Global Trade Flow Tug-of-War In South China Sea

There are six countries that overlap the East and South China seas. The area is filled with hydrocarbons and natural gas, and is a vital location for global trade. For these reasons, the land in the South China Sea is dispute over, with China and its neighboring countries fighting over the regions. Now, China is continuously growing more assertive, as the threat of armed conflict looms overhead. The country also doubts Washington’s commitments to security and the rebalancing the region.

Japan, the Philippines, as well as Vietnam, are also becoming more assertive in regards to the East and South China seas and the global trade flow. The United States is once again playing big brother. With renewed diplomatic activity and some military deployment, the situation could involve Washington in a role amongst the dispute. If not careful, the thriving maritime region trade channel could be an area of conflict.

This would not be the first incidence of a tug-of-war over the China seas. The first war began in 1894, known as the Sino-Japanese War. Globalization, as well as the extensive free trade and the United States’ pivot to Asia have further pushed the disputes. China is now increasing its military, causing other nations, who want a stake on the territorial claims, to do the same.


The United States believes it should intervene before China becomes too aggressive. Without military action, Beijing’s territorial claims could be reinforced. The U.S. military is debating on whether or not to use Navy ships along with aircraft to directly contest Chinese territorial claims and regain peace within the global trade flow. Neither the Navy nor the aircraft have made a move in fear of escalating tensions even further.

If the U.S. military were to challenge China’s claims in the South China Sea, as well as the global trade flow, Beijing can very well stand its ground. If it does, then more tensions will rise and both, if not all parties would have a military showdown.