7. Tensions rise over South China Sea
The artificial islands on South China Sea Photo: CSIS
The South China Sea issue has emerged as a major area of discord between China and US. The US perceptions of global security clash with China’s ideas of national security. With bouts of provocation and protests, the US kept opposing China’s activities on the artificial islands and challenging China’s claims over the territory with allies the Philippines and Japan.
In the name of Freedom of Navigation, the US sent a guided missile destroyer and then B-52 bombers close to China’s man-made islands which China insists are for civilian use. The rivalry is expected to continue in 2016 despite the US presidential election.