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Tensions rising in Southeast Asia cause U.S. intervention
President Joe Biden says he has committed to aid the Philippines if China decides to attack the country over the disputed South China Sea. Photo courtesy of commons license

As tensions rise in Southeast Asia, United States President Joe Biden says he has committed to aiding the Philippines if China decides to attack the country over the disputed South China Sea. President Biden’s comments come days after two collisions between Filipino and Chinese boats in the disputed waters.   

Countries have disputed these areas for centuries, but tensions have built up only recently due to China’s claims, which include sovereignty of such disputed waters. These comments have angered countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei who have contested these waters. These countries have contested islands and various zones in the sea, such as the Paracels and Spratlys.  

China backs up its claims by island-building and naval patrol, while the US says it does not interfere with a territorial dispute. Although the US says it will not interfere in this dispute, it has sent military ships and planes near disputed islands in what it calls “freedom of navigation” operations.  

But exactly why are these countries disputing these waters?  Money.   

In 2016, The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimated over 21 percent of global trade happens through the disputed area. This percentage of global trade equals about $3.37 trillion transiting through these waters.   

The area of Paracels and Spartlys may be uninhabited but might have reserves of natural resources around them. Although there have been little detailed explorations in these areas, it is estimated they are largely extrapolated from the mineral wealth of neighboring areas.  

The area is home to rich fishing grounds that have provided for millions of people across this region as more than half of the world’s fishing boats operate in this area.   

After the two collisions between boats from China and the Philippines happened, President Biden issued a statement reiterating his commitment to defend the Philippines in case of an attack over the disputed areas.   

“I want to be clear The United States’ defense commitment to the Philippines is ironclad. The United States’ defense agreement with the Philippines is ironclad,” President Biden said in a statement via BBC News  

 The Mutual Defense Treaty was signed in 1951 and binds the US and Philippines to defend each other in the event of an armed attack. This is Biden’s strongest statement since tensions have risen in Southeast Asia.  

“Any attack on the Filipino aircraft, vessels, or armed forces will invoke our Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines,” Biden added to his speech at the White House, Nov. 1 with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese present.   

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning states the US has “no right to get involved in a problem between China and the Philippines.”   

Spokesperson Mao Ning warned the US that if they should defend the Philippines such actions “must not hurt China’s sovereignty and maritime interests in the South China Sea” in a statement to reporters in response to a question.   

As tension continues to grow all over the world, there is a huge possibility that society must be prepared for a new era of war in US history. As times get scarier and scarier it is important to remember to stay informed and preach for peace during these times of possible war. 

Venus is a contributor at The Prospector and can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Ruth Urquiza
Ruth Urquiza, Contributor/Reporter
Ruth Urquiza (Venus) is a currently a psychology major and a contributor at The Prospector. Venus loves to study astrology and sleep with their kitties.
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