South China Sea: Beijing builds new 'ILLEGAL' island city risking infuriating Trump
JOE DUGGAN, 03/27/2019
CHINA will develop a new island city in the disputed South China Sea despite Donald Trump’s administration branding it “illegal”.
The Beijing regime will plough ahead with turning sites near the city of Sansha into a “national key strategic service and logistics base”, the South China Morning Post reports. US experts fear the move could flare up tensions as China expands its military influence in the South China Sea. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hit out at Beijing’s ”illegal island-building in international waterways” over the development at Woody Island, Tree and Drummond.
Jeffrey Engstrom, a senior policy analyst with US think tank Rand Corp, told Newsweek: "It seems that the proposed infrastructure on and near Woody Island is still in early stages of planning.
"However, if built, additional basing infrastructure and logistics nodes allow China’s People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, coast guard and the maritime militia to further expand presence and operational tempo in the South China Sea (SCS).
"This has the ability to raise tensions by placing even more pressure than we have witnessed so far on the other SCS claimants and routine US military activity in the region.”
President Xi Jinping's Communist regime sees the South China Sea as part of its historic territory, with the US objecting to Beijing’s claim.
Parts of the sea - one of the busiest maritime routes in the world - are also claimed by Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Last week, the US scrambled two B-52H Stratofortress bombers on a “routine mission” towards the disputed waters.
A pair of bombers are also believed to have flown over Chinse-claimed islands the week before.
In November, US Vice President Mike Pence said: “The South China Sea doesn’t belong to any one nation.
"The United States will continue to sail and fly wherever international law allows and our national interests demand.”
The following month, China’s Senior Colonel Dai Xu, said: "If the US warships break into Chinese waters again, I suggest that two warships should be sent: one to stop it and another one to ram it.
"In our territorial waters, we won't allow US warships to create disturbance."
Shi Yinhong, a professor in US-China relations at Renmin University of China, warned the Sansha expansion may spark a “dramatic” response from the US.