Tensions in the South China Sea just became a lot more heated. According to a US official, the Pentagon is drafting plans to begin military patrols around China’s land reclamation projects in the Spratly Archipelago.
In March, the United States Senate also requested that the US adopt a formal strategy for dealing with Beijing’s growing influence in the region. It’s possible that the Pentagon’s considerations are a response to this appeal.
Also throwing itself into the mix is Japan, another country with no territorial claim in the region. The Japanese Navy has been conducting military exercises with Philippines, and Tokyo has indicated that it may partake in joint air patrols with the United States.