SOARING tensions between China and the US in the South China Sea could easily spill over into armed conflict, according to the Philippines’ defence secretary.
Delfin Lorenzana said the intense rivalry between Beijing and Washington was the major security concern in the volatile region warned his country would bear the brunt of any escalation in hostilities.Mr Lorenzana told a Manilla defence forum: “If ever a shooting war happens, the Philippines — which is right smack in the middle of the conflict — will be involved whether she likes it or not.
“This is the crux of the security challenge in the Indo-Pacific region, the looming confrontation of the US and its allies and China for the South China Sea.”
Both sides have recently stepped up military activities in the strategic waterway.
China has increased the frequency of its armed coastguard patrols and last week the US flew two supersonic heavy bombers into China’s air defence identification zone to the northeast of Taiwan.