This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.  China is actively building its military presence on islands in the South China sea.  It is trying for a coup de main — expanding its forces enough that it won’t be opposed when it takes over the sea.  So why is China accusing the US of militarizing the area?  One explanation is that China is playing to its citizens.  Its accusations are designed to increase and inflame public awareness of the military exercises and patrols the US is doing in what the US maintains are international waters.  This tactic can and does work when the public is on the side of the government.  And, the indications are that Chinese citizens do support their military forces.  The danger of this kind of thinking, however, is that it can tilt over into hostile action and escalate tensions, something that no one wants.  So, it is best if both China and the US sail carefully in the South China sea and diminish the war of words.

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