At a time of heightened global interest over territorial issues in the South China Sea, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday warned the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) of the bully boy tactics employed by China, saying that any conflict resulting from Chinese actions “would have serious global consequences for security and for commerce.”
Blinken’s comments soon after drew a sharp response from Beijing, with China’s deputy UN Ambassador Dai Bing saying the US was “stirring up trouble out (of) nothing, arbitrarily sending advanced military vessels and aircraft into the South China Sea as provocations and publicly trying to drive a wedge into regional countries.”
Tensions have increased in recent months as Beijing continues to stake a claim over Taiwan with Chinese naval and air forces repeatedly pushing territorial limits in the Taiwan Strait, and more recently further afield into Japanese waters off Okinawa.
As a result, in the last week, Tokyo announced the future deployment of its Self Defense Forces to Ishigaki Island in western Okinawa, just 250km east of Taiwan.
In late July China also warned the United Kingdom not to engage in any “improper acts” as its Carrier Strike Group led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (pictured) passed through the South China Sea on its way to Japan.
Speaking through the Chinese government mouthpiece ‘Global Times’, Beijing said on July 30th, “(T)he People’s Liberation Army Navy is at a high state of combat readiness.”
In his speech to the UNSC, Blinken highlighted China’s repeated illegal forays into waters off the Japanese owned Senkaku Islands and further south into waters claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam and other South East Asian nations – all resource rich – saying “When a state faces no consequences for ignoring these rules, it fuels greater impunity and instability everywhere” continuing “We have seen dangerous encounters between vessels at sea and provocative actions to advance unlawful maritime claims,” adding that the US and its allies in the region are worried about Chinese moves that “intimidate and bully other states from lawfully accessing their maritime resources.”
Dai Bing, in addition to his earlier comments meanwhile called the USA “the biggest threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
Image: OGL – UK MOD