US-China confrontation looms in troubled waters of South China Sea


Subject to competing claims by China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and Vietnam, more than half the world’s merchant tonnage plies back and forth through this navigable chokehold between the Western Pacific and Indian oceans, as Robert Kaplan, a former member of the Pentagon’s Defence Policy Board, writes in his book, Asia’s Cauldron, The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific.

The so-called freedom of navigation exercise could see US and Chinese naval vessels operating inside Chinese-claimed waters within 1000 meters of each other. 

Under its waters lies an estimated 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 130 billion barrels of oil.

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