From Bad to Worse in the South China Sea

(ANTIMEDIA) South China Sea — As the reality of all-out war breaking out in the Middle East looms larger, the potential for a collision course in the South China Sea also continues to grow.

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On Friday, Anti-Media highlighted the situation unfolding in East and Southeast Asia, where the United States, Japan, and South Korea are coordinating military drills purportedly aimed at taking out Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

Meanwhile, just south of those exercises, the relationship between China and formerly-staunch U.S. ally the Philippines is warming. Filipino troops are now stationed on some of the islands within the Spratly chain, and Reuters reported Monday that Chinese military vessels are even lending a hand to Filipino fisherman at the Scarborough Shoal.

As Anti-Media has pointed out, tensions are likely to escalate considerably in the coming days, as Japan intends to send its mightiest warship on a three-month tour of the South China Sea in May — its biggest show of naval force since World War Two.

And if that isn’t enough, the New York Times reported Monday that the U.S. military just rerouted some major firepower in the direction of North Korea:

“The commander of American forces in the Pacific has ordered an aircraft carrier and several other warships toward the Korean peninsula in a show of force by the Trump administration just days after North Korea tested another intermediate-range missile.”

Continuing:

“The officer, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., the head of the military’s Pacific command, diverted the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and its wing of fighter jets from a planned series of exercises and port calls in Australia, the commander said in a statement. The Vinson and three guided-missile destroyers and cruisers steamed out of Singapore on Saturday for their new mission in the Western Pacific.”

Incidentally, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson is the craft that transported the Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Delta Force units to South Korea, where they are currently taking part in the military exercises.

This means that right now, a U.S. aircraft carrier, supported by a squad of warships and fighter jets, is steaming north toward the Korean peninsula. Of course, it will have to pass by the Filipino and Chinese-occupied islands in the South China Sea.

At the same time, Japan is preparing to send a powerful warship south with the stated goal of “touring” those very waters.

So a Japanese warship, we’re told, will be hanging out in the region just as a U.S. aircraft carrier — again, escorted by gunships and jets — passes through on its way to North Korea.

For a more detailed look at the factors that make the area of the South China Sea so potentially explosive, readers can turn to a more comprehensive analysis published by Anti-Media last week.

For now, it’s significant to note that there’s at least one man who’s looking at the whole board — the Philippines’ president, Rodrigo Duterte. During a news conference Monday, he referred to his move to occupy islands in the Spratlys, stating:

“I ordered the occupation of the ten or nine islands that are just near our shores because there’s a heightening of geopolitical issues and eventually maybe a violent low-intensity war over here.”

The president didn’t elaborate on how a war can be both “violent” and “low-intensity” — particularly when the conflict will involve the level 0f military hardware that’s currently building up in the South China Sea — but it seems clear that at a minimum, he accepts that bloodshed could be a near-approaching reality.

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