NEW YORK — The Chinese navy has become more assertive in the South China Sea in recent months, as Beijing seeks to counter a growing number of rival claimants.
The Chinese navy also has been making increasingly provocative moves to assert its maritime jurisdiction in the disputed waterway, with a Chinese warship launching a missile near Taiwan in July and deploying a submarine in the Yellow Sea last month.
Chinese warships are also conducting surveillance and patrols of disputed islands in the region, and the government is planning to build a huge, artificial island in the Spratly Islands in the coming months.
And China has also been stepping up its efforts to bolster its territorial claims in the area, using increasingly aggressive tactics in the wake of the Philippines’ successful attempt to claim its own territory in the East China Sea.
For more on China, watch: “We can say with certainty that China’s military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region are increasing,” said Rear Adm.
Mike Brown, a former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.
Brown added that Chinese military capabilities “are increasingly assertive, and there is no doubt in my mind that they have increased.
The Chinese have also made the decision to go to war.”
Brown was speaking at a conference on China-Pacific security, which was organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and hosted by the Naval War College in Washington.
China has already been conducting military exercises with a number of other nations, including the Philippines, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as with the U,S., Australia, Japan and others, Brown said.
China’s military is not the only one moving aggressively to assert itself in the Pacific, as a growing body of international opinion increasingly recognizes that the region’s maritime disputes should be resolved through peaceful means, such as through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
China has made it clear that it wants to expand its control over the South and East China Seas, which have become hotspots for territorial disputes between Beijing and Japan and the Philippines.
This summer, the Philippine government signed a $4.8 billion deal with China to build artificial islands and reefs in the waters around disputed islands, including Scarborough Shoal, which it is now trying to reclaim.