China’s claims in the South China Sea are completely unfounded and every country in the world knows it. The only reason China is making such a big deal out of it is that it believes there’s hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil and natural gas in the area. According to international law, a country’s territorial waters extend only a few hundred miles off its shoreline. They call this an “exclusive economic zone”. Take a look at this map.
China is trying to claim everyone else’s territory and when they complain about it China says that they should “not start trouble.” China’s arrogance in this issue is astounding. Last year, Hillary Clinton gave China a big slap in the face, and rightly so, by saying that solving the territorial disputes in the region were in the US national interest. Not sure if I buy that but that certainly gave China pause, at least for a few months.
The CCP has made it a point to settle it’s disputes one on one. They claim the reason for this is to avoid outside pressure. But anyone with half a brain knows it’s to use their size and strength to intimidate the smaller countries that have competing claims. Today Vietnam staged a live-fire exercise in the South China Sea in retaliation to their spat with China over oil exploration earlier in the week. That’s the right approach. China needs to see that these other countries won’t just lie down and take it.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? Vietnam and China used to be BFFs but after a major war and several border skirmishes it looks like it’s all over. Now Vietnam is cozying up to the US as a counterweight to China’s growing ambitions. China dreams of being the ruler/leader of Asia but its heavy-handed tactics are driving more and more of Asia away. Pretty soon they won't have many friends left if they keep it up.