Sunday, January 24, 2016 - USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) docks at Manila, Philippines.
Saturday, January 30, 2016 - USS Curtis Wilbur conducts a FONOP within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-occupied Triton Island in the Paracels.
Here are the geopolitical implications of this naval operation:
1. The US does not also recognize Communist Chinese sovereignty over the Paracels (which were just forcibly annexed by Communist China from South Vietnam in 1974).
2. The US does not recognize any of Communist China's territorial claims in the entire South Chinese Sea outside of the Republic of China's pre-WWII territories (e.g. Paracels, Spratlys, Scarborough Shoal, etc.)
3. Just like the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal, the US prefers that sovereignty over the Paracels should also be established through international arbitration.
4. Currently, the US will aggressively challenge with FONOPs all Communist Chinese territorial claims in the entire South China Sea (but who knows what the future will bring).
5. Now that EDCA is in place, these FONOPs will be mostly launched from the Philippines.
The USS Curtis Wilbur is part of the Seventh Fleet based in Yokusaka, Japan.
She is currently under the command of CMDR Amy Graham.
The nickname of USS Curtis Wilbur is: "Steel Hammer of the Republic"
Thank you for the Steel Hammer of the Republic's FONOP Uncle Sam!