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US Challenges China’s Island-Building In South China Sea

China’s recent actions in the South China Sea are nothing but unnecessary provocations. Apart from militarizing some of the islands it disputes with countries like Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Brunei and Vietnam, China has also taken some dangerous steps towards building some structures on a few of the contested islands. A not-so-strategic move that has invoked angry protests from the other concerned nations, including the United States that has been acting as a prominent peacemaker. It is generally believed among pundits that if America hasn’t deterred China by flexing its military muscle in the South China Sea, holding military drills with China’s rivals and parading the Sea with its state-of-the-art naval ships, China could have used its newly acquired military might to crush its opponents in the region.

Image By: Lindsey Burrows

Growing insecurity in South China Sea

The Philippines and other South-East Asian rivals have dragged China, because of the growing insecurity in the area, to the recently concluded 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Kualar Lumpur, Malaysia on August 4, 2015. Their unanimous decision to urge China to halt erecting buildings and military airfield on the disputed islands fell on deaf ears as China retorted that the issue is beyond ASEAN’s capacity. Chinese leaders’ defiance could be linked to their belief that China is militarily capable to defend its interest on the islands and can effectively quash any military offensive coming from all its competitors combined.

Another indication that Chinese leaders aren’t having sleepless nights about the issue is the fact that China has already converted seven outcroppings of reefs and shoals into artificial islands. A show of effrontery that had made American strategists feel that something awful is in the offing in the region. Will China up the ante and launch pre-emptive attacks on its Asian neighbors because of the hotly disputed islands? No one call tell. The current escalation of tension in the region has reached its crescendo, and any attempt for the world leaders to look on without confronting China land-grabbing tendency may be disastrous.

The United States’ position has always been straightforward but very complex. The US must defend the interests of its...