David Shear, assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs, has said the Navy will deploy littoral combat ships in the South China Sea to perform surveillance operations in the region’s shallow waters, DoD Buzz reported Friday.
Shear told reporters the service branch plans to rotate four LCS through Singapore by 2018 and maintain military presence in the South China Sea in response to China’s artificial land construction efforts in the disputed Spratly Islands, Kris Osborn writes.
“China has said it has stopped reclamation but it is not clear to us if they have stopped or are just finishing up,” Shear said.
China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Vietnam are among the countries that have territorial claims in the Spratly Islands, according to the report.
“There is the potential for militarization of these features,” Shear noted.
“We call for a permanent halt to all of these activities.”