Tensions in the South China Sea will not let up as the United States started conducting patrols in the disputed region. Moreover, the Philippines is also vocal about what is happening in the region calling out actions that raise tensions to stop. Will there be a war brewing soon?
Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea region have raised alarms and concerns particularly to other claimants and the West. The United States appears like it will not stand by the sideline as the country reportedly started conducting patrols in the area already. Specifically, the USS Stockdale (DDG 106) is holding routine patrol in the disputed waters under the John C. Stennis Strike Group and Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment, according to the official U.S. Navy website.
“The strike group is exercising our right to operate in international waters,” explained Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, commander, John C. Stennis Strike Group. “Our presence here promotes peace and stability in the region. We’ve got vibrant economies in the Western Pacific, and it’s really important for us to be there for our national interests and to ensure that we can keep the sea lanes free,” the official added.
In the past few months, the U.S. Navy also claimed conducting similar operations within the 7th Fleet area of operations.
The Philippines, one of the claimants of the disputed territory, also requested that concerned parties stop “aggressive actions” that will contribute to the tensions in the region. Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. requested for regional stability. The official also added the West’s plans to conduct naval exercises in cooperation with Japan and India. The naval exercises were in light of China’s recent deployment of ships blocking the atoll near the Philippines.
“Deterrence against aggressive actions, not rising tensions, is the country’s primary concern. The Philippines believes that regional stability is achieved when the rule of law is upheld,” The Manila Bulletin quoted Coloma. “Hence, we have joined cause with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in advocating the adoption of a legally binding Code of Conduct on the SCS (South China Sea),” added the official.