The waters have become a hotbed of activity after Beijing’s institution of the nine-dash line which sees its territorial claims invade areas controlled by neighbouring countries such as Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam. Both the US and UK have both increased their presence in the region increasing the dispute between Washington and Beijing.
China accused the US of showing its strength in the region after the USS Ronald Reagan carried out drills in the disputed waters.
Soon after entering the region, the ship was surrounded by Chinese vessels according to to satellite images.
Moreover, such was the apparent provocation that Beijing lodged a complaint with Washington.
Speaking on the matter, rear admiral Karl Thomas told The Daily Telegraph: “There is certainly a disagreement in where they think we should sail.”
South China Sea: Tensions escalate in the disputed waters (Image: GETTY)
South China Sea: USS Ronald Reagan recently took part in exercises in the region (Image: GETTY)
China has already clashed with Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines over its encroachment into rich fishing grounds and reserves of untapped oil and gas reserves.
Beijing has also been accused of weaponising certain areas with the creation of artificial islands, illustrated by the Fiery Cross Reef.
Off the coast of the Philippines, the area is one of the most heavily fortified by China and now has underground ammunition storage, missile shelters and radar domes.
The Philippines and China both disputed the Scarborough Shoal territory which resulted in a tribunal ruling that the People’s Republic had no historical claim to the land in 2016.
JUST IN: South China Sea used by Beijing ‘used to smuggle crude oil’
South China Sea: USS Ronald Reagan (Image: GETTY)
The move to militarise some of the islands in the area was considered a blatant aggression but