South China Sea: Everything You Need to Know About Asia’s Slow Brewing Showdown

    Kris Osborn

    Security, Asia

    And it could start a war. 

    The recent US B-52 flyby over contested areas of the South China Sea, in response to the recent Chinese landing of a bomber aircraft in the area, is again shining a spotlight upon the underlying roots of the territorial disputes, tensions and provocations in the South China Sea.

    While lingering beneath the radar and overshadowed by other pressing international crisis, South China Sea confrontations – and the history which causes them – have not gone away but rather intensified.

    For many years now, the US and its allies have challenged China’s consistently aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea. Just recently, Defense Secretary James Mattis condemned Chinese activities in the area, specifically citing their military maneuvers and weapons placement.

    “China’s militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea includes the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, electronic jammers, and more recently, the landing of bomber aircraft at Woody Island,” Mattis said in a speech at Asia’s premier security summit, called Shangri-La in Singapore. “Despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion.”

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