TL;DR (2-minute read)
- A newspaper owned by a Chinese government official has threatened to violate American and American ally territory by sending ships to our shores in response to American ships coming within miles of artificial Chinese territory.
- Recently, the Chinese have been building artificial land in the sea to build a greater military presence in the international waters, and have on occasion even claimed natural islands in the sea are also part of China.
- in 2017, Trump advisor Steve Bannon predicted that at some point, the US will engage with China over disputes in the South China Sea. It increasingly seems like his prediction was correct – the Us must take a stand against China and stop the unlawful territory grabbing and intimidation of nearby countries over claims of the sea.
On September 8th, The Global Times, a Chinese newspaper owned by Yang Jiechi, the Director of Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Commission, called for the Chinese navy to send ships to US territorial waters. In other words, an official from the Chinese government has called for warships to be sent near the shores of American and American ally military bases. This complaint is due to an American destroyer coming within 12 miles of a Chinese artificial island. This threat is not the first of its kind, and it won’t be the last. It is also a more aggressive reminder of the fact that we should be more cautious about Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.
What Has Been Happening in the South China Sea?
For the past several years, the Chinese government has set its eyes on the South China Sea due to the placement of trade routes and the abundance of important resources there such as fish, oil, and natural gas. While Chinese interest in the area goes back several decades, the ongoing dispute between America and China started in 2010, when then-U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton affirmed American interests in the region. In 2011, then-president Obama stated that America would shift its strategic focus to the South Chinese Sea.
A big concern in the region is the placement of artificial islands by the Chinese, which would allow for a greater military presence. These islands would allow for China to expand its naval and aerial presence in neighboring countries, which would allow them to bully these countries into giving up their claims of land. In 2020, China also fired 4 missiles into a part of the sea claimed by Vietnam.
How Concerned Should We Be?
On September 8th, an official for the Chinese government threatened to violate the territorial integrity of America and her allies. This is not the first time China has done something like this, and as long as we allow it to happen, it won’t be the last. In 2017, Steve Bannon, then-president Donald Trump’s chief strategist, had said that a war in the South China Sea between American forces and China was inevitable. Given that both powers possess nuclear arms, as well as the world’s most powerful armies and economies, a war between both is too risky a chance to take. We must avoid war, but at the same time, prevent exploitation and aggression by Chinese forces. We have to be very cautious and watch China’s every move, as one fatal slip can result in territorial claims of sovereign nations being violated, or even worse, war.