“The South China Sea already is heavily militarized and is certain to become more so as the “re-balancing” of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific gains traction.”
“A far more dangerous confrontation could be shaping up outside the South China Sea, with an even older and better-armed rival.”
“The U.S. cannot referee the welter of legal, historical and emotional arguments that accompany each dispute… The primary U.S. interest in the region is in ensuring freedom of navigation.”
TOKYO – Territorial disputes in the South China Sea are about to get a whole lot worse — and at the worst possible time.
Whether the U.S. can avoid being dragged into a shooting match will depend on how far Beijing and its unruly mix of military, maritime and natural resources agencies choose to push their claims. And whether China’s increasingly frustrated neighbors decide to push back.
Last week’s regional security talks in Cambodia were a step in the wrong direction. China refused to look at a written code of conduct being drafted to govern navigation, resources and related issues in the South China Sea, one of the world’s most important waterways. It also blocked discussion – let alone resolution — of the conflicting territorial claims in the region.
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