Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) believes tensions between the United States and China would continue but it would not lead into a full-scale war between the two world powers. China has beefed up its presence in the disputed region of the South China Sea with the People’s Liberation Army, the country’s armed forces, installing weapons on some of the artificial islands.
U.S. airplanes and ships—either commercial or military—would continue to fly in the air space and use the sea route based on international laws.
China also protested last week’s move by President-elect Donald Trump when he talked on the phone with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen, breaking a 40-year diplomatic policy recognizing the former.
“There’s going to be tensions. There’s always growing tension in the South China Sea and in some of those islands, but I don’t see China and the U.S. going to war. But, you know an accident could always occur,” said Sablan.
“The U.S. would continue to travel the seas based on international laws. They had passed and traveled by the Spratly Islands, there are some U.S. ships that travel or pass by, [while] airplanes fly over the islands. There’s no cause of alarm. I don’t see China wanting to go to war with the U.S.,” he added.
Although China continues to invest in its military and other infrastructures, the country is still far from the technology the U.S. armed forces has “They are having problems with their economy. Their national debt is more than the U.S. and it is becoming a problem for them.”
“Politicians do this, those who run countries. They exert power outside [if] they have a problem in their country. That is just President Xi’s [Jinping] way of showing Chinese citizens that they are a super power. They continue to invest in their military and infrastructure, but they are still far away from the U.S. capabilities in weapons technology.”
The United Nations Arbitral Tribunal had already sided with the Philippines, coming out with a decision this year that it owns the exclusive sovereign rights over the region and ruled that China’s “nine-dash line” is invalid. China has not honored that decision.
The U.S. military has the Naval Base Guam and the Andersen Air Force Base in the Marianas’ southernmost island chain. The U.S. Air Force, last week had also signed a record of decision to use Tinian for the divert airfield and other military exercises.
“The divert airfield is just in case if there’s a typhoon in Guam, they would need to relocate their planes from Andersen to Tinian. Then they would use Tinian facilities. Then they would also have annual trainings, these are the reasons behind the divert,” Sablan said.