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.
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.