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Face Off in the South China Sea Over Oil
Everything is not hunky dory in South China Sea, an ocean that borders China, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Take a closer look at the contentious nations - they all have small navies, all claim areas of the sea as theirs, and all distrust China now and historically.
The map shows a the looming red dragon nation of China, a new powerhouse, against small, incidental nations. The only other "big boy" in this area, based in the Philippines is the USA. China is now flexing its muscle in tip toe fashion by using its navy to stake out what they believe is theirs - it just happens to be the same area that the Philippines claims.
The recent discovery of vast amounts of oil in the Spratly Islands and Scarborough shoal area, estimated at 213 billion barrels or 80% of what Saudi Arabia has has created something worth fighting over. That latter is 500 miles from the Philippines. The rise of rhetoric and threats are now being backed by actions on the part of China. The Philippine Navy recently seized Chinese fishing boats for poaching. This was the excuse to increase tensions that China needed.
China has increased increased the number from 14 last week to 30 presently. Some 23 of them are utility ships associated with China's first oil rig in the area, three are armed naval ships and the remaining are fishing boats in the disputed area. Then, China has suspended its citizens traveling to the Philippines and the PLA (People's Liberation Army) issues a stern warning to the Philippines and US regarding these area: China would not allow anyone to challenge China's sovereignty over the disputed territory, not one inch.
The US has basically responded by deploying its Navy in the area of the Philippines and Singapore. This has irritated the Chinese and once again, they issued a statement stating basically the South China Sea is none of our business, so stay out of it. Not so.
The discovery of such huge amounts of oil makes this the reason. A reason to fight over it if peaceful means cannot be found. It only takes a spark of war to ignite a larger conflict.