Skip to comments.South China Sea: The coming war?
Posted on 06/27/2010 10:59:33 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
It's a 3.5 million-square kilometer stretch of ocean, speckled with some 200 coral atolls, some submerged or so tiny they hardly deserve to be called islands.
Welcome to the South China Sea, an obscure patch of global real estate that you're likely to hear more about in coming years.
Six Asian countries have long had competing at times comical claims to various islands here, sending token military forces to occupy barren rocks at great expense in the name of national pride.
What's new is China's muscle-flexing, which, if trends continue, could make the South China Sea one of Asia's most dangerous flash-points.
Fueling tensions in the sea are untapped oil and natural gas reserves, China's growing strategic interest in protecting sea lanes by which it gets some of its oil, and Beijing's desire to develop a "blue-water" navy capable of projecting power far beyond China's shores.
The U.S. is paying closer attention to the South China Sea, after China reportedly threatened U.S. energy firm ExxonMobil with retaliation if it continued oil exploration off Vietnam in waters China considers its own. And last year Chinese military vessels harassed U.S. surveillance ships in the sea.
Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made what's believed to be the highest-level public U.S. remarks to date on the issue.
"The South China Sea is an area of growing concern," he said at a security forum in Singapore. "This sea is not only vital to those directly bordering it, but to all nations with economic and security interests in Asia."
(Excerpt) Read more at globalpost.com ...
Japan has the most at stake. I can see them increasing their naval presence and further reversing their aversion to US forces stationed there..
Read through this article to get a sense of the political nightmare this region will continue to be: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spratly_Islands
Thank you for mentioning this. It is extremely important.