Beijing Crosses Washington’s ‘Red Line’ in South China Sea

Thursday, August 11, 2016
By Paul Martin

SputnikNews.com
12.08.2016

The Chinese military appears to be dramatically increasing its presence around a key island in the South China Sea, sending a strong message to Washington.

As Beijing continues its land reclamation projects in the South China Sea, Washington has remained adamant about one island in particular: Scarborough Shoal. Located northeast of the Spratly archipelago, it is claimed by China, Taiwan, and the Philippines, and the US has maintained that any attempts to militarize the shoal would cross a “red line.”

According to Pentagon officials, Beijing may have just crossed it.

While China has maintained a small presence of two or three maritime security vessels around Scarborough Shoal, that number has escalated in the last few weeks. US officials familiar with intelligence reports tell the Washington Free Beacon that there are now over a dozen Chinese ships in the area.

In addition to security vessels, Beijing will also permit hundreds of fishing vessels to harvest the rich waters around Scarborough Shoal. This tactic was similarly deployed in the East China Sea, where Beijing sought to legitimize its claim to the Senkakus, islands claimed by both China (where they are known as the Diaoyus) and Japan.

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