Despite China’s warnings to their American counterpart, the US have already started their operations in nearby waters of Nansha Islands.
On Monday, after discussions held by some Pentagon officials since last month, it was finally decided to start patrolling missions within 12 nautical miles from Spratly Islands Archipelago due to the concern of the construction of artificial islands in the mentioned location.
Alleging freedom of navigation and overflight, the Pentagon has authorized the display of the USS Lassen destroyer and P-8A, the Pentagon’s most advanced spy plane, which by the way has already been operating to monitor the advance of construction works in the islands.
According to American officials, the biggest concern is not the construction of artificial islands itself. The main problem could be, as stated by the White House Spokesperson, Josh Earnest, the use that Chinese could give to that infrastructure to take control of the majority of the trade in that area, since its commercial importance in the region.
“Ensuring the free flow of commerce…is critical to the global economy.” Earnest said.
In response, China’s government representatives have claimed that the use of the facilities built in the islands would be for humanitarian purposes mainly and that the US aggressive actions and efforts to destabilize peace in the region won’t ever be tolerated.
Written by Lisbeth Mechter