The United States is pushing a 'militarization' process that prompted China's Defense Ministry to release a statement, Thursday, saying that they 'really need' its defenses in the South China Sea. Over the last week China has reportedly deployed advanced missiles, fighters, and radar equipment on the islands in the disputed seas, which has infuriated the United States.
These arguments between the two powers have only increased, with China more or less calling the U.S. a hypocrite. Essentially, the U.S. has been conducting air and sea patrols near the islands China claims in the South China Sea, specifically with two B-52 strategic bombers. In November, this U.S. Navy destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of this specific island that China claims as their own. However, the United States says they are only doing this because of China's aggression and attempts to militarize the waters and territories.
Clearly, China still doesn't see anything wrong with this. In fact, according to Beijing, The Parcel Islands of the South China Sea are China's "inherent territory." China's Defense Ministry spokesman continued by stating that it is within their legitimate right to deploy these defense facilities because it is their own territory, and they have the freedom to, at any time, to do as they please.
Despite China's claims, it is no secret that they are trying to militarily dominate East Asia. But is the United States employing a double standard? While the United States patrols are said to be in response to China's actions in the regions, they cannot be mistaken as anything other than militarization. That being said, more focus needs to be placed on the issues taking place in the South China Sea before the situation escalates and China declares an Air Defense Zone.
Keeping this in mind, the U.S. strategy needs to be level headed. China's actions while seen as aggressive by the U.S. have actually been incremental, with the intent to not cause international chaos or anger. The U.S. response should be more diplomatic, instead of intentionally sparking outrage within Beijing. Furthermore, the U.S. should still be determined to encourage freedom of navigation and continue flying where international law allows. At the same time, the United States should be encouraging unification by surrounding regions by promoting the idea that territorial claims should be based on international law and resolved peacefully.
As China continues to take actions that both violate other country's (such as Vietnam) sovereignty, militarization by both China and the United States will be accelerated. Ultimately this threatens the peace and stability of a region that the world 'literally' (because of trade dependency) cannot afford to see fall apart.