Chinese ships invade Malaysia

The Malaysian authorities reported that more than a hundred ships and boats under the Chinese flag invaded the waters of Malaysia. Chinese fishing ships advanced to the island of Borneo in the special economic zone of Malaysia. Malaysian Navy forces were dispatched to the invasion fleet to monitor the situation.

The strategic importance of the South China Sea

Relations between Malaysia, a traditional US ally in the region, and China worsened after 2012. China has since stepped up their claims of control over most of the South China Sea. China claims to control the strategically important Spratly archipelago, and created an artificial island for the placement of military infrastructure.

Up to 25% of world trade circulates through the South China Sea, passing through the shortest sea route that connects China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Thailand, Taiwan, Cambodia, and the Philippines with the Indian Ocean, which means India and the Middle East, as well as Europe through the Suez Canal.

The Chinese fishermen who are engaged in massive attacks like the one previously described illustrate China’s claims to the Spratly Islands and suggestions of an extension of the exclusive economic zone and territorial waters at the expense of all other states in the region.

The United States and the territorial dispute in the South China Sea

In the conflict over control of the South China Sea, China’s expansionist ambitions are opposed by the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Brunei. The United States is using the crisis to expand its military cooperation with China's enemies, including a reset of relations with Vietnam.