WASHINGTON — The United States on Aug. 3 criticized China’s establishment of a new military garrison in the South China Sea as it called on all sides to lower tensions in the hotly contested waters.
China announced last week that it was establishing the tiny city of Sansha and a garrison on an island in the disputed Paracel chain, infuriating Vietnam and the Philippines, which have accused Beijing of intimidation.
“We are concerned by the increase in tensions in the South China Sea and are monitoring the situation closely,” U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement.
“In particular, China’s upgrading of the administrative level of Sansha city and establishment of a new military garrison there covering disputed areas of the South China Sea run counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region,” he said.
Ventrell also pointed to “confrontational rhetoric” and incidents at sea, saying: “The United States urges all parties to take steps to lower tensions.”
China says it controls much of the South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam all claim portions. Vietnam and the Philippines have accused China of stepping up harassment at sea.
China claims all of the South China Sea on the grounds that they have been sailing it for the last 1000 years (China got organized around 200 BC). And because of that they have been running roughshod over the locals. Even going so far as to question an Indian Navy vessel why it was in the area. China is not going to up it's claim to the entire sea without a fight, which if the U.S. doesn't intervene China will win. Tough rhetoric won't stop, contrary to the belief of the U.S. and the U.N.. There is a war brewing in those parts, the question is when and how big.