Flashpoint South China Sea
It really is ludicrous. Look at the map. How could the world allow China to claim that the South China Sea is their private ocean? Surround this sea on the east, west, and south, is not China, but Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Only the north rim is China. Yet, the Chinese have been allowed to claim key island groups in the sea, the Paracel, Spratly and Scarborough Shoal. When transport ships traverse too close to them, the Chinese coast guard confronts them. If it is a US naval ship, they shadow it and warn it they are in violation until the ship leaves the area. All the countries that border the sea also claim, yet, unable to defend their claims, so it is moot because China is the big bully in the area and only the US can take them on.
China is militarizing the whole area and acts innocently about it despite legal actions in the United Nations taken by several countries. They just plod along with no opposition to building up the reef islands and creating airbases defended by AA missiles. These are not resorts. The US is resolute about halting it and making sure the Chinese do not interfere with sea commerce. China, laughingly called the US countermeasures as “provocative and coercive”. Talk about spinning propaganda in their favor!
The US, Australia and Japan have been hold naval exercises in the region much to the distaste of the Chinese. Key to the frontline defense is the Philippines, a former US base in the 1970s. US warships have been docking in the Subic bay area in a show of force. Joint military exercises with just the Philippines has happened. With the Chinese considering of building another reef base just 200 miles from Manila, one can only sense that China is provoking confrontation that will serve no purpose. In the Spratlys, they have complete seven reef bases, some with airfields for jets and radar. Most of these are not far off the coast of Palawan island in the Philippines. Some of the reef islands also contain jet fighters.
The Philippines’ has granted access to the US military five bases under the new defense pact. The planning is contingent but the US will base five A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft, three H-60G Pavehwak helicopters and a MC-130H at Clark AFB along with 200 men permanently. Subic Bay, vacated by the US in 1992, will be home again to US naval vessels on a temporary basis.
Perhaps, China has claimed the vast ocean area as theirs for the large deposits of oil and gas that lay under it. In essence, reserving all rights to them when they choose to refine it in the future.