Note that 5. 3 trillion dollars of goods pass through the South China Sea each year – this accounts for one-third of global maritime trade.
Here at Classiarius we sometimes look at geopolitical hot spots and make what we think are high probability outcomes. So while the US and China are talking about trade friction, disagreements and now a possible full-blown trade war, the possibility of military confrontation is increasing by the day. Bear in mind that the US has naval and air bases around Asia and with an increasing number of ships and planes in the region – some rotated out of the European theater into the Asian theater – there will be increased brinksmanship and mini-accidents in the near future. As I type, the US Navy is complaining that a Chinese destroyer was “aggressive” and “unsafe” in its behavior in the South China Sea today.
The US sees the South China Sea as a free passage zone that can be used by shipping lines to haul goods around the world. China, on the other hand, sees the South China Sea as its backyard and wants to control this water-based highway. There is growing evidence that China will continue to gobble up islands and turn them into air bases for defensive purposes and refueling centers for warships. China is planting a big flag in the South China Sea and letting the world know that this is there territory – passing through would require permission.
China expressed anger and said that the US was conducting operations that were a threat to its sovereignty. Again, China has what is called the Nine-Dash Line which it claims confirms (through some historical reasons), that the entire South China Sea is its home territory. Have a look at our recent audiovisual packages that discuss China and its expansionist ambitions that look much like the US drive into the Caribbean in the late 1880s to early 1900s. Take over your immediate coastal waters to allow your blue-water navy to reach out to the world. China has taken a lesson from the US.
China`s Defense Ministry said that the South China Sea is irrefutable in terms of sovereignty – and the US sends ships, to provoke the Chinese Navy on a regular basis. There are analysts who say that the US and China could damage peace in the region. And please note that recently, the Chinese Navy has refueled its submarines in Vietnam and other ports in the region.
The US, Japan and China are playing a dangerous game – all expanding on their current positions in the region.