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World War 3: US Congress passes defense bill amidst claims that China is preparing for all-out conflict
Relations between the United States and China have further soured in recent years over tariffs, the pandemic, and the conflict in the South China Sea. Fears of the conflicts turning into world war 3 have since been raised following the passing of the defense bill by the US Congress.
The defense spending bill was received with bipartisan support as the legislation passed through both Congress and the Senate and once again overrode the veto by outgoing president Donald Trump. The multi-billion-dollar bill would then allocate $18.5 billion to the “Pacific Deterrence Initiative” that spans five years in order to increase the US’ presence in the contested waters.
The 4,500-page bill was drafted by the Senate armed service committee and also comes in the midst of warnings by its chair, GOP Senator James Inhofe, who claimed that Beijing is already preparing for a possible all-out conflict or world war 3 with the US in the highly-contested South China Sea. Democratic Senator Jack Reed also echoed the warning given by Inhofe regarding the situation with China. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also backed the bill, which would also rename the military bases that were named after Confederate officials.
China has claimed sovereignty over much of the South China Sea, angering many of the countries who also have claims over parts of the sea. The US and other Western countries have since opposed China’s claim over the waters and have deployed their own warships to maintain the current status quo while helping its other allies in the continent, most especially Taiwan.
It is not just China’s conflict with the US that could result in a possible world war 3 with the rest of the world. News outlets in Iran reported that the Islamic nation’s Revolutionary Guards Navy seized a South Korean tanker for supposedly polluting the Gulf. South Korea’s foreign ministry later confirmed the news. The spokesperson said the ship was seized in the waters of Oman and demanded that it would be released.
The reported seizing of the tanker comes to the anniversary of the killing of Iranian top commander Qassem Soleimani.