Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma has said what many fear: China’s military build-up in the South China Sea looks as though it is “preparing for World War III”.
His blunt statement came during a Senate hearing yesterday discussing the new challenges being presented by Russia and China. And Senator Inhofe isn’t happy about how the world has got to where it’s at.
He says the US sat back and watched as China staked its claim on the contested reefs and rocks, and did nothing as it turned them into artificial islands bristling with weapons and fortifications.
And the way it has muscled-in on this disputed territory has resulted in a significant change to the balance of power in South East Asia.
“It’s like you’re preparing for World War III,” Inhofe said. “You’re talking to our allies over there and you wonder whose side they’re going to be on.”
He says the fragility of the situation may not be fully appreciated by most US citizens, or the peoples of the world.
“I’m concerned our message is not getting across,” said Inhofe, who took over the committee this month.
China, however, is maintaining its facade. It’s launched a media blitz in an attempt to identify its illegal artificial islands as benign ‘search and rescue centres’.