lørdag 8. mai 2021

China’s Deep-Sea Motivation for Claiming Sovereignty Over the South China Sea

In March of this year, over 200 Chinese marine militia ships gathered at Whitsun Reef in the Spratly Islands. Their presence was an ominous reminder of China’s intention to claim large swaths of the South China Sea, enclosed by the so-called “nine-dash line,” as its sovereign territory. Philippine officials sounded the alarm and reiterated the 2016 ruling of an international arbitral tribunal that denied the legality of China’s previous claims. Chinese officials dismissed the ruling and its implications and downplayed the military presence. But quietly, China continues to fortify a new and controversial presence in the South China Sea that risks triggering conflict. At least one American pundit is already warning of the risk of war between the United States and China.

Among the many issues at stake is the free and unlimited access to these international waters and the critical trade routes that run across them. These top-water issues are important and have drawn the attention of the largest navies in the world. China’s naval presence in the region has reached record levels with a plan for even more growth.