Rather than bringing China and the US closer together, the coronavirus has magnified tensions between them. But as they assert themselves at sea, observers warn of costly miscalculations.
Based in Yokosuka, Japan, the guided-missile destroyer was no stranger to the sensitive channel separating Taiwan and mainland China. In fact, this was its second passage this month through the 112-mile-wide waterway – defined as part of the South China Sea under international protocol.
As the Covid-19 global health crisis continues to rage, infecting more than 3 million people and causing more than 210,000 deaths, military maneuvers are being analyzed to see if the pandemic has changed the balance of military force in the region.
The Chinese military has also made its presence felt in the Taiwan Strait.
The Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, paraded through the waterway with its strike group the day before the USS Barry arrived.