The US sent the USS McCampbell guided-missile destroyer near one of the recently constructed islands in the South China Sea, while China took the position that this was a clear “provocation” and then used its media platforms promote its DF-26 ballistic missile which reportedly has a range of 3,000 to 4,000 km.
China has constructed a series of man-made military outposts on reefs that have been appropriated from the sea and turned into islands. China says that the DF-26 missile is a new generation of intermediate-range ballistic missile that can neutralize medium and large ships. This missile has been tested for both conventional and nuclear strikes on land while the sea based version is conventional only. This missile can challenge US aircraft carriers as well as US bases in the region. This area around China sees 3 trillion dollars of trade pass through it each year – so China has the ability to disrupt the global merchandise trade and oil trade as well.
The area around the South China Sea has lanes and islands that are claimed by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia and other countries. This island issue will not go away soon, as China is expanding its influence in the region. The number of islands that China claims has increased as has its influence in the region.