THE CRISIS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA

Beijing is suspending some tourism to the Philippines and stiffening inspections on Philippine fruit such as bananas, of which China is the single largest buyer. There are very real fears that this confrontation could lead to war. Even if the initial belligerents are the Philippines and China, such a conflict would easily spiral out of control and consume the entire region, particularly if the Philippines calls in the United States given its multilateral defense treaty.

If not for the gravity of the situation and the severity of the consequences, it would seem almost comical that a war could be sparked over a series of rocks and reefs of relative unimportance. In and of itself the Scarborough Shoal is nothing. However, when taken into the context of the South China Sea disputes, the outcome of this confrontation

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