What China dangerously underestimates about America’s interest in the South China Sea


Last week one of the U.S. Navy’s newest patrol aircraft, a P-8A Poseidon, took off from an air base in the Philippines and flew due west.

Over the shimmering blue green waters of the South China Sea, the plane was hailed by a voice warning the crew they were nearing Chinese territory and should immediately leave.

The incident didn’t occur near what most people consider China — mainland China was hundreds of miles away. It occurred near three tiny islets in the South China Sea: Subi Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, and Mischief Reef. These tiny, seemingly inconsequential bits of land are the front lines in a dispute involving China, her neighbors, and now the United States.

The islets could also be stepping stones in the path to war, as China and the United States become increasingly embroiled in a territorial dispute that neither side has any intention of backing down from.

The South China Sea is one of the most valuable patches of ocean in the world. A third of the world’s merchant traffic passes through the area. It’s also resource rich, home to rich fishing grounds and large reserves of oil and natural gas. The South China Sea functions as a sea border for a number of countries, including China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Taiwan.


Read more: http://theweek.com/articles/557430/what-china-dangerously-underestimates-about-americas-interest-south-china-sea