CHINA is on a collision course with the US over a bitter territorial dispute that has sparked fears of a new global war breaking out THIS WEEK.
A long-running legal battle between China and the Philippines will conclude on Tuesday, July 12, when the Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration delivers its verdict over the so-called "Nine-Dash Line" – a key shipping route in the South China Sea.
The decision comes three years after the Philippines brought its case to tribunal, with Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam also laying claims to overlapping areas of the ocean.
Here's how it looks on a map:
As you can see above, each of the nations in the area lays claim to a portion of the ocean off their coast, but as the red colored line shows, CHINA claims . . . ALL OF IT. . . even though that part of the ocean the ocean is not within 200 miles of China's coast! In fact, the "Spratley Islands" are more than eight hundred miles (1200km) away from China's shore!
The other countries in the area, especially the Philippines, told China to stay out of their territorial waters and China basically said, "we have a bigger Navy than you (and than the USA) and we'll do what we want." Everyone else has said "No, you won't."
So China started dredging to build-up portions of the Spratley Islands, then populate those new creations with Chinese troops, airfields and Naval facilities.
China claims virtually all of the resource-rich sea as it's own, and has continued with an aggressive building program of military ports, artificial runways and fortresses, despite international condemnation.
The country has already said it will ignore the Hague's ruling, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi saying it "would only escalate the disputes and tensions.”
Ahead of the ruling, the US government called for “all claimants to avoid provocative actions or statements.”
But in an editorial in the state-owned People Daily newspaper – the official mouthpiece of Beijing – China warned there would be "a price to pay" for further interference from the US.
The newspaper editorial said:
“There is a bottom line with every issue, and a price will be paid if that line is crossed.
“If the United States, regardless of the cost, chooses the path of ‘brinkmanship’ that pressures and intimidates others, there will be only one result, that is, that the US bears all the responsibility for possibly further heightening tensions in the South China Sea.
“China has a solid-rock position over safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It will not want anything that does not belong to it, but it will ensure that every inch of land it owns is safe and sound.”
A US satellite image shows construction of a possible radar tower facilities in the South China Sea
Chinese officials are already angry with America carrying out naval missions within the South China Sea, under the convention of Freedom of Navigation in international waters.
Last month Chinese fighter jets flew within 15 metres of a US aircraft over the East China Sea – a move which Secretary of State John Kerry described as a “provocative and destabilising act”.
Seemingly demonstrating its resolve, China has begun a week-long series of combat drills near the southern island province of Hainan and the Paracel islands in the South China Sea, which focused on air control, surface operations and anti-submarine warfare.
Two guided missile destroyers and a frigate were among the naval vessels taking part in the drills, according to state news.
However, the paper claimed this was just normal naval activity which "is not connected with specific events or countries".