US to base four warships in Singapore as China flexes military muscles

Redheart

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US to base four warships in Singapore as China flexes military muscles | World news | The Guardian

Four US warships designed to fight in coastal areas similar to south-east Asian waters will operate out of Singapore by 2018, a senior US Navy official said Tuesday, further underscoring Washington’s military tilt to Asia.

The “rotational deployment” of the vessels, called littoral combat ships (LCS), comes as China continues to flex its muscles in the South China Sea and tensions remain on the Korean Peninsula.

“We will soon see up to four LCS here in Singapore as we rotationally deploy Seventh Fleet ships,” said Rear Admiral Charles Williams.

“We envision four ships here by May 2017 to sometime in 2018... but I think what you have is that by 2018, four LCS ships will be rotationally deployed here to Singapore.”

Williams, commander of the Seventh Fleet’s Task Force 73, was speaking to reporters aboard the USS Fort Worth, an LCS on a 16-month deployment to south-east Asia.

It replaced another LCS, the USS Freedom, which recently ended an eight-month tour of duty.

The USS Fort Worth is set to take part in exercise Foal Eagle, a joint military drill with South Korea from 24 February - 6 March.

It will also join regional navies in the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercises and the International Maritime Defence Exhibition.

“The role of the US navy in both south-east Asia and north-east Asia is about presence. It’s about being where it matters when it matters,” Williams said.

Fast and agile, LCS vessels can be adapted for specific missions through a system of interchangeable modules and crew.

The US Navy plans to build 52 LCS vessels at a total cost of $37 billion but the programme has become controversial due to cost inflation, design and construction issues.

In 2012 the then-US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that Washington would shift the bulk of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020 as part of a new strategic focus on Asia.

China is embroiled in a maritime dispute with four south-east Asian countries - Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam - as well as with Taiwan over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

While not a claimant, the United States has said it has an interest to ensure freedom of navigation in the area.
 
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US plan " Pivot to Asia" is still alive. I hope that the US presence in Singapore will tip the balance in the heavily contested South China Sea. I think it is good for Vietnam and Philippines since they are US allies against the ever asserting China.
 

Kjordo711

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The United States has to be very touchy with China. We know that China has that big brother effect over North Korea, and we see North Korea continuing to spout hate towards America. China also has around ~240 nuclear warheads in their collection, and as they rise to become another superpower throughout the world. Luckily for us, I don't think China will really become a huge threat because they have a massive economic bubble, that, when it pops, will definitely hurt them, along with the rest of the world, but they won't be able to really struggle against us too toughly in terms of battle.
 

mikka254

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I am really surprised that the US is acting on this. I really thought they would try to remain low key with this matter but I guess they do not want them to get any advantage or to misuse their power by bullying others.
 

003

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It's exciting. I think there's already a cold war that's going on between China and America. What's exciting is that we see two countries competing against each other without the cost of blood and innocent lives, without murders, but more on economic strategy and shows.
 
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It's exciting. I think there's already a cold war that's going on between China and America. What's exciting is that we see two countries competing against each other without the cost of blood and innocent lives, without murders, but more on economic strategy and shows.
It is all a lot of hot air, USA needs China and China to a lesser degree needs USA. But each side has to do something to keep their population happy. It is like the Philippines and China. China needs cheap labor, the Philippines supplies cheap labor. If China wanted to screw the Philippines over, all they have to do is stop hiring cheap Filipino labor.
 
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I never expect Singapore to actively play a role in regional defense. I'm glad that the country is starting to transition from market-centrism to military competence. Gone is the apathetic Singapore that simply minds its own business. The country is starting to function as if it's part of a community of nations in every sense of the word.
 

stevesxs9

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Whenever the United States feel they have some kind of interest in an area, they will usually act upon it. So I think it is critical to have some representation in that region, especially since I believe it will possibly keep down tensions and ensure the area stays safe to navigate.
 

Kappys

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I think whenever america wants a resource or has some need for the area at hand, that they protect it as much as possible, just like any continent or country would. If they weren't vital, no support or cooperation is needed.