The West Philippine Sea or the South China Sea is the main route of all merchant ships. Each day, thousands of oil tankers, bulk carriers, container ships and other cargo vessels of various displacements sail the sea.
This trading route was commonly used by many Asian countries, the Philippines, Vietnam and China that often used this marine route as their major trading route.
With reasons like these, international efforts must ensure commercial shipping lanes in the region to have an unmitigated operation, experts say.
The trading routes can be affected by the territorial disputes that is happening between China and their neighboring countries.
China’s ongoing conflicts with their neighboring countries show the idea. In July 2012, China established the city of Sansha on one of the Paracel Islands as part of Hainan province to control many island groups and undersea atolls in the South China Sea. Beijing’s move enraged Vietnam and the Philippines.
According to many regional experts and analysts, China doesn’t have the intention of disrupting the shipping lanes, even though they emphasize their territorial mindset to their neighbors.
“The Philippine government had many chances to ratify the archipelago territory treaty but failed to do so due to internal politics,” said Karsten von Hoesslin, a Singapore-based senior analyst.
Rommel C. Banlaoi, chairman of the board and executive director of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research said, “China claims almost 80 percent of all the waters and land features in the South China Sea and opposes any oil and natural gas exploration and development in a maritime area that she claims as part of its sovereign territory.”
Many conflicts had already happened in the past because of the usage of the West Philippine Sea as a trading route, along with the undying Spratly Islands dispute. PNA