Military drills under the United States have prompted Iran to issue a warning on closing oil shipping lanes along the Strait of Hormuz. The threat has not only rang alarms but also raised questions on whether China could take the same route in relation to the rising tensions in the South China Sea.
General Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, reportedly said the remarks via the Iranian Television.
“If the Americans and their regional allies want to pass through the Strait of Hormuz and threaten us, we will not allow any entry,” Oilprice.com quoted Salami via Forbes.
The official cited the early April large-scale military drill “International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX)” that included 30 countries as participants.
According to Forbes, Strait of Hormuz is considered the most important oil transport choke point in the world as it is situated between Oman and Iran and connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
The strait sees around 20% of the world’s oil transported through it. Given such, it has been a task for the United States to keep the strait open and ensure it remains open. However, the contention between Iran and US puts the trade in peril.
The same concern has been raised about the South China Sea. According to Forbes, China has been stepping up its land reclamation activities even with the tensions.
This is despite the promise of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the US that it will not militarize the region. South China Sea also ranks as one of the most important choke points for oil and gas trade.
The matter becomes even more pressing as a new report from the Business Insider said that South China Sea is actually one of the most militarized regions in the world.
Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative reveals the extent of dispute and military activities in the region. Given the situation, Beijing is in the position to push its territorial ambitions against other nations.