The ongoing tensions over the disputed island in the South China has led the United States to declare its readiness in confronting Beijing. This might adversely escalate tensions between the United States and China.
The South China Sea is claimed by China, the area is resource-rich and about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade transits through the area annually. The vast expanse of ocean is also claimed by Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
The Hague invalidated China’s vast territorial claims in the strategic waterway and hence the U.S. asked Beijing to respect the findings by the arbitration court. However, Beijing has continued to act aggressively and hence Admiral Harry Harris who is the head of the U.S. Pacific Command said in a speech in Sydney on Wednesday that the United States stands ready to respond.
The Admiral said that the U.S. will not allow a shared domain to be shutdown unilaterally despite the number of bases that Beijing builds in the artificial features in the South China. However, the U.S. Admiral said that the U.S. will co-operate whenever its possible but emphasized that the U.S. is ready to confront when there’s no other option.
The U.S. Admiral’s statements aggregate the already existing tensions between U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Beijing when he broke the diplomatic protocol by accepting a phone call from Taiwan’s President on the 2nd of December, this greatly exacerbated the diplomatic protest from Beijing.
In an estimate conducted by the United States, over the past three years, Beijing has built more than 1,300 hectares of land by dredging process in the South China Sea. Beijing has built ports, runways, communication infrastructure and aircraft hangars.
The United States conducted a series of freedom-of-navigation operations in the disputed waters. However, the patrols have not been taken lightly by Beijing after one official warned that the practice could result in a disaster. On the other hand, the U.S. through Admiral has emphasized that it’s going to continue patrolling the waters adding that the U.S. fought its first war in a bid to ensure the freedom of navigation and that the U.S. forces are ready to fight for the enduring principle.