Though it rarely makes headlines in the US, the simmering rivalry between American and Chinese military forces has prompted some to declare the South China Sea – where Beijing has been building out its military and naval infrastructure in defiance of international court rulings – the “world’s most dangerous hotspot”.
And as China has transformed rocky atolls into stationary aircraft carriers, nobody has been more vocal about the dangers of China’s increasingly aggressive posture in the Pacific than Admiral Philip Davidson, the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, who has warned about the growing geopolitical threat even as many established economists have played down the risk of a conflict because, in theory, the economic links between the world’s two largest economies represent a reliable counterweight.
Admiral Philip Davidson
Offering yet another ominous warning just days after Washington again provoked Beijing by flying two B-52 bombers over the contested sea, Davidson told a group of reporters that he had observed a rise in Chinese military activity in the Pacific.
Asked about the US’s “freedom of navigation” operations in the region, Davidson declined to offer specifics but said only that the US would remain “an enduring Pacific power.” But turning the focus again to China, Davidson warned that China’s military buildup was a “hazard” to trade flows and financial information that circulates via fiber optic cables running on the ocean floor under the South China Sea.
“It’s building, it’s not reducing in any sense of the word,” Davidson told reporters on Thursday in Singapore when asked about China’s military activities in the South China Sea. “There has been more activity with ships, fighters and bombers over the last year than in previous years, absolutely.”
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