China has been holding regular drills in the South China Sea, which has sent a threatening message to its Asian neighbours. Though the country has not prompted any immediate indication of war but the signal it has been sending is not very far from the situation as well. Beijing through these drill has been trying to indirectly claim over its neighbouring islands, coral reefs and lagoons and is gradually expanding its reach. The contested waters of South China Sea are believed to be rich source of fish, oil and gas.
China has been holding these exercises regularly now despite objections being raised by its smaller neighbours including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan due to Chinese military’s stubble invasive practices, including overlapping claims in the seas. The Associated Press reported that, the Maritime Safety Administration issued a pair of announcements blocking off seas around the area of the exercises running Sunday through Monday but gave no additional details.
Two weeks ago Taiwan raised call for building a global coalition against China and its military threats. Fearing the increasing use of military force by China and facing “a real possibility” of war, Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu urged all the countries to join in forming a global coalition move. Joseph Wu said that his country was “on the front-line defending democracies from being taken over by the communist China” and was in need of support from other countries. He added China “has been intensifying its military threat against Taiwan” in recent years and had increased military exercises intruding its air and naval space.
Wu said, “We have been trying very hard in the last few years to beef up our own defence capabilities and at the same time we also want to let the international community understand that Taiwan as a democracy has been threatened by China, which is an authoritarian country which is trying to expand its influence.”
Much to China’s annoyance, US assured Taiwan of its support and suggested the latter to invest in more mobile and less expensive weapons to lead a guerrilla-like war against China, if it tries to invade its territory or destroyits electronic command and control systems, protecting its sea.
Besides Taiwan, Indonesian also faced similar situation earlier this month, as its patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel which spent almost three days in waters, which Indonesia claims to hold rights on. Chinas has been trying to make claim contested waters of South China Sea.The Philippines and Malaysia also became victim to Chinese expansive claims, while there appears to be no progress between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China over the South China Sea.
It is not the first time, China flexed its muscle at its not-so-mighty neighbours. But in a most commendable move, the Philippine president invoked before the United Nations a 2016 arbitration ruling against China that invalidated its wrongful territorial claims in the South China Sea. It was found that China considered virtually the entire South China Sea as part of its territory on historical grounds, which was contradictory to international maritime law.