Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Keith Preston: US eyes oil, gas reserves in South China Sea

Press TV. Listen here:

The United States wants access to oil and gas reserves in the South China Sea, Keith Preston said.

The United States’ dispute with China in the contested South China Sea is over access to the vast oil and gas reserves in the strategic waters, and is increasingly of “military nature,” says a political commentator.

Keith Preston made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday when asked about the Chinese Defense Ministry’s statement Sunday that accused the US of “a serious military provocation” by flying two B-52 strategic bombers over the artificial Chinese islands.

On December 10, two US Air Force B-52 bombers, which can carry up to 50 500-lb. bombs and 30 100-lb. bombs, flew over the islands, putting Chinese military personnel on high alert.

“The actions by the US side constitute a serious military provocation and are rendering more complex and even militarizing conditions in the South China Sea,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

“The issue with the United States has to do with the fact that the South China Sea is widely believed to contain a fair number of reserves regarding oil and natural gas and of course, obviously, the United States wants access to this oil and natural gas,” said Preston, chief editor and director of

“But it’s not just a conflict over oil and natural gas, there is also a wider geopolitical conflict involved that’s more of a military nature,” he added.

“China is a rising world power and it’s predicted that at some point in the future, at some point during the 21st century, China may well become the premier world power,” while “the United States is in the state of decline,” he noted.

“The United States, for a long time, has maintained military hegemony in East Asia,” Preston said.

“I do see some geopolitical conflict here as well, China wishes to maintain a greater military role in the region and that’s in conflict with the hegemony that SEATO has had since the end of World War II,” he said, referring to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, which was created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, or Manila Pact, in September 1954.

Washington has sided with China’s rivals in the territorial dispute, with Beijing accusing the US of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.

China claims sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. The waters are believed to sit atop vast reserves of oil and gas.

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