China says much of the resource-rich South China Sea is its own, and is building islands and facilities to bolster its claims.

The US is patrolling the South China Sea more than ever
US Navy patrols near disputed features claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea hit a record high last year, newly released figures show, as the Trump administration ramped up its efforts to challenge China’s territorial claims in the contested waterway. US Navy vessels sailed within 12 nautical miles of features claimed or occupied by China seven times in 2019, according to data released by the US Pacific Fleet – the highest number of so-called freedom of navigation patrols (FONOPs) since Beijing controversially began constructing artificial islands around disputed reefs in the waterway in 2014. Washington carried out five such operations in 2018, six in 2017 – President Donald Trump’s fir
The US is patrolling the South China Sea more than ever
Has China outsmarted the US in the South China Sea?
Before assuming his post as commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral Philip S Davidson issued a stark warning about Washington’s loosening grip in the fiercely contested South China Sea. “In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios, short of war with the United States,” Davidson said during a Senate confirmation hearing ahead of his appointment as the top US military official in the region in May 2018. For many analysts, the dire assessment was a long-overdue acknowledgment of their concerns. Today, there is a growing sense it did not go far enough. Washington’s strategic advantage in the waterway, which holds massive untapped oil an
Has China outsmarted the US in the South China Sea?
China’s first homemade aircraft carrier aims at ‘domination’ in South China Sea
In a ceremony attended by President Xi Jinping, China’s first home-built aircraft carrier officially entered service on Tuesday. The commissioning of the warship, called the Shandong, is a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to build up its naval power. A commentary published by a social media account affiliated with Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily said the Shandong will be deployed to the South China Sea, where “it is very likely that it will have face-to-face encounters with foreign military vessels.”   “The Shandong is aimed at achieving domination in both the air and sea,” the Wednesday commentary said. The article did not name any nation, but Beijing has repeatedly
China’s first homemade aircraft carrier aims at ‘domination’ in South China Sea
Chinese warplanes step up drills for ‘unexpected confrontations’
China’s military has stepped up its exercises in the South China Sea to prepare for “unexpected confrontations,” according to a report in Sunday’s PLA Daily. China claims most of the South China Sea, a disputed resource-rich waterway which is also claimed by several neighboring countries.  But tensions have risen over the waters, with a Chinese destroyer almost colliding with a US warship in September last year. The report by the Chinese military mouthpiece said a naval aviation unit under the Southern Theater Command had completed a drill in which participants identified more than 10 kinds of “enemy” radio signals. “Different from the exercises conducted last year on early warning reconna
Chinese warplanes step up drills for ‘unexpected confrontations’
‘Abominable’: The hidden cost of playing by China’s rules
One after another, international brands from the NBA to Dior have had to apologize for offending Chinese sensitivities. But one country’s political correctness can be another’s taboo, as the fallout from the animated film Abominable has shown. The DreamWorks co-production featuring a yeti in the Himalayas has found itself at the center of a geopolitical dispute over the vast waters of the South China Sea. Several Southeast Asian countries with competing claims with Beijing in the resource-rich waterway have pulled the film from cinemas. For companies looking to do business in the world’s second-biggest economy, this highlights the political liability of carrying the Chinese government’s off
‘Abominable’: The hidden cost of playing by China’s rules
A few pixels on a Chinese map sank ‘Abominable’ in Vietnam
An animated family film about a fluffy white yeti has been caught up in an international territorial dispute. The movie, Abominable, has been reportedly pulled from cinemas in Vietnam because of a brief scene featuring a map showing China’s disputed claims in the vast and resource-rich South China Sea.  The map offended the Vietnamese government for including the so-called “nine-dash line,” which is used by Beijing to illustrate its claims in the contested waters, Reuters reported on Monday.  Abominable, a co-production between DreamWorks Animation and Shanghai-based Pearl Studio, depicts how a Chinese girl and her friends help a yeti return to its home on Mount Everest.  The controversial
A few pixels on a Chinese map sank ‘Abominable’ in Vietnam
Once bitter rivals, US and Vietnam unite against China
Once bitter enemies, the United States and Vietnam are now increasingly united in their mutual suspicion of China’s rising clout in the South China Sea. Last month, a pilot from the Vietnam People’s Air Force became the first in his country to complete the Aviation Leadership Program at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi.  The program provides 52 weeks of flight training to pilots from US partner and developing countries. Captain Dang Duc Toai’s graduation was hailed as the fruit of a partnership between the US and Vietnam that helps “ensure peace and stability in the region and in the world,” according to Lieutenant General Steve Kwast, commander of air education and training command in
Once bitter rivals, US and Vietnam unite against China
Risk of South China Sea clashes rises as Beijing blurs lines
More flashpoints are likely to occur in the South China Sea as China strengthens its presence with ships that blur the lines between military and civilian operations, experts warn. Beijing lays claim to almost all of the South China Sea, including islands that sit amid rich fishing grounds and which are believed to be sitting on big oil and gas deposits. China’s claims put it at odds with Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines. While China’s military activities have been under intense scrutiny over the past years, Beijing has been steadily increasing its non-military presence in the region. A recent incident in which up to 275 Chinese vessels were spotted near the Philippine-o
Risk of South China Sea clashes rises as Beijing blurs lines
Duterte touts ‘suicide mission’ after Chinese sail near disputed island
The Philippines says it will prepare for a “suicide mission” if Beijing ever touches an island claimed by both countries in the South China Sea. President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday called on Beijing to leave alone the island of Thitu, known as Pagasa in Filipino, in a strong protest against a growing Chinese presence in the disputed waters. “I will not plead or beg, but I am just telling you that lay off the Pagasa because I have soldiers there. If you touch it, that’s a different story. I will tell the soldiers ‘prepare for suicide mission’,” Duterte said in a speech, according to Reuters. Duterte made the speech after the Philippines’ foreign ministry accused China of violating its sove
Duterte touts ‘suicide mission’ after Chinese sail near disputed island
China already has escalation dominance
China has the ability to control the South China Sea because it has established escalation dominance in that area. Let’s go through some basic numbers. China now has the world’s largest navy, which has more than 300 ships. If you want to be able to conduct sea control in a region, having a big navy is a valuable part of that. China is able to focus the attention of that navy on near seas to an extent that its competitors like the US cannot. The US has a global responsibility, a global navy, whereas China has the luxury of focusing more of its attention on the near seas, including the South China Sea. Arguably, despite China’s assertions about its far seas aspirations, their navy is really fo
China already has escalation dominance