U.S. May Risk Conflict With China Over South China Sea

The Wall Street Journal reports on the potential for conflict between the US and China over China’s actions to assert its sovereignty in the South China Sea:

China and the US may potentially come into armed conflict over China's island-building projects to assert its territorial claims in the South China Sea. Image credit: vectorolie on freedigitalphotos.net

China and the US may potentially come into armed conflict over China’s island-building projects to assert its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Image credit: vectorolie on freedigitalphotos.net

After repeated and unheeded warnings to China to halt its massive reclamation works in the South China Sea, the U.S. is contemplating an option fraught with danger: limited, but direct, military action.

By sending U.S. warplanes over artificial islands that China is building, and sailing naval vessels close by—an option now under consideration, according to U.S. officials in Washington—America could end up being sucked more deeply into an increasingly heated territorial dispute between China and its neighbors, say regional security experts.

If such action fails to deter China, America will face a hard choice: back down and damage its credibility with friends and allies in the region, or escalate with the risk of being drawn into open conflict with China.

China immediately suggested that America would be crossing a line if it goes ahead with the plan. “Do you think we would support that move?” asked Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. “Freedom of navigation definitely does not mean the military vessel or aircraft of a foreign country can willfully enter the territorial waters or airspace of another country.”

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