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US is heading toward a looming maritime showdown… but not with Iran

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While the world is drumming up a potential maritime showdown between the US and Iran (yet again), Western media is conveniently ignoring a potential looming conflict in the South China Sea, one that has been building up for years.

Just last week, naval vessels from Japan, the US, India, and the Philippines sailed through the South China Sea in an almost week-long military drill aimed at containing China’s expanding influence in the region. As it happens, China’s renewed friendship with the Philippines under the rule of Rodrigo Duterte has been short-lived and is not exactly going as planned.

Duterte, who has signalled he wants to turn his country away from the US and work more closely with China, even disregarding an international arbitration ruling which ruled in favour of the Philippines, has had his work cut out for him. For example, he must reckon with two former Filipino officials who filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over China’s activities in the South China Sea. He also has to deal with what he feels is the to-ing and fro-ing between the US and China on a regular basis. Should the Philippines be forced to defend any of its claimed territories from China, Washington has signalled that it is committed to defending the Philippines against China due to a mutual defence treaty between the two nations.

And just last Monday, the Philippines high court instructed multiple agencies, including the Philippine Navy, police and the Coast Guard to protect reefs and marine life in Scarborough Shoal, Second Thomas Shoal and Mischief Reef. According to presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, the government is now “duty bound” to enforce the court order.

Not to mention that a multilateral military drill, which saw the Philippines teaming up with India – China’s major competitor in the Indo-Pacific region – and Japan – China’s historic rival, should tell everyone all they need to know about where this is headed.

READ MORE: US warships sail through disputed South China Sea as Trump prompts trade war escalation with Beijing

Furthermore, the US Navy’s operations chief, Admiral John Richardson, just went on the record to state that he would like to see Australian and Indonesian maritime forces have a greater naval presence in the South China Sea, encouraging the two nations to take part in what the US calls........

© RT.com