China wants to strengthen its grip on global trade. For this, it is continuously increasing its military power and claiming its South China Sea. Historically, China has had a smaller army than its geopolitical rivals. But today’s China is changing ‘history’. China’s priority over land is over the sea, for which it has waged a ‘soft war’ against dozens of its global competitors.
Why is the South China Sea so special?
The South China Sea is the most sought after sea route in Asia. 40 percent of the world’s natural gas trade passes through it. About $3.5 trillion of normal trade value flows through this part of the ocean every year. America may be far from here, but the interest of about 6 percent of American trade lies in the South China Sea.
At least 26 countries claim a direct economic interest in maintaining the international status of the South China Sea. At the same time, China claims that it has a historical connection with it and therefore it has a privilege on it. The Philippines refers to it as the ‘West Philippines Sea’ to strengthen its claim to control over this sea route. The claims of different countries are enough to prove how important the South China Sea is.
China overtakes other countries
China is ahead of everyone else in this race. It has built an artificial island to strengthen its claim on a large part of the water. Beijing has built dozens of government buildings, runways, aircraft hangars and missile launchpads on man-made sand dunes in the Spratly Islands region. A massive 3,200-acre usable area was created between 2018 and 2020. It is being said that nuclear launchpads have also been built here but no one knows whether they will ever be used or not. However, China’s intention is quite clear.
What if China took over?
If China regains control of the South China Sea, a major route to global trade and the US economy will be in its hands. Meanwhile, discussions have also intensified on China’s military expansion and invasion exercises around Taiwan. Clearly, the South China Sea has now become a part of the economic ambition of the ‘world’s largest country’, which it wants to achieve at any cost.
South China Sea (File Photo)