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China may use control over disputed sea to challenge US presence in region — US report

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West Philippine Sea

A report from the United States Congressional Research Service revealed China’s capability to control the South China Sea in the event that a war breaks out between China and the United States.

US Navy Admiral Philip Davidson was quoted as saying in the report in part that “China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

The official made the statement during a hearing last April by the US Senate Armed Services Committee.

Mr. Davidson also warned that if the Chinese military facilities in South China Sea would be occupied, it may “use these bases to challenge US presence in the region.” He added that “any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any South China Sea-claimants.”

The report also mentioned that the US may be drawn into a conflict due to its obligations under bilateral security treaties with Japan and the Philippines.

It also described China’s approach to assert its claims in South China as “salami-slicing strategy” in order to “gradually change the status quo in China’s favor.” — Camille A. Aguinaldo