There’s a “New Quad” taking shape in the contentious South China Sea. Three members of this New Quad are known and familiar, Australia, Japan, and the US, the fourth is the Philippines which has decided to challenge China’s intrusions into its territorial waters by fighting back in alliance with the three mentioned above.
Leaving nothing to the imagination, the navies of Australia, the US, and the Philippines simulated a drill involving the retaking of an island in the South China Sea. It was a deliberate signal to China which occupied Mischief Reef belonging to the Philippines in 1999 and claims the Second Thomas Shoal.
Chinese coast guard vessels have used water cannons in a bid to stop the Philippines from supplying the small naval unit on Second Thomas Shoal. The Chinese backed off only when the US Navy supported the Philippines. The US says it will come to the Philippines’ defence in the event of a Chinese attack.
And there’s more. India is also supporting the Philippines with the delivery of Brahmos missiles due to begin in September. They have signed an MoU on cooperation between the two coast guards and Manila could buy India’s Dhruv helicopters and Dornier maritime patrol aircraft. India has also offered a line of credit.
The key question is whether China will realize it is creating too many enemies and seek a negotiated settlement. So far, however, China is willing to negotiate but only on its terms