“This is set to escalate the already tense situation in the South China Sea and bring the United States and China, currently engaged in a “whodunit, no-holds-barred” blame game over the novel coronavirus epidemic, to the brink of war”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
The Paracel Islands, known also as the Xisha Islands, form part of a disputed archipelago within the South China Sea, which itself is a disputed waterway.
The archipelago includes some 130 small coral islands and reefs, distributed over a maritime region of about 15,000 square kilometres with land mass spanning around 7.75 square kilometres.
In July 2012, China (PRC) declared a city named Sansha under Hainan Province as administering the area.
The republic did this in response to a July 2012 law passed by the the National Assembly of Vietnam that demarcated Vietnamese sea borders to include the Paracel and Spratly Islands.
Recently, Beijing declared two new administrative districts for the contested region and released a new map naming all islands and reefs it claims.
This time, China was reacting to “diplomatic pushbacks from Southeast Asian neighbors” against its militarised presence in the region, seen as a sweeping assertion of its sovereignty over the resource-rich sea.
None of this is making the Americans happy.
On Wednesday, a United States Navy guided-missile destroyer sailed through waters near the Paracel Islands, challenging China’s claim to the area.
A statement by the American navy read that the USS Barry undertook a “freedom of navigation operation” on Tuesday, a week after Beijing designated the districts.
According to a report, the US sought to assert the “rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law.”
“Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose an unprecedented threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight and the right of innocent passage of all ships,” the Navy said.
Washington has since accused Beijing of “taking advantage of the region’s focus on the coronavirus pandemic to coerce its neighbours.”
This is set to escalate the already tense situation in the South China Sea and bring the United States and China, currently engaged in a “whodunit, no-holds-barred” blame game over the novel coronavirus epidemic, to the brink of war.
Previously, the United States accused Beijing of hiding and downplaying the initial outbreak of the Coronavirus.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump upped the ante by accusing China of wanting him to lose in the November presidential elections.
As it is, the Coronavirus is damaging the American and British economy beyond repair, paving the way for a new cluster of “emerging South East Asian markets” pivoted on Chinese trade.
This is likely to bring the British a point where they slip back into their ‘colonising’ mindsets, determined to break the Chinese monopoly on trade by waging a world war together with the US (full disclosure below).
Such a war would grant Trump discretionary powers to defer the upcoming US presidential elections and to extend his existing term in office for an indefinite period by declaring a state of emergency.