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US moves worsening South China Sea row [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2018-10-23 17:16:52 |Display all floors

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Recently, the South China Sea seems to be witnessing "polarized" opposition between China and the US as seen from the stinging speech by US Vice President Mike Pence that slammed China's South China Sea policy and America's frequent muscle-flexing in the waters. The US, together with its allies and partners, is using political, diplomatic and military means and public opinion to "contain" China. In particular, frequent military steps from the US side have made the South China Sea a frontline of confrontations.

In the past two years, the Trump administration has grown obviously more aware of the importance of the South China Sea in America's global strategy and its understanding of the challenges and threats the US faces in the area has virtually changed.

The US now views China's law enforcement activities, development of islands, deployment of defense facilities and promotion of "Code of Conduct" negotiations in the area as challenging Washington's control over the Asia-Pacific.

America's worries include: Its overwhelming military advantages may be impaired; it may be marginalized in the region's maritime rule-making, and the multilateral and bilateral security architecture led by the US may be shaken. The US thinks China is "elbowing the US out of the Western Pacific," affecting regional power distribution, code of conduct and security architecture. Based on this false judgment, the US is now dramatically increasing strategic investment in the South China Sea.

Nowadays, it seems the US sees greater domestic consensus on the South China Sea issue than any other foreign agenda. Political, academic and media circles unanimously hold that any act by China in the South China Sea is "expansive" and "aggressive", threatening American interests. To stand against China over the South China Sea issue has become "political correctness".

Since the first half of this year, there have been suggestions that the Trump administration should take stronger measures than conducting freedom of navigation operations in response to China's acts. Such opinion has been echoed in Pence's speech. What kind of stronger measures Washington will take remains uncertain, but it is certain that America's allies and partners in the Western Pacific such as Australia and Japan will stay with the US to increase their stakes in the South China Sea and up the ante against China.

In other words, viewing Beijing as an opponent that challenges and breaks the status quo in the region, the US is forming an "American camp" against China in the area with the help of the "Indo-Pacific strategy".

To China, the South China Sea means sovereignty, security and development. China needs to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction in the area and ensure secure corridors for energy import and freight transport. Facing an aggressive US in the South China Sea, China does not have many options. In theory, China may seek to establish codes of conduct with the US to practice restraint and limit tit-for-tat military measures. But now with escalating tensions between the two countries and China defined as a "strategic competitor" of the US, it is not easy to stop Washington from seeing Beijing as a threat and opponent.

Judging by the current circumstances, China has no other choice than taking countermeasures, including increasing military deployment in the region.

Shift of power is eternal in the evolution of international systems. But it develops into a vicious cycle if we believe it will cause conflicts and then conflicts will really become inevitable.

Sino-US contests in the South China Sea are exactly of this kind. If the US persists that the South China Sea will be the beginning of Beijing's attempt to challenge Washington's position as the world's only superpower and compete for the supremacy in the international system, this deep-rooted misperception is bound to cause "an inevitable war" between the two over the water body.

In this case, the South China Sea is highly likely to become the forefront of a "new cold war".

The author is an assistant research fellow, National Institute for South China Sea Studies.

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Post time 2018-10-23 19:55:09 |Display all floors
LESS than three years ago, Xi Jinping stood with Barack Obama in the Rose Garden at the White House and lied through his teeth. In response to mounting concern over China’s massive terraforming efforts in the South China Sea—satellite images showed seven artificial islands sprouting in different spots—the country’s president was all honey and balm. China absolutely did not, Mr Xi purred, “intend to pursue militarisation” on its islands. Its construction activities in the sea were not meant to “target or impact” any country.
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. Mark Twain

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Post time 2018-10-29 18:16:17 |Display all floors
The USA has over 700 military bases in foreign countries, many in east Asia.
How on earth can the USA complain about China expanding its military bases in its own backyard, the South China Sea.
Commerce shipping is not a target of Chinese defense. How could it be if China is such a powerhouse in export and import.
The USA claim of free shipping travel being affected is ludicrous.
China has more right to defense in east Asian waters than the USA.
If capitalism promotes innovation and creativity then why aren't scientists and artists the richest people in a capitalist nation?

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Post time 2018-10-29 22:47:23 |Display all floors
robert237 Post time: 2018-10-29 18:16
The USA has over 700 military bases in foreign countries, many in east Asia.
How on earth can the US ...

The US is knowledgeaball on this things

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Post time 2018-11-1 14:48:21 |Display all floors
MARKPONCE Post time: 2018-10-29 22:47
The US is knowledgeaball on this things

the US IS A WAR MONGER is that what you you was telling us!

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Post time 2018-11-1 15:22:53 |Display all floors
emanreus Post time: 2018-11-1 14:48
the US IS A WAR MONGER is that what you you was telling us!

no i can't say that i would prefer live US that China

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Post time 2018-11-10 18:41:15 |Display all floors
Saul Post time: 2018-10-23 19:55
LESS than three years ago, Xi Jinping stood with Barack Obama in the Rose Garden at the White House  ...

Typical Chinese MO

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