The United States is trying to take sides against China as it tries to wade off Beijing’s preposterous claims over land masses in the South China Sea. According to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, China is purposefully trying to gain control over areas in South East Asia, and sending signals of unrest to Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan to name a few.
China is using a heavy hand strategy on the smallest countries in South East Asia, but the US is determined to bring it back to a level talking ground in order Beijing adheres to international laws.
However, according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the U.S. has to play a ‘catch-up game’ with China’s growing political and economic influence in Southeast Asia. The gap is expected to widen in the next decade.
The report that was compiled before the corona virus pandemic hit the world in November, also states that Southeast Asia, home to more than 650 million people and some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, is strategically important to current and emerging global powers such as the U.S. and China.
In the recent past, it was reported that China has been testing Vietnamese patience. Beijing is said to have sent fighter jets and at least one bomber to the Paracel Islands or the Xisha Islands. This is a disputed archipelago in South China Sea comprising some 130 small coral islands and reefs. Because the archipelago is equidistant from People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Vietnam.
It is a controversial island cluster which is claimed ownership over by China, Vietnam and Taiwan too.
In 2016, it was reported that the largest of this cluster of islands, known as Woody Islands by most was hosting surface-to-air missiles owned by China. China has been systematically building an infrastructure there in order to continue to hold its claim. It has claimed the South China Sea for the longest time.
Read more articles: https://www.diplomacy24.com/category/asia/