The overlapping claims of the South China Sea and the islands that are owned by different nations that border the region.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-09/chinese-ships-rammed-1400-times-by-vietnamese-vessels/5510802
The Spratly Islands are series of Islands in the South China Sea. Nations surrounding this sea all claim the series of islands that populate this sea. They do because the South China Sea is rich with plenty of resources and is great for fishing and trade. So the nations bordering this body of liquid claim these islands they can win the right to the treasure chest that is this sea. China also wants the sea, and they have claimed the entirety of the area. (See map above.) They've decided to justify this claim by constructing islands (see image below.) And have armed these islands so that they can legitimize their claim even more. But because they've done this some nations have decided to contest this land grab, which has warranted a hostile response from China.
An example of the projects that China is undertaking, they are destroying the nature around them for territorial gains. http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/28/asia/china-south-china-sea-disputes-explainer/
The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said that the United States will deny China access to those islands. But this blockade would most likely mean China would declare war on the United States. But, the Secretary of Defense says that the United States will continue the foreign policy that it always has which to ensure the neutrality of international waters. Which is a response that China appreciates. The nation believes that this is an issue that does not concern the United States, and they should back out of something that they should have no involvement in.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson(left) and the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon(right.) http://www.dailywire.com/news/8441/i-know-trumps-new-campaign-chairman-steve-bannon-ben-shapiro and https://www.thenation.com/article/rex-tillersons-jaw-dropping-testimony-just-completely-disqualified-him/
Vietnam has started to expand on a runway of one of the islands it has claimed and it is thought to be in response of China's artificial island building. The United States supports Vietnam in this case and supports any nation in the region willing to lower tensions and resolve their differences.
But China has made a different response, Chinese Foreign Military spokesperson Geng Shang has said "China had indisputable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and that it was firmly opposed to relevant countries' illegal occupation." He also added that he wishes other nations would respect the sovereign rights of China and that they would cease their illegal activities immediately.
Reuters also reported that has also secretly fortified some of its island in the Sea armed with rockets capable of striking Chinese airways and other military installations. Which is the largest move Vietnam has made in the South China Sea. Though all Vietnam has had to say in response is the information is "inaccurate" without elaborating further.
An international court ruled in favor of the Philippines and China has no legal basis to claim historical rights over the islands, and put China at fault for shipping dirt to create artificial islands from the reefs. An article from the New York Times states "The Philippines filed the case in 2013 after China took control of a reef known as Scarborough Shoal. The case accused Beijing of interfering with fishing, endangering ships and failing to protect marine life. Manila also asked the tribunal to reject China’s claims to sovereignty within a so-called nine-dash line that encompasses much of the South China Sea and appears on official Chinese maps." The also stated that China has violated international law by causing irreparable harm to marine life, and hindering fishing, and oil exploration as well as building on land in Philippine waters.
The nine dash line -- http://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/line-07162015121333.html
But the court has no power to enforce this ruling and China has threatened to use force to protect its claims maritime interests in the Sea and has boycotted the legal system, ignoring its ruling.
Rectification of names is the first legacy left from China, by calling these islands Chinese. To them that means those islands are Chinese. Rectification of names has convinced them that the islands are theirs. Though that may not be how the world works anymore.
The legacy of legalism which has influenced the way China is handling the diplomacy with other nations. They believe they have a legal claim to the islands they've built on and they've decided to enforce their claim with war.
The legacy of Taoism is also evident because the path they have chosen leads to expansion and the need to assert themselves in that region, so that they can benefit from the resources of the Earth.
The Associated Press. "Ambassador Says US Not Building Arms Depot in Philippines." New York Times (NewYork City, NY). Accessed February 2, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/01/31/world/asia/ap-as-philippines-us.html?_r=0.
The New York Times is an award-winning newspaper, that uses credible authors writers and reporters. It was written by the oldest and largest news gathering organization
The Editorial Board. "Testing the Rule of Law in the South China Sea." New York Times. Accessed February 6, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/13/opinion/testing-the-rule-of-law-in-the-south-china-sea.html.
Haas, Benjamin. "Steve Bannon: 'We're going to war in the South China Sea ... no doubt.'" The Guardiam (London, England). Accessed February 7, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/02/steve-bannon-donald-trump-war-south-china-sea-no-doubt.
The Guardian is a newspaper that has existed for thousands of years and known for its amazing reporting.
Hunt, Katie. "Chinese state media slams Tillerson over South China Sea." CNN, Politics. Accessed February 1, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/13/politics/us-tillerson-china-reaction/.
CNN is thought by some not all to be a source for credible news. The author Katie Hunt is the senior digital producer for CNN international and the editor for the China section and is also stationed in Hong Kong.
Reuters (London, England). "Trump will pursue 'regional hegemony' in South China Sea: Chinese Academics." November 25, 2016. Accessed February 2, 2017. https://my.noodletools.com/web/bibliography.html.
Reuters is a reliable and old news source that not only is respected in the United States but internationally as well.
Reuters (London, England). "Vietnam Expanding South China Sea Runway: U.S. Think Tank." Accessed February 7, 2017. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-vietnam-idUSKBN13C2TH.
Reuters is a reliable news source know by many, and is renowned throughout Europe and the United States.