Islands in South China Sea – level 3
According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines are disputing nearly 70 reefs and islands in the South China Sea.
In 2016, an international tribunal ruled that China had no right to a lot of the area that it claimed. Nothing happened, though, as China did not accept the rule and the court has no way to enforce its ruling.
The Philippines has a complicated relationship with China, although the countries have warmed up to each other since Rodrigo Duterte took office.
Most recently, the Philippine president said that he would tell his troops to prepare for a suicide mission to defend Thitu Island. It is an island which is a part of the Spratly Islands occupied by the Philippines. The problem is that China claims it, as well, and the Philippines government said that as many as 275 Chinese ships have been around Thitu in recent months.
Interestingly, Duterte said that his comments were not a warning, but a word of advice to his friends.
Difficult words: transparency initiative (an organisation which tries to report on situations openly, truly and freely), tribunal (court – an institution which says if somebody is doing something illegal), enforce (make somebody do something).
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