A new statement from the Chinese military suggests that the ongoing dispute over maritime rights in the South China Sea is getting worse, with the state media warning that the dispute could lead to a military confrontation.
The latest source of tensions is an upcoming US-Philippines naval drill in the area. The Philippines are one of several nations that have disputes with China over the region, and the US has been loudly backing all the non-Chinese powers in the region.
This comes just over a week after Philippines warships attempted to capture a number of Chinese fishing ships, leading to a standoff with Chinese ships that rushed to the scene during the attempted raid.
The Obama Administration has been keen to increase military ties in the area, with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta saying that it was crucial that the US “remains a Pacific power” in the coming decades, and that China’s growing naval power threatens commerce in the region, even though there’s been no indication China is actually stopping any commerce by claiming empty islands.