As America and China continue to butt heads over North Korea, the South China Sea has become a contentious footnote in relations.
After U.S President Donald Trump requested assistance from the Chinese government in wrangling DPRK deport Kim Jong Un, many believed the relations between the two superpowers would steady themselves. After all, China is the lynchpin for North Korea’s entire economy due to their near-exclusive trade situation. Unfortunately, that hope hasn’t come to fruition.
China has attempted to bring North Korea to heel with sanctions, including a devastating refusal to purchase coal from the rogue nation; a move that could effect North Korea’s GDP by nearly 40%. Kim Jong Un, however, was not phased by the tactic, and continues to threaten the U.S. and her regional allies with test launches of increasingly potent and powerful missiles. Given their lack of effect, Donald Trump has proclaimed that China’s efforts have failed.
Further tension between the Washington and Beijing comes to us from the South China Sea, an area that China claims contested control over. Several nations don’t see eye to eye with the Asian superpower on this subject, prompting a territorial land-grab, (or sea-grab), in which China has been patrolling the waters surrounding their own man-made islands in order to stake their claim to the coveted waters.
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To enforce these new claims, China is rolling out a dangerous new high tech piece of military equipment that could change the face of naval warfare.
“For years, China has considered the South China Sea part of its territory, despite international tribunal rulings stating otherwise. Needless to say, staking claim to these international waters has created quite the rift with the international community — namely the United States. Adding fuel to this fire, China has now unveiled and tested a new fleet of the highly advanced underwater drones with potential military capacities.
“These so-called glider drones, known as ‘Haiya’ — meaning ‘sea wings’ in Mandarin — are more durable and more energy efficient than previous iterations. Most importantly, these latest drones are capable of instantly relaying underwater data to the military — a technological achievement the US has yet to accomplish. China claims it has successfully released 12 of these state-of-the-art drones into the farthest reaches of the South China Sea — to allegedly collect environmental data.
“During tests in March of this year, the gliders reportedly dove to a depth of nearly 21,000 feet (almost four miles), shattering the previous world recorddive of 16,964 feet held by the US. In 2014, utilizing a new battery and special pressure-resistant coating, a underwater drone controlled by the Chinese broke a world record by traveling 635 miles without stopping over the course of 30 days.”
These latest underscore an enormous amount of tension already in the region involving not only the U.S., China, and North Korea, but also Russia.
The Russian military has long been threatening overreactions to any and all U.S. involvement overseas, first warning Donald Trump not to strike in Syria again, and then inexplicably backing up Kim Jong Un when POTUS and his administration hinted at military action on the Korean Peninsula.