Tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea region as Beijing reportedly blocked access to disputed region’s atoll. Furthermore, China also warned the United States to stay out of the conflict although the West just said recently that anymore provocations from Beijing can lead to serious consequences. Will world war erupt?
China just deployed ships to South China Sea’s disputed atoll which is now preventing Filipino fishermen access to the fishing grounds.Specifically, seven Chinese ships sailed to the Quirino Atoll, also known as Jackson Atoll, in the past weeks. The deployment has furthered spurred tensions in the fragile region, according to Philippine officials. “This is very alarming, Quirino is on our path when we travel from Palawan to Pagasa. It is halfway and we normally stop there to rest,” Reuters quoted Eugenio Bito-onon Jr, the mayor of nearby Pagasa Island in the Spratly Islands. “I feel something different. The Chinese are trying to choke us by putting an imaginary checkpoint there. It is a clear violation of our right to travel, impeding freedom of navigation,” the mayor added.
The Spratlys have been in the middle of the conflict as many believe it to be a resource-rich region. Not to mention, it is also an important shipping link of North Asia to Europe, South Asia and the Middle East.
US just recently warned China of further actions in the disputed region but Beijing countered this by saying that the West is only using the issue to contain its rise. According to a new report from Economic Times, China is calling for the region be a “sea of peace, friendship and cooperation” rather than “excuse or a tool.” The report quoted Wang Guoqing, spokesperson National Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), as saying that South China Sea concern “shall not be turned into an excuse or a tool by certain country to contain China’s development.”
“What the United States has done has intensified tensions and is most likely to cause militarization in the South China Sea,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.