South China Sea Ticking Time Bomb: Vietnam’s Mobile Rockets Risk Arms Race, War…”Beijing has responded forcefully, telling its people to prepare for war.”

Thursday, August 11, 2016
By Paul Martin

The placement by Vietnam of rocket systems capable of striking China dramatically raises the stakes over the disputed waters and territories, all but forcing an act of escalation by Beijing.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Vietnam had “discreetly fortified several of its islands in the disputed South China Sea with new mobile rocket launchers capable of striking China’s runways and military installations across the vital trade route,” citing an unnamed Western official.

The provocation by Vietnam comes in the wake of Xi Jinping’s refusal to adhere to a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration

at the Hague, which found that Beijing’s territorial claims to disputed waters and islands in the South China Sea are without merit.

China argued that the decision was political, and lacked both substantive and procedural merit, most notably because the Hague does not have proper jurisdiction over the case — as the treaty requires both parties to a dispute to submit to arbitration before a legal judgment can be made.

Facing regional and Western pressure to abandon their claims to valuable waters through which some 40% of the world’s shipborne trade travels each day, and under which lies one of the world’s largest oil and natural gas deposits, Beijing has responded forcefully, telling its people to prepare for war.

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