South China Sea WW3: China Plotting War Since 2010?
Over the past years, tension in the South China Sea has reached an unprecedented level, with reports of clashes involving Chinese coast guards piling up, a U.S. study shows.Advertisement
According to a study conducted by Washington-based international security think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the majority of clashes in the highly contested maritime zone involved the Chinese coast guard.
Clashes in South China Sea
The study revealed that a third of the 45 clashes recorded in the South China Sea involved the Chinese coast guard, which translates to around 30 cases. Although clashes and recorded encounters in the region involved different nations, the Chinese dominated the list.
China has intensified patrol activities in the contested maritime zone after UN-backed tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines over the maritime dispute lodged by Manila in 2013. Bonnie Glaser, CSIS security expert on the South China Sea, told Reuters that the data reaffirms China’s behavior in the region as a way of flexing military muscle for the entire region to see.
“The evidence is clear that there is a pattern of behavior from China that is contrary to what law enforcement usually involves. We’re seeing bullying, harassment and ramming of vessels from countries whose coast guard and fishing vessels are much smaller, often to assert sovereignty throughout the South China Sea,” Glasser was quoted as saying by Reuters.
State leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) are currently in Vientiane, Laos in time for the Pacific Rim Summit 2016. But days before the summit, a similar clash happened involving a Chinese coast guard vessel.
The series of clashes in the South China Sea has raised concern among leaders within the region, including Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who talked of the importance of international law compliance in the region before a Chinese premier, Manila-based GMA News reported.