The United States continues to reiterate the need for regional stability, while China fundamentally perceives the South China Sea as a matter of its territorial sovereignty. As important, Beijing once again emphasized that, in its view, it is the United States that is destabilizing the region, by encouraging China’s neighbors to pursue territorial claims against it.
The fundamental disagreement about the South China Sea is likely to be raised at the coming Strategic & Economic Dialogue (S&ED) talks in Beijing.
This will be the last S&ED talks of the Obama administration, marking the last opportunity for the two sides’ senior leaders to discuss economic and security issues of mutual concern. It is likely that ongoing cyber espionage issues will join the rancorous problem of the South China Sea on the agenda, as well as the need to maintain stability on the Korean peninsula.