In late January, the USS Curtis Wilbur sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Triton Island in the Paracels, an archipelago claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. The three claimants were not notified that the operation, which understandably caused a stir in Beijing, would take place.
"The United States recognizes that all nations are entitled to claim a 12 nautical mile territorial limit as China claims over the Paracel Islands," Black noted in an article for New Eastern Outlook. "Even if the competing claim by Vietnam was valid the limit still applies. Yet the Americans now arrogantly claim that they can go where they please and do as they like and that these limits do not apply with respect to these islands, or, in fact, to any Chinese borders."
A similar incident took place last October, when the USS Lassen approached Subi Reef, an artificial islet in the Spratly Islands, although Beijing has explicitly asked the US to refrain from any provocations in the South China Sea.
For instance, "the Americans continue to press Russia in the Black Sea using both naval and air forces and are openly committing aggression against Syria by sending their military units into Syria, allegedly to fight [Daesh], without the permission of the Syrian government," he noted.
The US launched its counterterrorism operation in the Middle East in mid-2014. Iraq welcomed Washington's involvement at the time since Baghdad was overwhelmed with the Daesh offensive and was struggling to contain the insurgency. A month later Washington unilaterally expanded its aerial campaign to Syria, although Damascus has never authorized the operation in its airspace.
Nevertheless, "at the same time as [the US] ship violated Chinese territorial waters, the Americans blasted Russia by claiming Russian planes had violated Turkish airspace, a claim the Russians vehemently denied and labelled the claim what it was, a provocation," Black added.