West Philippine Sea Armed Confrontation Possible
Commander Jonathan Odom, Oceans Policy Adviser, US Secretary of Defense, said that the ongoing tension in the West Philippine Sea might result in an armed confrontation.
Odom said, clearly one of the most realistic concerns right now is a situation spinning out of control based upon miscalculation and misunderstanding between two of the claimants once you get two aircraft or two-vessel in the vicinity of one another it can spin out of control.
Then you have the issue of nations feeling compelled to deal with nationalism and countries must show their citizens that they are strong.
He said this in a briefing in the Pentagon attended by journalists including Philippine journalists and journalists from the following countries: Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei.
Odom clarified that America does not side with any claimant country but they are against any country having an excessive maritime territorial claim.
Odom said that based on the US existing freedom of navigation policy, the US will challenge the excessive maritime claims in two ways under the freedom of navigation program. The US will challenge it through diplomatic protest and military activity. This military operational activity may be carried out by the US Air force, US Navy or US Coast Guard.
An Influential Think Tank in America said that it is possible for China to declare an Air Defense Identification Zone in the West Philippine Sea.
When China declared ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) in the East China Sea, the US and Japan did not comply.
China is building these artificial islands to give them a defacto capability to enforce an Air Defense Identification Zone. China did not declare or announce the ADIZ as it knew that most of the Asian countries if not all will go against it.
The Think Tank said it is possible that the US will help in improving the condition of the Philippine ship BRP Siera Madre, the dilapidated ship of the Philippine Navy which serves as an outpost of the Philippine military in Ayungin Shoal.
Pentagon neither confirmed nor denied their intention to help improve the Philippine Navy ship grounded in Ayungin Shoal.
Several times before, China interfered with the troop re-provisioning missions of the Philippine Military in the West Philippine Sea.
The United States will be in a stronger position if it will give more backing to the Philippines, the think tank said.
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