President Trump and Defense Secretary Mattis are not backing down to the Chinese. As I write these words, Carrier Task Force 1 has sailed into the South China Sea as America calls the bluff of China to stay out of the region.
After months of relative calm, the events in the South China Sea are, again, heating up and are threatening to bring chaos and war to the South China Sea and perhaps the planet.
The major players in the territorial dispute are China, Vietnam and the United States. At issue are the Spratly Islands in which China has constructed artificial Islands and militarized them as they lay claim to the area. This is a dispute that has both the US and Vietnam up in arms.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that tensions in the waters have stabilized, due to the hard work of Beijing and Southeast Asia countries. However, he warns, the US should cease patrolling the South China Sea as it belongs to China. He further elaborated that the US will respect the current situation by not taking “any actions that challenge China’s sovereignty and security,” according to Reuters. And now we have the fertile ground of a standoff and the potential for World War III.
The following map encapsulates the territorial disputes between several nations. China has claimed the South China Sea as its own which is in direct violation of international law.
Many think that China’s aggressiveness is tied to its desire to isolate the region so that China can attack Taiwan and bring this “rogue state” back into China. Taiwan, formerly Formosa, is where the nationalist Chinese fled in 1948 following a successful Communist revolution led by Mao.
China’s rapidly growing perimeter which will protect Chinese invasion forces when they attack Taiwan. This is what many military experts believe China is doing. They are threatening to cut off the major trade route associated with the TPP, which is now dead in the water. However, Chinese exclusion from the deal has not changed the Chinese claims that the South China Sea is the exclusive property of China. However, the major concern is that the Chinese appear to be forming a strike force capable of attacking Taiwan in fulfillment of the Communist Chinese “One China Policy”. Although President Trump has held to the “one China” policy, this determination has wavered and has angered the Chinese.
Vietnam, Malaysia and most of all, the Philippines are impacted by aggressive Chinese action in the region in which the Chinese are constructing militarized islands which are serving as an impediment to free trade. It is interesting to note that President Duterte of the Philippines is pivoting toward China as he clearly sees what is coming.
The areas of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam could provide the Chinese war machine with virtually unlimited supplies of oil, rubber and other raw materials needed to maintain a sustainable Chinese war effort if China is able to dominate the region. IF these nations cut off Chinese oil, the Chinese may feel compelled to take what they need as did the Japanese, for the same reason, just prior to World War II.
The Vietnamese deny the presence of rocket launchers. However, Reuters cited three unnamed sources confirming this report.
Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has stated that the Chinese should have limited access to their artificial Islands. A line in the sand has been drawn.
Vietnam has quietly farmed several of its islands in the disputed South China Sea with long-range mobile rocket launchers which are capable of striking China’s runways and military installations across the vital trade route, according to Western officials.
Please note, from the map above, Vietnam has placed rocket launchers in the Spratly Islands. This is the precise area where the Chinese constructed militarized, artificial Islands.
Previously, the United States, on two separate occasions, sailed several ships into the are to challenge the Chinese claims that the Spratly Island location are the sovereign territorial waters belonging to China.
Previously, the US Navy has briefed the media, the public and its Asian allies on America’s intent to challenge the territorial waters of the artificially created Chinese Islands which threatens the freedom of the seas in the region. IS this a case of the immovable object meeting the irresistible force? It would appear that the world is on a collision course for World War III, from several different angles.
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