China's Military Garrison on the Paracel Islands
China is flexing its muscle in the South China Sea. The usual place where China challenges other nations are the Spratly Islands, home to valuable oil and mineral assets. These islands have always been part of the Philippines. Now, China wants the Paracel Islands, also. China and Vietnam both claim them as their own. The Philippine government and the USA are concerned at the ever growing belligerent posture of China because of the discovered oil, gas and minerals. China has quickly allowed the China National Offshore Oil firm to begin drilling in the contested areas. In June, China announced that Sansha would be upgraded to a military garrison in the Paracel Island group. This caused a strong US statement that indicated such upgrading would cause increased tensions in the area. China retorted that it is none of America's business. Thus, the islands are becoming a flash point for military adventures as each country stands their ground. America has a defense pact with the Philippines. US and China tensions rise in the Gulf of Mexico and Canada as countries duel for oil, gas and mineral drilling rights. China resents the American involvement in the South China Sea area.
Meanwhile, in the Chinese press, the biased media builds public trust by promoting the Paracel Islands for tourism and industry. They urge Chinese to go to the islands. Vietnam has a long history of claiming them as theirs.
Having a military presence is worrisome because of the international shipping lanes that traverse throughout the South China Sea. China has a small coast guard contingent naval force at Sansha.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where this is headed in the coming years as China becomes bolder and bolder.