The communist nation has claimed most of the vast area as its sovereign territory.
Despite having no claims on any part of the archipelago, the US has increased its military presence in the region and called on other countries to compete against China’s dominance.
And now, the US Defense Minister, Mark Osho, has announced plans to expand the navy with a series of unmanned and autonomous ships, submarines and airplanes.
The Pentagon chief said a review of US naval power – dubbed Future Forward – was a “game-changer” plan.
US fights in Beijing with ‘game changer’ plans
US has increased military presence in the region
In the plan, the US Marine Fleet will be expanded from the current 293 to more than 355 ships.
On Wednesday, Mystero said: “The future fleet will be more balanced in its ability to deliver lethal effects from the sea and from the air below the sea.”
The expansion would include ships that were optionally manned, unmanned and autonomous and had a wide range of unmanned carrier-based airplanes, the Guardian reported.
Mr Said: “These efforts are the next phase in realizing our future fleet, with unmanned systems fighting a range of wars ranging from deadly fire fighting and restarting mines or surveying the enemy.
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“This will be a major change in how we conduct naval warfare in the coming years and decades.”
The Pentagon chief explained why the South China Sea region is a “priority theater” for the US military.
He said: “Not only is this region important, as it is the center of global trade and commerce, it is also the center of great power competition with China.
“Even though we have stopped building new ships, it will take the PRC (People’s Republic of China) to match our capacity on the high seas.”
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According to the news, China has deployed fighter jets and at least one bomber H-6J to the Paracel Islands.
Since the seizure of Paracels in 1974, China has built military installations on the islands.
Last week, US Marines conducted a military exercise in a mana flex in Beijing.
Marines assigned to the Marine Raid Squad of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit were charged with unloading the vessel in a drill.
Nations urged to counter China’s dominance
The exercise consisted of two platoons of the reconnaissance marine and a safety element.
These types of operations – known as travel, board, search and seizure missions (VBSS) – are common practice for the Marine Corps and Navy.
Earlier this year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on other countries in the region to compete against China’s dominance.
China has built bunkers on some atolls
He wrote on Twitter: “The policy of the United States is clear: the South China Sea is not China’s maritime empire.
“If Beijing violates international law and independent nations do nothing, history shows that the CCP will simply take more territory.
“China Sea disputes should be resolved through international law.”