The Chinese navy has conducted live-fire exercises in the disputed South China Sea to demonstrate their power. China’s defense ministry said the drills were routine, even though other countries have made claims over various parts of the disputed territory.
China’s Defence Ministry issued a statement proclaiming, “The People’s Liberation Army Navy in recent days organized a fleet to go to relevant seas in the South China Sea [sic], by way of the Western Pacific to carry out exercises.” China views the Spratly Islands as Chinese territory and is beginning to treat them as such.
While the Chinese media reports that Chinese ships participated in exercises, they have avoided saying where these exercises were located.
As the picture above shows, the Chinese claim involving the Spratly Islands vastly outnumbers the claims put forth by other countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Not only does this mean that Chinese territorial waters would be right up against the countries in the South China Sea, it would affect maritime trade as well.
More than $5 trillion of maritime trade uses the South China Sea as a trade route each year. If China is able to enforce its claim, then it would give them control of all the trade that moves through the region.
The United States has made their own moves in the South China Sea in protest of the Chinese’s actions. In November, B-52 bombers flew over China’s artificial islands in the area and one month prior, in October, the U.S. Navy sent a guided missile destroyer to the South China Sea, coming as close as 12 nautical miles to one of the islands.
These events should be common knowledge among Americans, as it cannot be understated that the result of Chinese control over the Spratly Islands would affect not just one region, but the whole world.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author, and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Unrestrained News.