Let’s Avoid Conflagration Over Specks in the Ocean

Demetri Sevastopulo’s report (“Philippines repairs ship at centre of South China Sea dispute”, Report, June 21) on the South China Sea escalation between the Philippines and China is a distressing reminder of the fast-deteriorating security situation in south-east Asia.

China’s obsession with preventing the reinforcement of a rickety Philippine warship with just a handful of Philippine troops is irrational, dangerous and self-defeating.

The US in turn has seized the opportunity to pursue other agendas, most prominently pulling in its other allies into cornering China and creating sites for the use of Philippine territory in a future Taiwan conflict.

Meanwhile, the Philippines, notwithstanding its strong legal maritime claim, plays Russian roulette by launching sailing assets to Chinese-controlled zones such as Scarborough Shoal, which have little chance of success.