The South China Sea is an area supposed to be rich in minerals and natural resources. China claims the entire Sea (almost 90%) as its exclusive economic zone. The peripheral nations like Vietnam, Borneo, Formosa, Philippines, and Indonesia also claim portions of the South China Sea but are powerless against the military might of China, which has started a military build-up in the region and constructed airfields and military installations capable of operating jet aircraft.

The US has always maintained that the sea was not a Chinese preserve and it will maintain "Freedom Of Navigation" in the disputed waters.ABC net has reported that the Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is sailing through South China in defiance of China.

Freedom of the Sea

The carrier which was in the Philippines port of Manila is due to proceed for the first-ever visit to Da Nang in Vietnam from March 5-9. The US has claimed the exercise is not a confrontation with China but a routine exercise to establish freedom of the Sea for all nations.

The Australian ABC News has given a different slant to this news and said that the US is making a big deal of this trip to show the Philippines that it stands with them in keeping the South China Sea open for navigation and travel of all ships.

The Philippine president who earlier had said that the responsibility for the Chinese buildup rested with the USA for the simple reason that the USA at that time could have nipped the trouble in the bud by sending a fleet of five aircraft carriers to police the Sea.

Duterto's acerbic comment

The president Roberto Duterte in an acerbic comment has said that the bases of China were not against the Philipines but against America. According to the New York Times, he went on to add that Chinse president Xi Jinping had promised him that he would honor Philipone claims as he was an honorable man.

These comments will not be to the liking of Trump.


It does appear that the show of force by the USA is a little too late as the horse has already bolted. The Chinese have a massive military presence in the Ocean, and they have also reclaimed many islands from the sea and built military installations on them. A sail through the South China Sea does not amount to much as China has de facto control over the area. President Donald Trump will be wondering how he can get the Chinese to roll back their military presence in the South China Sea. It looks an impossible task, short of going to war.