South China Sea: Expert predicts no conflict for five years
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China Analyst, Imogen Page-Jarrett, explained China has taken advantage of the pandemic to increase its hold on the South China Sea and step up nefarious activity in the Himalayan region with India sparking World War 3 fears as the Communist regime aggressively asserts its global dominance. But she said projections show there will be no conflict in the area over the next five years.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Page-Jarrett said: “Our core forecast is that China and the US are not looking for a direct military conflict.
“Although we expect that both will continue with these drills, it’s mostly a show of strength.
“We forecast up to the next five-year period so in this period, we don’t expect any conflict between China and South East Asia nations or China and the US.”
President Xi Jinping claims China has a historic right of ownership to almost the entire South China Sea, despite a 2016 international arbitration ruling saying Beijing’s claim had no legal basis under international law.
But the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims to parts of it.
Ms Page-Jarrett added: “Since the pandemic began, we have seen China become more bold and proactive in the South China Sea.
“I think it’s not the only example.
“We’ve also seen China stepping up its activity in the Himalayan region with India as well.
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“China has been taking advantage of other countries being preoccupied with the pandemic to advance its interests in these regions.
“Obviously this was a concern for countries which also claim territory in the South China Sea so that includes ASEAN members.
“It was also a concern for the US who has a strategic interest in the region which means there has been an increase in patrols from both sides.”
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It comes as Taiwan’s air force scrambled for a second straight day on Saturday after a dozen Chinese fighter aircraft and bombers carried out drills close to Taiwan-controlled islands in the disputed South China Sea, the defence ministry in Taipei said.
Beijing, which claims Taiwan as Chinese territory, has carried out repeated air missions in the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone in recent months, mostly near the Pratas Islands.
After nine Chinese air force aircraft flew near the Pratas Islands on Friday, the Taiwanese Defence Ministry said it tracked 11 aircraft on Saturday – eight fighter jets, two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft, also near the islands.
It said Chinese naval forces were also involved but gave no details.
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