Last week, tensions continued to rise in the South China Sea between the United States and China. The introduction of Chinese missiles into a disputed island in the region’s waters has caused this downward spike in relations. As reported by Reuters, Taiwan publicized the Chinese missile deployment to Woody Island in the Paracel Island Chain, which the People’s Republic later confirmed.
This military shift has drawn the ire of the United States and has snowballed into a diplomatic spat between the two countries. As The BBC reported, the U.S. has accused China of militarizing the South China Sea, in direct violation of promises made by President Xi during his recent visit to the United States. However, in stark contrast, as The New York Times reported, China has turned the tables and counter claimed that the United States has militarized the island waters through surveillance flights, military drills with allies, and freedom of navigation operations.
Ultimately, it remains unlikely that any of these verbal thrusts and parries will have much effect on the situation for either side. However, both nations have prepared to ratchet up military actions in the region, especially when one considers recent U.S. naval operations, deployment of new anti-missile systems to South Korea, or Chinese missile deployments to disputed isles. Tensions in the South China Sea are steadily escalating, with neither side willing to back down.