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A Small Reef in the South China Sea Could Change the Military Balance in the Pacific | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

A Small Reef in the South China Sea Could Change the Military Balance in the Pacific

Fighting among rival nations about territorial claims in the South China Sea is nothing new. It is not surprising either, as the water is teeming with a large amount of fish and is said to also hold vast oil reserves under the ocean floor. There have been disputed claims for years between the smaller nations in the region, but nothing like what has come about recently with the military giant China basically redrawing its borders on a map and claiming most of the South China Sea as its own. A small reef near the Spratly Islands has escalated the dispute to a whole new level and quite possibly will change the balance of power in the Pacific in China’s favor.

China already has proven that they are not opposed to butting heads with even some of their largest trading partners in the region to get what they want. There have been incidents and tensions with Japan over some disputed islands in the East China Sea and an extremely tense conflict with Vietnam over the placing of a Chinese oil rig in territorial waters claimed by Vietnam (China has since removed the oil rig). Now the center of attention has shifted to Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea.

The location of Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea
The location of Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea

Fiery Cross Reef is located just 300 miles from the Philippine Island of Palawan. The reef is claimed by the Chinese, the Philippines, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Vietnam. It is part of seven reefs in the disputed Spratly Islands area that are controlled by China. China has had some sort of presence on the island since 1988, but it was not until recently that its presence there caught the attention of other nations around the world in a big way.

The Chinese, in the past few years, have undertaken huge land reclamation projects on the Fiery Cross Reef. They have been dredging huge amounts of sand from the ocean floor and are in the process of artificial island building. Most recently, a several story high structure that was thought to be some sort of communications building has been constructed, and there is evidence they are building port facilities, helipads, piers and runways. The Chinese government in Beijing has not hidden the fact that the construction is intended for both military and civilian purposes.

How does this change the balance of power in the region? If anything happened militarily in that area in the past, the distance would have made it tough, logistically, for China to support sustained military action; but, with an airbase and other military presence, that would no longer present a problem. It would put Chinese air superiority fully in charge of the area, only being opposed by countries like the Philippines that do not even have a single fighter jet. It will also bring Australia into the 3500 nautical mile range of China’s biggest bombers and, when combined with their cruise missile range of 2000 nautical miles, it will extend the range that China can strike targets at to over 5000 nautical miles. That type of capability in the South China Sea is a game changer in the Pacific Region, to say the least.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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4 thoughts on “A Small Reef in the South China Sea Could Change the Military Balance in the Pacific

  1. The People’s Republic of China has had several territorial claims over the decades, among them the “old classical Chinese territory” of Outer Mongolia, since 1920’s the very independant country of Mongolia, the Tibet, the islands of and around Taiwan, they have recovered back the former colonies of Hong Kong and Macao in 1997, and on all Chinese maps all the islands in this sea are marked behind Chinese territorial lines, down to the Phillipines, Vietnam and even close to Indonesia. In 1969 probably the most dangerous hot spot in the Cold War was the Chinese attack on the small Island of Damanskiy in the Ussuri river between the USSR and the PRC, an attack which failed dramatically against superior Soviet border and Army troops, when the KGB just later spread the rumour, via the CIA -believe it or not- that the USSR was planning “a nuclear castration on China” -which some year later instead lead China rightly in the hands of the superimperialist enemy – the USA – and the new Ping-Pong politics… China has never although been much of a sea Power and the acquired air-Craft carrier of Project 1143.6 / KRETCHET-class (sister to the Russian Aircraft carrier ‘Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Sojuza Kuznetsov’) from the USSR/Ukrainian shipyard in Nikolaev, today’s training ship LIAONING is just a start, they also buy a lots of new Surface and submarine ships from Russia as well. China will within some year and decades be, with its BRICS allies, indeed the master and the very solely superpower on the Asian continent – and not much can stop it, as the United States allies are smaller and weaker nations like Pakistan, Japan and Saudi Arabia -not much to rely on against the PRC, the second largest economy in the World after the European Union with the USA on third place. The Chinese are the masters of their own house – the question is how much their neighbours want to give up to the map of China… There are also problems – how will Beijing cope with the isolated and more or less crazy neighbour of the DPRK and the Pyongyang regime? That problem must be solved within a decade. So there are also many dark Clouds on the Chinese heaven today as well, in China’s unbroken 5 000 years of history.

  2. Stop talking nonsense. Read more. Even the WHOLE Philippine were Chinese sphere of influence before Spain’s colonisation! China had been in SCS before the existence of Philippine as a nation state.

    Who had told you that Philippine WAS discovered by Magallen????

    You are so IGNORANT!!!!

    1. LOL! What “Chinese sphere” are you talking about? You mean those spherical red Chinese lanterns?
      China never had influence on any territory outside its coastline besides trading. Chinese people went to other places to trade or to look for employment. And that’s why there are people of Chinese descent in neighboring countries like the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Just because you’ve been there to trade or look for work, doesn’t mean you own the place and everything along the way. Might as well claim the whole world! Oh. That’s where you’re heading.

  3. However one can really wonder – the heavy Australian naval construction programme with new large ship classes is said to be against growing “Chinese” presence (or threat if you want to read it so). If the Japanese could invade Singapore 75 years ago – so why not a such much larger and raising Asian giant and Great power like China which has its own Aircraft carrier programme for future naval activities. Don’t stay fixed on China’s history and judge it from it – that is the gratest military failure one can do, and that is actual for any country. China has the full right to be the most powerful country in the East Asia, based on her history, power and position.

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