The drumbeat of war on distant horizons is reverberating through Southeast Asia with increasingly strong declarations of U.S. determination to stop the Chinese from expanding their writ over the South China Sea, notably islands claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.
FORBES REPORT BY DONALD KIRK:
Chinese diplomats have been on a global offensive to convey Chinese complaints. China’s ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, in an interview with the Wall StreetJournal, said “we have to defend the facilities on these islands and reefs” while building up “for self-defense, not for attacking others.” He warned the U.S. against “attempts to replay the Cold War in Asia.”
The arrival of the Shiloh at Subic Bay, where the U.S. had a base from the early days of U.S. rule over the Philippines at the beginning of the last century, showed the close coordination between the U.S. and the Philippines over defense in the South China Sea.
U.S. officials in Manila said the Shiloh would stay in Subic Bay only long enough to refuel and take on other supplies before going on patrol in nearby waters. The question was whether the Shiloh, accompanied by other vessels, including destroyers and perhaps submarines, would enter waters close to the Chinese reclamation projects. The result would, at the least, provoke a fusillade of demands for the ships to go away as well as a critical comments from the Chinese officials and the Chinese media.
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