Despite claims that it is not militarizing South China Sea per se, Beijing claims that its efforts in the region will depend on the threat. Furthermore, a recent analysis of China and North Korea suggests that military power in Asia is shifting against the United States.
A Chinese navy chief told his US counterpart last Wednesday that China will be putting corresponding facilities on the islands in the South China Sea depending on the threat level it faces. However, the country still refused claims that it is seeking to militarize the region.
The South China Sea has been a highly disputed region specifically for the US$5 trillion worth of global trade passing it. Not to mention, the region has also been linked to considerable deposits of oil and gas. Several countries stepped out to lay claim on the region like Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines and Brunei. China is in the middle of the tensions for its construction of artificial islands in the area.
“Our necessary defensive step of building on islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands is not militarization, but this has been maliciously hyped up by certain countries and media,” Channel News Asia quoted Chinese naval commander Wu Shengli.
“We will certainly not seek the militarization of the islands and reefs, but we won’t not set up defenses. How many defenses completely depend on the level of threat we face,” added the official.
However, whereas some of the claimants to the South China Sea islands are US allies, a new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said the military power is shifting in Asia – and it is against the United States.
“The balance of military power in the region is shifting against the United States,” wrote the researchers. The authors also identified China and North Korea as strategic challenges. The researchers go as far to say that the two nations are going against the “credibility of U.S. security commitments.” North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions and China’s moves in the South China Sea region are key concerns for the West.