China Analyst, Imogen Page-Jarrett, explained China has taken advantage of the pandemic to increase its hold on the South China Sea and step up nefarious activity in the Himalayan region with India sparking World War 3 fears as the Communist regime aggressively asserts its global dominance. President Xi Jinping claims China has a historic right of ownership to almost the entire South China Sea, despite a 2016 international arbitration ruling saying Beijing’s claim had no legal basis under international law. But the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims to parts of it.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Page-Jarrett said: “Since the pandemic began, we have seen China become more bold and proactive in the South China Sea.
“I think it’s not the only example.
“We’ve also seen China stepping up its activity in the Himalayan region with India as well.
“China has been taking advantage of other countries being preoccupied with the pandemic to advance its interests in these regions.
“Obviously this was a concern for countries which also claim territory in the South China Sea so that includes ASEAN members.
“It was also a concern for the US who has a strategic interest in the region which means there has been an increase in patrols from both sides.”
It comes as senior Trump officials launch diplomatic and rhetorical broadsides at Beijing, the US Defense Department is turning to the firepower of its heavily armed, long-range bombers as it seeks to counter Beijing’s bid to control the seas off the Chinese coast.
Since late January, American B-1B and B-52 bombers, usually operating in pairs, have flown about 20 missions over key waterways, including the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Sea of Japan, according to accounts of these flights from US Air Force statements and official social media posts.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think what that means is heightened tensions and increased prospects of clashes, potentially military clashes.
“What it’s doing is upping the ante in terms of the dialogue and the frustrations and the anguish that is felt by these ASEAN states.
“That would be my take on China’s activity in the South China Sea.
“The question is really, has China got the right to do what they’re doing?”