The United States and China's relationship is a very complicated one. And, while both countries are sometimes rivals, there are times when they set their differences aside and cooperate with each other on delicate issues. With that said, China has recently placed surface-to-air missiles on territories the country claimed in the South China Sea region.

South China Sea war threatens US Military dominance

However, the South China Sea is currently being disputed over by the Philippine and Chinese governments. The escalated tension poses a threat to USA military operations in the region, thus, Pentagon officials have to reconsider various aspects of their plans.

U.S. officials emphasized that there have been no clear decisions made regarding the rising tension. However, they said strategic planning will be considered in short order.

While the US has no intention of sending more armed forces to the disputed area, they have acknowledged that the problem between both governments should be resolved amicably. But, finding a diplomatic and peaceful resolution is a tall order when China and the Philippines have threatened each other with war.

China's President said if Manila continues to enforce the arbitration decision by the international bodies, then war is unavoidable. The Philippines rejects the Chinese territorial claim and continues to prepare the area for the drilling of oil and gas.

China and the Philippines fights over South China Sea

Rodrigo Duterete, the Filipino President, in a live broadcast on Friday, reiterated his plans to continue natural gas exploration. However, both countries fighting over the region have pledged to keep the line of communication open to facilitate talks, in an effort to end the problem peacefully.

Recently, Duterte highlighted his country's stake in the Asian region that has become a geopolitical hotbed. The war of words between both nations has caused a dilemma with the United States presence, although Beijing officials have not confirmed the possibility of an immediate war. The United States would be severely affected as the war would threaten its naval dominance within the Pacific region.

However, although China doesn't legally own the disputed region, it continues its military buildup and construction of artificial islands to facilitate an air base. Last July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in a ruling based on the Hague convention, rebuked the Chinese government's behavior.

In the landmark decision, the court said China's sovereignty claim is not legal. However, the Arbitration court's decision cannot be enforced. The Chinese government refused to acknowledge the ruling, and continues to lay claim to the region.