_blp538

SMH reports: A Chinese Navy warship has seized an underwater drone deployed by an American oceanographic vessel in international waters in the South China Sea, triggering a formal diplomatic protest from the United States and a demand for its return, a US defence official says.


The Chinese vessel that seized the drone

This is a relatively low-level response.  The American oceanographic vessels civilian vessel, not a military one although the act was carried out by a Chinese Navy warship.  So the Chinese are clearly playing a wait-and-see game. It’s like a bit of push and shove in the playground, daring the other side to escalate the conflict. Given America’s vast military strength in the Pacific, Trump may be tempted to try a bit of sabre rattling in the Pacific.

100724-N-9500T-336  PACIFIC OCEAN (July 24,  2010) The Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) leads a group of multinational ships during a photo exercise (PHOTOEX) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010.  RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise.  Since 1971, this large-scale biennial exercise has been designed to increase mutual cooperation and enhance the tactical capabilities of participating nations in various aspects of maritime operations at sea.   (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Taylor/RELEASED)

It will be interesting to see how Trump handles his first diplomatic and military test. Given that nothing about the man is subtle or nuanced, we can expect some form of overreaction which must be exactly what the Chinese are expecting.


Meanwhile, recent visits to Beijing by the leaders of Malaysia and the Philippines have underscored the possibility that countries in the region are drawing closer to China.

See also Will Donald Trump’s phone call to the Taiwanese President create diplomatic problems for the US?

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