The United States military is considering a plan to confront China in the South China Sea, over the disputed Spartly islands.
Following the creation of artificial islands in the south china sea by the Chinese government, and numerous objections by U.S and regional countries, the Pentagon has finally decided on a plan of action. The military is considering sending ships and planes close to the disputed Spartly islands. Pentagon chiefs are not able to sit quietly by and see China claim territorial rights for its artificial islands, in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. A number of regional countries and allies of the U.S also have claims from their own territories. They don’t fancy the Chinese encroachment into what they consider to be their areas, by creating land on bits of rock, and claiming territorial rights afterwards.
China has been undertaking a massive project to make the islands—known in the West as the Spratly Islands—physically bigger, and the US wants to send a message that it does not recognize China’s territorial claims. Defense chief Ash Carter is considering Navy surveillance flights over the islands, along with sending ships within 12 nautical miles.
“Such a move would directly challenge Chinese efforts to expand its influence in the maritime heart of South-east Asia,” observes Reuters. As the Journal notes, it’s not clear whether China would back down in the face of US military might or ramp up construction in defiance.
The US has remained outside the 12-mile zone to date to avoid raising tensions. A spokesman for the Chinese government calls the construction perfectly legit and says he hopes that “relevant parties,” meaning the US, will “refrain from playing up tensions or doing anything detrimental to security and mutual trust.”
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