Saying Nothing At All

SHAH ALAM: Saying nothing at all. Even as the Malaysian government continue its silence over China’s show of muscles in the South China Sea, the US continued with its Freedom of Navigation and overflights by its forces. Although RMN and APMM ships are patrolling the areas in SCS our determination not to say anything about it, clearly indicate our preference not to ruffle any feathers to both side of the fence.

The latest US Navy FONOP in SCS was on May 12 barely a week after the previous one. And there was this one too. And the ship, Panamian drillship, West Cappela.thats the main reason for the current conundrum is clearly the focal point of the latest FONOP as shown by the pictures below.

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) conducts routine operations near the Panamanian flagged drillship, West Capella, May 12. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brenton Poyser)

US Navy release.

SOUTH CHINA SEA – A U.S. Navy ship conducted presence operations near Panamanian flagged drillship, West Capella, May 12.

The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) operated in the southern South China Sea marking the second time that an LCS patrolled there since USS Montgomery (LCS 8) sailed with USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14), May 7, supporting freedom of navigation and overflight.

“The versatility and flexibility of Independence-variant littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Southeast Asia is a game changer,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7. “Like Montgomery’s previous operations, Gabrielle Giffords’ operations near West Capella demonstrate the depth of capability the U.S. Navy has available in the region.”

“There is no better signal of our support for a free and open Indo-Pacific than positive and persistent U.S. naval engagement in this region,” Kacher added.

Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Bill Merz reaffirmed that the U.S. Navy will fly, sail and operate in the South China Sea wherever international law permits at any time.

“Routine presence operations, like Gabrielle Giffords’, reaffirms the U.S. will continue to fly and sail freely, in accordance with international law and maritime norms, regardless of excessive claims or current events,” said Merz. “The U.S. supports the efforts of our allies and partners in the lawful pursuit of their economic interests.”

The U.S. Navy remains vigilant, is committed to a rules-based order in the South China Sea, and will continue to champion freedom of the seas and rule of law while opposing the Chinese Communist Party’s coercive and unlawful actions.

In late-April, USS America (LHA 6), USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and USS Barry (DDG 52) sailed together with the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Parramatta (FFH 154), signaling U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific to allies and partners in the region.

Attached to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, Gabrielle Giffords is on a rotational deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) operates near West Capella, May 12. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brenton Poyser)

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) conducts routine operations near drillship West Capella, May 12. (U.S. Navy/FCC Shaun Tucker)

— Malaysian Defence

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