South China Sea has become a hot potato ever since China started its reclamation project on the islands whose ownership has been under contention by several nations: Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and China. It had since provided explosive fodder for the political tussles that may turn into an ugly military conflict. Strangely, the conflict is not between China and these contentious nations, but with the USA located some 12,000 km away.
Hitherto, China was a sleeping giant until it gained economic prosperity in the last 3 decades after relaxing its Communist ideology. It unilaterally reinforced its claim (as presented to the United Nations in 2009) over the “nine-dash line covering most of the sea, extending down to the coast of Malaysia. The Philippines brought a suit against China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague which ruled on 12 July 2016, against China. China refused to acknowledge the decision or even the court’s jurisdiction and continued with massive development on the previously uninhabited atolls.
USA has accused China of militarizing the islands and therefore becomes a potential threat to free navigation and trade. According to information gathered by the council on Foreign Relations, more than $5.3 trillion worth of shipping travels through the sea each year; $1.2 trillion of this trade belongs to the United States (digitaltrends.com). Besides trading, the South China sea is rich in resources and produces 12% of global catch.
The importance of this strategic sea cannot be underestimated. But why would China want to jeopardize trade that it is so dependent on? The question, besides ownership of the atolls (there are others), is whether the USA has a mandate to police the seas that is 12,000km away. Accusations by the USA had been repeatedly denied by China. The Chinese thinks otherwise. China’s visiting Premier has dismissed suggestions his nation is “militarising” the waters of the South China Sea, but has acknowledged defence equipment placed on disputed islands was to help maintain “freedom of navigation” (http://www.abc.net.au).
The Chinese future intentions are unknown and is subject to speculation. What is known is history. China had not been an aggressor in colonizing other countries for thousands of years. On the contrary, USA with only 200 years of history, has overtly planted its military assets all over the world. If these facts do not paint an accurate picture of who in indeed the imperialist, nothing else will.
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.