A U.S. satellite image made by DigitalGlobe, a U.S. space imagery company shows the presence of Chinese advanced early warning and control planes on its military base in Hainan island. The planes are the advanced Shaanxi KJ-500 aircraft, which is a surveillance aircraft that is capable of monitoring 100 vehicles simultaneously. The said planes are parked in Jialaishi Airbase on Hainan island in the South china Sea.

China is slowly gaining traction on its claim of the South China Sea

The AWACS planes are capable of doing surveillance of almost the entire South China Sea.

This is problematic for nations like the U.S. which regularly pass through international waters in this area to project its influence in South East Asia. The United States has a standing visiting forces agreement with the Philippines, making it legal for warships to pass through Philippine waters during the course of the agreement.

China has been constantly claiming territory in the South China Sea and some have been already militarized. A series of man-made structures have been reportedly observed in the highly contested Spratlys islands, an area where most of it was ruled to be within the Philippine territory by the Hague resolution. However, China disregards the resolution and continues to occupy the disputed islands.

What is the U.S .response to this new information?

The United States refrains from confronting China directly over the dispute in the South China Sea as it could add tension to the area. The U.S. military has its eyes on North Korea at the moment, especially with the recent successful missile test. Washington is also weighing the pros and cons of actively pursuing a more imposing presence in the area as the Philippines is slowly drawing close to its massive neighbor's economic influence.

At the moment, the United States has enough naval might to impose its dominance in the area, yet President Trump might consider a more economic approach in dealing with China. The U.S. president has dispatched a delegation to attend the "Belt and Road" initiative forum in China that deals with the creation of a massive interconnected system of transportation in the entire Eurasian region.

The system which is now dubbed the "new silk road," aims to connect almost four billion people together in a massive economic sphere spearheaded by China's economic might.

The power of China is growing day by day and its growing influence is being felt slowly by many countries in Asia. If left unchecked by the United States, it may be that in the not so distant future the balance of world economics will be shifted to Asia, under the immense productivity of China.