In the war of words between the United States and communist China over the coronavirus, in which Beijing accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of being a “liar” and an “enemy of humankind,” a less colorful but more serious message may have been overlooked.
In late April, the guided-missile destroyer USS Barry completed a routine freedom-of-navigation operation in the South China Sea. In response, Beijing stated that it “expelled” our warship, describing its patrol as “provocative” and a serious violation of its sovereignty and security interests, one that “could easily trigger an unexpected incident.”
The next time an American ship or plane operates lawfully in international waters or airspace off China’s shore, President Xi Jinping may have a more vigorous response. Xi seems to be gearing his country up for armed confrontation.