SCMP file photo/USCG

The US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have jointly pledged to build an “integrated all-domain naval power” and called for strengthening maritime alliances. It called China “the most pressing, long-term strategic threat”. The strategy, titled Advantage at Sea and published last month, defined the US Navy’s objectives as “preserving freedom of the seas, deterring aggression and winning wars”. US Pacific Fleet and Southeast Asian nations, said Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore said “This new tri-service maritime strategy essentially enshrines the pre-existing habits of cooperation and coordination, and serves as a guiding framework on how these US maritime forces work together and pool their strengths to counter China’s maritime activities.” Derek Grossman, a senior defence analyst with US think tank the Rand Corporation, said “The US may be able to more effectively deter Chinese activities in this way, though it is also conceivable that Beijing would escalate the conflict by bringing in Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy assets, triggering potential US Navy involvement.”