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America provokes China in the South China Sea

China has scrambled a fleet of maritime vessels  and fighter jets to intercept the American aircraft carrier USS Stethem which illegally sailed into Chinese waters.

America’s┬ámove was a clearly provocative measure designed to test patience over China’s claims to sovereignty over 90% of the┬áSouth China Sea and the islands therein. The US has repeatedly rejected Chinese claims over the disputed islands, although under President Rodrigo Duterte, Philippines has largely dropped any claims to the region and has adopted a conciliatory approach to China. Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei as well as the disputed province of Chinese Taipei (unilaterally governed as Taiwan) continue to maintain their claims.

This incident comes days after the US agreed to a sale of weapons to Chinese Taipei.

China issued a statement saying,

“Under the pretext of ‘navigation freedom’, the US side once again sent a military vessel into┬áChina’s territorial waters off┬áthe Xisha Islands without┬áChina’s approval. Its behaviour has violated the Chinese law and relevant international law, infringed upon┬áChina’s sovereignty, disrupted peace, security and order of┬áthe relevant waters and put in┬ájeopardy the facilities and personnel on┬áthe Chinese islands, and thus constitutes a serious political and military provocation. The Chinese side is dissatisfied with┬áand opposed to┬áthe relevant behaviour of┬áthe US side”.

China warned the US to, “immediately stop such kind of provocative operations that violate China’s sovereignty and threaten China’s security”.

This combined with Japan turning against China’s One Belt–One Road trade and commerce project as well as the South Korean President’s recent visit to the US during which Donald Trump said that the era of “strategic patience with North Korea is over”, all coalesce┬áaround┬átoday’s event in the South China Sea to form a kind of united front against China centred around the United States.

American provocations to China, in China’s region are highly dangerous. The US is playing with fire in the South China Sea.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

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