South China Sea WARNING: China INCREASING military presence
Admiral Philip Davidson, head of US Indo-Pacific Command, said American forces have observed more warships, fighter jets and bombers to the disputed waters last year. And Beijing’s increased presence poses a threat to future trade in the region, Admiral Davidson said. But despite China’s strategy, he said the US is committed to remaining an “enduring Pacific power”, Bloomberg reports.
Asked about China’s military activities in the region, Admiral Davidson said: “It’s building, it’s not reducing in any sense of the word.
“There has been more activity with ships, fighters and bombers over the last year than in previous years, absolutely.”
In a bid to protect its claims, considered excessive by the West, the Asian superpower has transformed a series of atolls and reefs into military installations complete with airstrips, naval bases and barracks for troops.
The South China Sea is home to some of the world’s most important shipping lanes, with an estimated £4 trillion worth of trade passing through the region annually.
Admiral Davidson said: “It’s a hazard to trade flows, the commercial activity, the financial information that flows on cables under the South China Sea, writ large.”
Tom Cotton, a member of the Armed Services Committee, told the Washington Examiner: “The United States wants ‘a shooting war’ with no nation.
Research by the Henry Jackson Society said nearly £100billion of trade to and from the UK passes through the region annually.
And the best way to help maintain freedom of navigation for vessels in the area is to deploy Royal Navy warships, the study concluded – despite the risk of “inadvertent escalation” with Chinese vessels.