Concerns of the Philippines and other countries that have entered into a territorial dispute with China are not unfounded. The South China Sea is of major strategic importance. This is not only the most important maritime trade route that connects America and the Middle East, as well as the China with European trading markets, but also a significant hydrocarbon reserve (about 11 billion barrels of oil and 5.9 trillion cubic meters of gas .) Nansha (Spratly) Islands are Located in South China Sea, and they are claimed by several countries:China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. The presence of military bases on artificially created islands would allow Beijing to take control not only of disputed territories, but also the water area of the South China Sea.
On the other hand, the subject of the current dispute did not come about by chance. Its appearance was largely promoted by US foreign policy. The situation changed radically after 2012, when Washington turned attention to Asia, and the South China Sea entered the sphere of US national security interests. Then the Pentagon intended to place about 60% of the US armed forces in the APR. This statement strengthened China's determination to create artificial islands. Since then, despite the protests of Beijing, American warships appear periodically in the South China Sea.
Strengthening the China's presence in the South China Sea is of great concern to Washington. Fearing that Beijing will be able to establish full control over the adjacent waters in the western Pacific, Washington declares China's plans as "provocative and threatening stability throughout the region."
In this regard, the US political leadership tries to prevent the growth of China's military activity in the region in all possible ways. For these purposes, Washington is ready to attract not only opponents of Beijing in the territorial dispute, but also countries that have no claims to China in this region.
In an escalation of the conflict, the States tried to drag even a distant Australia, which was asked to take part in joint patrolling of the South China Sea with the US to ensure freedom of navigation. Japan also did not stand aside. This Washington ally, which has claims to Beijing over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, conducted joint exercises at sea with the Philippines and Vietnam in the summer of 2017. President of the United States, D. Trump, offered his services for settling the territorial dispute to Vietnam, having recommended himself as a "good intermediary or arbitrator".
Considering today's claims of Manila, Washington has every chance to make the Asian countries hostage to its geopolitical confrontation with China. Thus, thanks to Washington's policy of destabilizing the situation in the area of the South China Sea, a regional conflict can grow into a global one.