While China is gathering economic and political clout many neighboring states fear that it is also becoming more expansionist.
China for example is expanding its presence in the South China Sea.
It’s not surprising therefore that the Philippines and Vietnam are among those countries most concerned. Both have vested interests of their own in the South China Sea claiming sovereignty over groups of islands that China considers to be in its own sphere of influence, namely the Paracels and the Spratley Islands.
Fears regarding Chinas ambitions are fueled by the construction or enhancement of runways and a military buildup in that area. Taiwan, who has a long and quarrelsome history of its own with Mainland China, now claims that the Chinese military has stationed missiles on Woody Island, which the Chinese call Yongxing. The Chinese foreign ministry criticized
the media for blowing the issue out of proportions.BBC analyst Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports
that China's deployment of long-range surface-to-air missiles to the South China Sea is a clear escalation, but doesn’t come as a surprise. The US-Navy sailed a missile destroyer past the Island in a show of force at the end of January. US President Barack Obama has called for "a halt to further reclamation, new construction and militarization of disputed areas".
According to data gathered by the Pew Research Center it isn’t just states on the South China Sea but all of Chinas neighbors are somewhat skeptical about Chinese intentions. Among them, those countries located further north, namely South Korea and Japan. And even the Australians in the south seem somewhat worried about what China might claim.