15 July 2016
China is expected to increase its military investment in the South China Sea and significantly raise its overall defense spending to affirm its claim to the region.
The People’s Liberation Army’s Navy (PLAN) commissioned a new guided-missile destroyer, Yinchuan, on Tuesday, the day the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague ruled that China’s claims to most of the South China Sea are invalid. The tribunal, constituted under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), ruled in favor of the Philippines, which had complained that China was claiming part of its territory.
The next day, China tested two new airfields it has built in the Nansha islands in the South China Sea. State media showed civilian flights taking off from the airfields to further legitimize China’s control over that part of the sea. It established four light houses in the sea a few days earlier.
China has already spent a massive amount of money to rapidly build artificial islands as well as residential facilities for workers and government crews on the islands. The country has also put a floating hospital to sea and launched several submarines in the area in recent months.
“This trend in militarizing the South China Sea is expected to continue and indeed expand following the PCA ruling,” said Lee YingHui, research analyst at Singapore’s Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 18/07/2016