US Navy proposing major show of force to warn China
The US Navy's Pacific Fleet has drawn up a classified proposal to carry out a global show of force as a warning to China, according to defence officials.
The draft proposal from the Navy is recommending the US Pacific Fleet conduct a series of operations during a single week in November, CNN quoted the officials as saying on Wednesday.
The goal is to carry out a highly focused and concentrated set of exercises involving US warships, combat aircraft and troops to demonstrate that the US can counter potential adversaries quickly on several fronts.
The plan suggests sailing ships and flying aircraft near China's territorial waters in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait in freedom of navigation operations to demonstrate the right of free passage in international waters.
The proposal means US ships and aircraft would operate close to Chinese forces.
The officials also emphasised that there was no intention to engage in combat with the Chinese.
While the US military carries out these types of operations throughout the year, the proposal being circulated calls for several missions to take place in just a few days.
The Pentagon however, has not commented on the proposal, CNN said.
"As the Secretary of Defence has said on countless occasions, we don't comment on future operations of any kind," said Lt. Col. David Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman.
Wednesday's development comes just days after what the Pentagon has called an "unsafe" encounter between US and Chinese destroyers in the South China Sea.
The US Navy said the Chinese destroyer Lanzhou came within 41 metres of the USS Decatur while the American ship was on a "freedom of navigation" operation near Chinese-claimed islands.