China did it again. The Chinese government again threatened the Philippines with possible retaliation should the Philippine government allow its security allies use of its strategic military bases. Philippine defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin said what China said was "irresponsible". Instead of using coercive and threatening tactics, China should recognize peaceful means of resolving territorial conflicts. International law reigns supreme over the Spratlys dispute.
I hate to tell our defense secretary that there is no such thing as the supremacy of international law over local laws or beliefs. No one can coerce China to respect or disrespect other claimants' stake over the Spratlys. China holds the belief that it owns those islands---that belief is protected by international conventions. It is up to other countries if they will recognize such protection.
Decades ago, China was a struggling Third world country. Now, it's getting to a status similar to that of the United States. As one's economy grows, the desire to protect its interests grows with it. A stronger economy necessitates a stronger military.
China wants to test its naval capabilities because that is the only way for it to advance or take its "empire" ambition to the next level. Notice China's location and the only way for it to "expand" is thru the occupation of islands located at the South China Sea. It serves a dual purpose---first, you control an area with a potential cache of minerals and resources and two, you control the busiest naval trade route on the planet. There is nothing more salivating than that!