The South China Sea is a hotbed of rivalry. It is claimed by many nations but China claims 90% of the sea. It claims the Spratly Islands which are 800 km from the Chinese coast. The Philippines went to the International court and filed a complaint against China. The International tribunal did not favor China's claim to the sea, but Beijing in a show of force rejected the findings. China went a step further and did two things. It militarized the islands and at the same time created artificial islands on the atolls in the China sea. All this happened under the nose of the Obama administration.

China has also built airstrips on the island which are capable of jet fighter operation. It regularly carries out exercises and recently the Chinese aircraft carrier moved about in the area. The Russians have ganged up with the Chinese and also carried out joint exercises in the sea.

USA and China's claim

Donald Trump has rejected China's claim to the south China sea This is an important part of East Asia and its strategic importance cannot be underrated as trade worth 3 trillion dollars passes through this sea. Now the Chinese have presented Donald and the USA with a fait accompli. The next step has to be taken by him. Sending an aircraft carrier to carry out exercises in the disputed sea is not a solution as China is not prepared to dismantle its military constructions or relinquish its control over the islands.

Donald's problem

This is the enigma, Donald has talked of a strong armed force and a stronger navy. One is apt to ask what use will this power be as far as China's claim to the China sea is concerned. The dragon holds a tactical advantage over the area and the peripheral powers are too weak to oppose it. How will Donald confront the dragon on the issue of the SC sea?

Despite all rhetoric, he may make a compromise and allow China to consolidate its hold on the area. The reason is that he has to fight the Russian phobia created by his opponents. He is effectively cornered and his freedom of action is now limited. His hands are tied and it will be interesting to see what policy he adopts to tackle China in the months to come in the South China sea.