South China Sea crisis: America reforms US Navy’s 1st Fleet to oppose Chinese ...

FEARS of a major conflict erupting in the Asia-Pacific surged after the administration announced the US is reforming its 1st Fleet for the first time in over 40 years.

PUBLISHED: 04:40, Fri, Dec 4, 2020 | UPDATED: 04:40, Fri, Dec 4, 2020

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The announcement was made by Kenneth Braithwaite, Donald ’s naval secretary. The new fleet will take responsibility for security of the seas around South-East Asia and the western Indian Ocean.

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Analysts have widely interpreted the move as being aimed at China, America’s main regional rival.

Beijing has claimed sovereignty over a large chunk of the South China Sea, overlapping with rival claims from six other countries, sparking fears of war.

Announcing the decision to the US Senate’s armed services committee Mr Braithwaite said: “In order to improve our posture in the Indo-Pacific we will reconstitute the 1st Fleet, assigning it primary responsibility for the Indo and South Asian region as an expeditionary fleet.

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“This will reassure our partners and allies of our presence and commitment to this region while ensuring any potential adversary knows we are committed to global presence, to ensure rule of law and freedom of the seas.”

WW3"This will reassure our partners and allies" (Image: GETTY)

WW3US Naval Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite (Image: GETTY)

America hasn’t had a 1st Fleet since 1973 when it also covered the western Pacific.

This indicates a significant increase in the US interest in the region.

Currently the US has six fleets, each of which are based around a particular region of confronting a specific threat.

According to ABC News it is expected many of the vessels for the new fleet will come from the 7th Fleet which operates out of Japan.

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