I am jittery with the mention of this topic because it is obvious that a war is going to escalate soon. China has been bullying the small countries like Vietnam and the Philippines in relation to the Spratly islands issue. There was even an instance that Chinese sentinels in the said islands hit the Vietnamese boats with water hoses. It was a mischief act but nonetheless confrontational.
The posting of USS Ronald Reagan to guard the South China sea particularly the Spratly Islands where China has been building a huge structure with an airstrip is a direct affront to the muscles of China. It seems that the US is also flexing its muscles and warning China of its bullying. Remember that weeks ago, the Chinese navy had warned the US planes to stop flying over their air space in Spratly as if they owned the entire island group.
So where are we heading? It would be China versus the world.
If China is truly the "bully" at Spartly islands, then why is Vietnam having occupied more than 20 islands/reef when China has only 7? Same goes for Philippines, controls more islands/reefs than China.
China was the first one to claim Spartly islands. Maps published in 1940s by former regime of China already included Spartly islands within the 9-dash-line.
In 1960s when Philippines attempted to claim 2 of the islands at Spartly for the very first time by unplugged Chinese flags there, Taiwan responded by immediately re-station troops on the islands. The US government at the time backed the claim of Republic of China on Taiwan because when Spain signed treaty to give up Philippines to the US, it never included Spartly islands within the Philippines' territory.
China has occupied only 7 islands/reefs at Spartly islands, all other countries who claim the area are having more islands/reefs.
China is the only one without an operational runway at Spartly islands. All others have built at least one some years ago.
The thing is, some smaller countries pretend to be the victim by keep pushing on the dispute issues while in fact they are grabbing more territory and have militarized more islands.
You called China the "bully" for using water cannons?
So what makes Philippines for shooting at Taiwanese fishing boat and killed a fishman? Then turned and ran when a Taiwanese warship rushed to the scene?
Never underestimate the ability of the weaklings to be the bully, especially when they think the "big brother" (the United States) would back them.