Via a reader tip from Glans comes this latest update on the growing tensions in Southeast Asia over te Spratly Islands:
China warned the United States on Wednesday not to let Southeast Asian countries drag it into ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea, saying Washington should instead counsel its allies to show restraint.
“I believe the individual countries are playing with fire,” Cui Tiankai, China’s vice foreign minister, told a small gathering of correspondents Wednesday. “I hope the fire doesn’t reach the United States.”
The Philippines, one of a half dozen claimants to a chain of disputed islands in the South China Sea, effectively rejected that warning Thursday, appealing to the United States to clarify the coverage of two countries’ mutual defense treaty and to provide Manila with naval vessels to help it patrol the area and fend off Chinese incursions. [Washington Post]
For those that don’t know China has recently claimed the entire South China Sea as their own territory. To put this into perspective it would be like the United States claiming the entire Gulf of Mexico or Japan claiming the entire
Sea of Japan, East Sea, Sea That Cannot Be Named as its own territory. That is utterly ridiculous and this claim by the Chinese should be viewed in the same light. What makes this issue even more ridiculous is that China is claiming these islands that are right off of the coast of the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The below map provides a good overview of the claims:
China has also bullying another US ally Japan trying to gobble up territory from them as well. Let’s not forget how the Chinese have been bullying South Korea and even murdered one of their coast guard personnel. These land grabs seems to be a coordinated Chinese attempt to intimidate these countries and at the same time discredit the US’s security guarantees with the nations it is allies with. I just don’t see how the US can sit this out and allow the Chinese government to lay claim to the entire South China Sea which is key transit route for world trade. With the US economy down and the US military tied up in other areas the Chinese must think now is the ideal time to improve their geostrategic positioning in east Asia and are taking full advantage of it.