China has been in a battle for control of man-made islands in the South China Sea. Recently, we have seen multiple cases of the Chinese military taunting United States ships and aircraft. The most recent incident was during a routine U.S. Navy surveillance flight. The flight did not intrude on Chinese territories but was intercepted by a Chinese aircraft, which flew unreasonably close and was done in a very unprofessional manner.
The issue has been continuing even after the control over the land in the South China Sea was not granted to China in an international court. Even with the court ruling, China has continued its presence and control over the man-made islands. China has started a military buildup while they continue their stay in the South China Sea.
The harassment of the United States military in the area is unwarranted and has increased over the past few weeks. The United States military is not violating any regulations or international laws with their presence. From what has been reported, the harassments have happened during routine flights, which were not focusing on China or their man-made islands.
The increasing harassment by China will be something to keep a close eye on. It is not clear why China is behaving in this manor but could become another issue that will take attention away from resolving issues we face domestically. It will be interesting to see if President Trump increases U.S. military presence with his increase in military spending. Not knowing the exact reason behind China’s actions, it is hard to predict if it will become a major issue or something that can be resolved peacefully. It does seem that China is building up their military in the South China Sea but the exact reason why and their intentions are still unclear.
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(May 26, 2017)