Tensions are continuing to rise between the United States and China over the disputed man-made islands China has created in the South China Sea. The area known as the Spratly Islands consists of a natural atoll-like area measuring less than 6 miles long by 2 miles wide (at its widest point). Geographically, the Spratly Islands are more than 600 miles from China’s shoreline placing them much closer to Malaysia, the Philippines and even Vietnam, than they are to mainland China. Since early 2015, China has been dredging and filling the area in order to create artificial islands upon which they have stationed heavy artillery capable of firing upon neighboring islands. China has also constructed early warning radar stations, and built a 10,000 foot long runway suitable for all manner of military aircraft. The U.S. intelligence community also believes China has shipped hundreds of surface-to-air missiles to the man-made Islands. The missiles are believed to include the advanced SA-21 system, a long-range missile system capable of shooting down aircraft from as far away as 250 miles. This dangerous arsenal is concerning as it would give China unprecedented control over a major international shipping lane.
America’s First challenge to China’s Claim
In the first American challenge to China’s claims since President Trump took office, the U.S. navy recently sailed a guided missile destroyer, The U.S.S. Dewey, within six nautical miles of the man-made islands. According to several major news outlets, a Chinese frigate shadowed the American warship during its passage, and two other Chinese vessels were in the vicinity. According to CBS News, the U.S.S. Dewey was challenged 23 times by the Chinese frigate over the radio. The Dewey’s crew responded with standard language identifying their vessel, and stating that it was operating in international waters. Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the U.S. destroyer had “trespassed” near the islands over which China has “indisputable sovereignty.” Kang added, “We urge the U.S. to correct this mistake and stop taking further actions so as to avoid hurting peace and security in the region and long-term cooperation between the two countries.” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Ren Guoqiang told reporters at a monthly news briefing that a pair of Chinese navy frigates had warned off the American ship after it entered the area without China’s permission. “We urge the American side to correct its wrongdoings and add more positive energy to the military-to-military relationship,” Ren said, adding that the U.S. actions not only posed the risk of sparking a military incident at sea, but also would serve to motivate the Chinese military to enhance its military capability in the region.
Relevant Bible Prophecies
An even more pressing concern is the way in which these events parallel the political signs associated with the end times and those which are said to precede Christ’s Second Coming (Matthew 24:6-7; Mark 13:7-8; Luke 21:10). It is alarmingly similar that as the Chinese navy seemingly prepares for military conflict, these “wars and rumors of war” continue to circulate as the tenuous condition escalates. While the exact role of China in Bible prophecy is uncertain, many prophecy teachers point out that China is one of the few nations on the earth that could muster the army of 200 Million troops mentioned in Revelation 9:16. – WPM
PRAY: Pray that international leaders would find a peaceful solution to this tense situation. Pray for the Word of God to continue to spread within China and that ultimately the Chinese leaders would be influenced by the Gospel to assume a posture of peace that befits Christians. Also, pray that the leaders of the neighboring nations, as well as the United States, would be positively influenced by the Gospel.