There is a tremendous weapon shop in the South China Sea: Between Russia and China, and coral atolls, the Philippines and the United States start at the same naval operations. Officially, the fight against pirates are trained. In fact, it comes to commodities and trade routes.
Washington / Beijing / Vladivostok – It is expected in the coming weeks will be closely around the Spratly Islands. Actually, there are little more than a few coral patches in the South China Sea, largely uninhabited, the highest point of the island group stands just four feet above the sea level. But now two rushing mighty naval forces in the remote region: Russia and China are planning a joint naval maneuvers there, have the same United States and the Philippines before.A military muscle flexing threat in the Pacific.
For so small the group of about a hundred scattered atolls may be, so great is their strategic importance. Through the South China Sea is located on major international trade routes.However, even more explosive: The Seabed around the islands, large mineral deposits are suspected. Since it is hardly surprising that collect both China and the Philippines are entitled to the Spratly Islands.Even Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Sultanate of Brunei are very interested – and a military presence on each island. For years, the simmering conflict.
Now Russia and China, a new venture, joint show of force. Four warships, a missile cruiser and three anti-submarine ships since Sunday on the way from Vladivostok to the region. Six more are to follow. For several weeks there are weapons systems tested, rehearsed joint tactics, and fighting off pirates are trained. The region is notorious for pirate attacks regularly. At the same time, however, the maneuver should be seen as a signal in the direction of the Philippines and the United States.
Finally, U.S. President Barack Obama had until November 2011, the Asia-Pacific region declared a new focus of his foreign policy. Militarily and economically, the United States wants to expand its influence in the booming region. The U.S. presence in the area have top priority in his administration, Obama said repeatedly during his speech at the summit of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Indonesia. In particular, the military development of China is suspicious of Washington observed.
With proper balance, the United States participate in, after Obama’s landmark speech, the first edition of its regularly conducted maneuvers together with the Philippines. "Balikatan 2012" is the action that takes place in parallel with the Russian-Chinese arms show in the same area. "Shoulder to shoulder" of the title means in Tagalog, the main language in the Philippines. 6,800 soldiers participating. About two-thirds are from the United States, plus about 1,200 Filipino men and fighters from Japan, Australia and South Korea. The promotion runs until 27 April.
Incident with Chinese fishing boats
What is the tense situation in the South China Sea currently shows an incident in the past week . The Philippine Navy had claims to be Chinese fishing boats in the area of Scarborough riffs applied to the west of the country. They had been fishing in the waters claimed by Manila.
The Navy wanted to take the sailors, but had two Chinese reconnaissance ships between the fishermen and the Philippine warship "BRP Gregorio del Pilar" down and would have blocked it, said the Foreign Ministry. The conflict was continued later at the diplomatic level.
Officially, both camps about trying to play down the political symbolism of the same maneuver. "There is no reason for anyone to feel threatened," U.S. Navy Commander Curtis Hill said before the start of the operation. Previously, he was asked about a possible reaction of China.
From Moscow are reassuring words. The maneuver was planned a long time and not to be understood as a response or reaction to anything, it was said from the Pentagon.