BANGKOK, Nov. 18 (Reuters / EP) –
The Chinese authorities have asked the US Administration to “brag” in the South China Sea on Monday to avoid adding “new uncertainties” in relation to the Taiwan issue.
China's Defense Minister Wei Fenghe has asked US Defense Secretary Mark Esper to refrain from “provoking a tension escalation in the South China Sea,” as stated by the Ministry of Defense spokesman Chinese Wu Qian.
Although the US authorities have not responded immediately, they have accused China of militarizing the area. Esper, meanwhile, has indicated that Beijing “is increasingly resorting to coercion and intimidation to advance its strategic objectives” in the region.
The Chinese Government considers Taiwan as one of its provinces and decided to break official contacts with the Taipei Government after the Democratic Progressive Party, led by Tsai Ing Wen and an independentist trend, won the 2016 elections.
Solomon Islands and Kiribati last month recognized the People's Republic of China thus withdrawing their recognition to the Chinese Republic of Taiwan, which already has only diplomatic relations with Palau, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Nauru in the Pacific. In total, it has the recognition of only 15 countries.
The South China sea area is the focus of a territorial conflict between China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, which claim parts or all of this territory. Brunei has also marked its presence in some reefs in the region, without formally claiming them. In the area it is estimated that there are important hydrocarbon reserves.
The International Arbitration Tribunal ruled in July 2016, at the request of the Philippines, that there is no legal basis for claims submitted by China in the maritime zone included in the “nine-point line” in the South China Sea.