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Over the past year, the Chinese regime has been increasingly assertive of its claims in the South China Sea. Its causing conflicts because several other nations also say they have a stake in the area, which appears to be rich in oil and gas reserves.
The Chinese regime’s aggression over maritime territorial claims has aggravated many Asian countries in the region—as recent disputes over the South China Sea intensify.
South China Sea is along major international shipping routes—and is believed to hold large oil and gas reserves.
Six countries claim portions of that sea: China, Taiwan, Vietnam, The Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. China stakes the biggest claim.
In recent weeks, protests against the Chinese regime’s actions at sea have escalated.
Vietnamese authorities complained that Chinese ships intentionally stopped Vietnamese vessels from carrying out oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.
Chinese authorities have denied these accusations and warned Vietnam not to provoke them.
The Filipino government has complained of Chinese authorities putting up poles, a buoy, and construction materials near the Amy Douglas Bank, 125 nautical miles from Palawan Island in western Philippines.
China also has ongoing territorial conflicts with Japan in the East China Sea. The two countries have barely recovered from clashes over a Chinese fishing boat running into a Japanese patrol vessel last year. It was near what the Chinese call the Diaoyu Islands. China, Japan, and Taiwan all claim sovereignty over these islands—which hold large oil and gas reserves.
Although military confrontations are unlikely, rising tensions over the sea claims could upset regional diplomacy.
Chinese authorities say China’s military poses no threat. But their willingness to use force to assert sea claims is making other Asian countries wary.