No One Lost the South China Sea (And No One Will)

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

America’s excessive involvement in the South China Sea has forced China to deploy more defensive equipment in the area. What happens now?

No One Lost the South China Sea (And No One Will)

As we all see, the situation in the South China Sea is cooling down, and the biggest variable is the emerging Sino-U.S. maritime strategic competition. There have been three major views, all of which stem from anxiety, in the western strategic sphere recently on this issue, namely, the so-called Chinese expansionism, U.S. fecklessness and China’s control of the South China Sea with at the cost of others’ interests. That would contribute to much of China-lashing rhetoric these days. In my observation, all the above points are biased to some degree.

No one lost the South China Sea and no one will. Firstly, no power including China and the United States has the capacity to control the South China Sea regardless its intentions, as we are living in a world where power is more balanced. It’s true that China has made great strides in terms of military modernization and increased power presence, but other South China Sea littoral states and outside powers such as the United States are all strengthening their power presence and military deployments in the region as well. In the foreseeable future, it’s difficult to imagine that China or any other country could achieve predominance in the South China Sea.

Secondly, when we talk about sea power and sea control in our current times, it just means relative influence and comparative advantage in some maritime areas, because today’ sea power is definitely an inclusive system rather than exclusive one. With China’s rise, it is increasingly difficult for the United States to impose the Mahan doctrine on China in the South China Sea; and no matter how far China develops, it is not likely to pursue so called “maritime hegemony,” given United States’ powerful forces in and around the South China Sea. After a long term competition, both sides will finally find out that there is no choice but to establish a common and inclusive security order with ASEAN Member States and other stakeholders.

China’s policy and operations is far from expansionism in the South China Sea. For a long time, China has adopted a policy of responding rather than moving first. From 2009 to 2014, China had mainly been responding to the aggressive policies and operations of Vietnam and the Philippines; since 2015, China has been mainly responding to the United States’ increasingly provocative moves such as more frequent and intense FONOPs, close reconnaissance and wargame exercises. It’s natural that China’s power presence and military capacity are being improved when China is powerful, and as the largest South China Sea littoral state, China does have the right to have a powerful presence in the South China Sea.

 

https://www.yahoo.com/news/no-one-lost-south-china-202300250.html

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail