Obama and his Defense Secretary Ashton Carter have repeatedly warned China not to militarize the Spratly islands in the South China Sea but China has retorted such claims stating that it is the United States that is militarizing the region.
“Indeed, all have stationed military personnel there and built airstrips and harbors that can and have accommodated military aircraft and vessels,” wrote Valencia.
So it seems that the US has such rhetoric only towards China and accuses it of militarization without specifying what does that mean exactly?
Besides, the US – unlike China – already has military “places” if not bases in Southeast Asia, in its military allies the Philippines and Thailand, and more recently in Malaysia and Singapore for its Poseidon sub-hunters and electronic warfare platforms.
China has built new features in the area and constructed airstrips and ports that can accommodate military aircraft and naval vessels. It does not deny that its military will use the facilities on the features it has built upon.
“Japan who is US ally can deploy troops and missile to the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyutai area if it does that is it militarizing the East China Sea?” Valencia wrote.
Perhaps the US is only “crying wolf” to scare the Southeast Asian countries into its political and military embrace. If so, this is a dangerous tactic.
The author wrote that what is clear is that ‘militarization’ means different things to different nations. Countries that accuse others of it should define specifically what they mean. The US should specify what it is that China is doing.
“Or is it like China’s “reclamation” and construction activities: only a matter of degree and of concern basically because it is China that is doing it?” concluded the author.