South China Sea alert: Beijing fury sparks risk of 'military clashes' - WW3 fears surge

South China Sea alert Beijing fury sparks risk of military clashes WW3 fears surgeCHINA's increased presence in the South China Sea is likely to increase the risk of "military clashes" following decades of isolated incidents in the disputed waters.

China claims it has a historic right of ownership to almost the entire South China Sea, despite a 2016 international arbitration ruling saying Beijing's claim had no legal basis under international law. But the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims to parts of it. DWF's Head of Transport, Jonathan Moss, has explained China's presence is increasing frustrations felt by ASEAN states.

Speaking to, Mr Moss said: "I think what that means is heightened tensions and increased prospects of clashes, potentially military clashes.

"What it's doing is upping the ante in terms of the dialogue and the frustrations and the anguish that is felt by these ASEAN states.

"That would be my take on China's activity in the South China Sea.

"The question is really, has China got the right to do what they're doing?"

Mr Moss also noted there is a real risk of further conflict in the waters.

He said: "I think there's definitely a risk of all-out conflict.

"There have been pockets of conflict before; going back about 20 years there was a naval battle where three Chinese vessels were engaged with the Philippines Navy gunboats.

"That was in the Spratly Islands.

"There's definitely the risk of isolated incidents and as we know, a string of isolated incidents can lead to major conflict.

"It should be on the radar as a danger."

It comes as two US Air Force B-1B bombers took off from Guam and headed west over the Pacific Ocean to the hotly contested South China Sea.

The sleek jets made a low-level pass over the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its escorting fleet, which was exercising nearby in the Philippines Sea, according to images released by the US military.

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