US, China Nears Confrontation In South China Sea

US, China Nears Confrontation In South China Sea
US President Barack Obama during a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping U.S. Embassy The Hague/Flickr cc by 2.0
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The United States and China are both at each other’s throats on the South China Sea dispute. Beijing responded fiercely when the West dispatched ships to the region signaling what could be near war signals.


South China Sea is in a precarious position as tensions to continue to rise among countries involved. Two powerhouses, particularly the US and China, are presumably at pre-war with each criticizing the move of the other.

“Basically it is the US policy of containing China. Nobody is going to say that publicly at least from the US side but everything they are doing on the ground there indicates that China is a growing power,” said William Jones, a member of the Executive Intelligence Review in Leesburg, in an interview with Press TV. “It is becoming economically very important, it is also building up its military forces in the region and the United States feels that it still is the great hegemon who must control world politics so they are pulling together all their friends and military allies to encircle China,” he added.

According to Jones, the situation is extremely dangerous. “We saw that in the early 20th century leading to World War I and we can see that this is becoming a more confrontational situation,” he added. China has seemingly been growing frustrated with the issue especially following the statements of Hong Lei at the Foreign Ministry and more significantly the Foreign Minister Wang. The officials are pointing out that the US is militarizing the region instead of China.

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Jones advised that concerned powers need to develop a different directionality because the way things are going now constitutes a pre-war situation. Both countries share considerable interests including in trade, economy, etc. Should there be a conflict then both sides can expect large damages.

What the U.S. intelligence thinks about the matter is further given through an unclassified February 2016 letter from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, Senator John McCain. USNI News first published the letter (via The Diplomat) claiming that by the time 2016 ended or 2017 started, China will “have significant capacity to quickly project substantial offensive military power to the region.”

“China has established the necessary infrastructure to project military capabilities in the South China Sea beyond that which is required for point defense of its outposts,” read the letter.

“These capabilities could include the deployment of modern fighter aircraft, surface-to-air missiles (SAMS), and coastal defense cruise missiles, as well as increased presence of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) surface combatants and China Coast Guard (CCG) large patrol ships.”

However, as to whether China is expected to push for more land reclamation activities in the South China Sea, the letter notes that there is still no evidence that China is looking to do considerable additional land reclamation because there should be enough “at Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs to reclaim more than 1,000 additional acres.” Furthermore, while four smaller reefs and underwater features could be grounds for land reclamation, intelligence does not believe that China will launch reclamation efforts in the East China Sea.

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