South China Sea: How USA & China could erupt in 2018 as world is distracted by North Korea

Tuesday, January 2, 2018
By Paul Martin

FRAGILE relations between Beijing and Washington could be thrown into chaos over the tense South China Sea situation, experts have warned.

By WILL KIRBY
Express.co.uk
Tue, Jan 2, 2018

When Donald Trump took office last January it appeared as though tensions in the region would be a high priority on his foreign affairs agenda, but with Washington’s priorities elsewhere, China has been given free reign to enjoy its disputed claims to the neighbouring sea.

Michael Fuchs, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, admitted to CNN: “The water was beautiful for China in the South China Sea in 2017.

“The Chinese continue to pace with their long-term strategy to gain de facto control over the sea lanes in the South China Sea. And what changed is the United States stopped paying attention.”

However, 2018 could see the matter reopened if the Asian superpower continues to build islands in the region and deploy military assets on them.

However, 2018 could see the matter reopened if the Asian superpower continues to build islands in the region and deploy military assets on them.

The sea carries huge strategic importance, with one-third of the world’s shipping passing through, carrying over $3trillion in trade each year.

Oil and gas reserves are under the seabed and the body of water also holds lucrative fishing opportunities.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in his confirmation hearing in January 2017: “Building islands and then putting military assets on those islands is akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea. Its taking of territory that others lay claim to.

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