US to Warn China with More Military, Humanitarian Exercises in South China Sea
The United States has said it will increase the number and frequency of both military and humanitarian exercises in the South China Sea in an effort to send a message to China that its construction of artificial islands and military installations in the region will not be tolerated.
Reuters reports that the plans were announced in Manila during meetings between Admiral Harry Harris, who is in charge of U.S. Pacific Command, and his Filipino counterpart General Hernando Iriberri to discuss the growing Chinese presence.
The purpose of the exercises will be to maintain freedom of navigation, deter conflict, and ensure that international law is followed.
The United States and the Philippines have been staunch allies for decades, and the Philippines claims some of the islands and waters that China covets and has been trying to gain control over. Other countries also have claims to the region, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Taiwan.
Vietnam is also reclaiming land to build islands, but has not completed nearly as much work as China. China's aggression in the region has caused the United States and Vietnam, who fought a war in the 1960s and 1970s, to come closer together. The United States has asked all nations with territorial claims in the region to stop any land reclamation or construction on existing islands.
Since China's reclamation efforts began in Dec. 2013, more than 2,900 acres of land have been created. China says its intentions are peaceful, but the Pentagon claims that military fixtures have been seen on the islands, including a runway large enough to serve every plane in the Chinese air force.