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xueli and Wangyang:U.S. Should be Cautious on not Going&

(2016-11-01 03:44:30)




分类: 南海研究与评论

This piece never published in English world. The following news implied that the US Pacific Command  , led by its hardlined commander Harry B. Harris, just wants to stir up the peace situation in SCS by conducting military operation UNDER the name of  FONOP. That means the opinion expressed  in the paper still works. According to the online magazine The Diplomat, "The USS Decatur, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer sailed near China-occupied features in the Paracel Islands that are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. The destroyer specifically sailed near Triton Island and Woody Island, but did not sail within 12 nautical miles of either feature".

U.S. Should be Cautious on not Going too Far in SCS



Wang Yang  Undergraduate from University of International Business and Economics


According to the survey on 21 national media by China Daily and CASIC’s joint new media experiment, US has 60076 reports on South China Sea (SCS) and ranks the top of all media, among which 4676 are about the Philippine arbitration case, that accounts for 7.80%. In contrast, Philippine has 2764 and ranks 4th, with660 and 23.88%on the case. The Philippines’ data is understandable, yet as the world police, U.S. media’s attention to the SCS and the arbitral case seems more than enough. Why? Generally, it is known as media preference for muck raking. After all, in peaceful environment, it’s quite difficult to find a case which integrate news elements, such as, superpowers’ political game, China’s rising, military struggles, the international arbitration and East Asian affairs. In this case, U.S. media’s enthusiasm towards SCS is quite reasonable.


However, as a scholar who has followed the SCS dispute for many years, the author argued this general explanation could hardly reflect the whole story. It is known U.S. media has high degree of freedom, yet it doesn’t necessarily mean there is no political correctness. Instead, they don’t refuse to corporate with the government in their own way at proper moment. Unfortunately, when it comes to SCS disputes, the U.S. media has strong presetting standpoints, violates the common reportorial principle of equilibrium and even glaring mistakes. All in all, the quality of these reports are far worse than those on domestic topics.


In fact, not only the U.S. media but also U.S. government takes side in this dispute. Take the Philippine arbitration case as an example. Lot of Chinese diplomats were told by their counterparts from host countries that American diplomats required them to declare their supports on arbitration verdict, which shows an important fact— the Philippine arbitration case is first and foremost a political issue before a legal one, and the U.S. not only instructs the Philippines, but also does it itself.


US diplomats and scholars in contact with the author also recognize its significant role in the arbitration case, but they insist that U.S.’s standpoint is to maintain international justice, stability and freedom of navigation in SCS. Is this the truth? Peers at home and abroad agree that the author’s viewpoint on SCS is quite neutral, even though the author still finds that since October 2015,U.S. has become the main reason to the accelerating tensions in SCS. US has a national interest consideration in its activities in SCS. Not only it takes sides in the disputes, but also deliberately humiliates China from time to time.The following is evidences.


Formost countries, the freedom of navigation refers to freedom of commercial navigation. Nevertheless, for the U.S., freedom of navigation also includes freedom of military navigation, which means warships have the freedom of action in other country’s EZZ and territorial waters, and ensure this through implementing of FONOPs.


Additionally, there are more evidences of U.S’ partiality to the Philippine. For instance, U.S. pressured Beijing through multilateral mechanism like the EU and G7; pressured on ASEAN states who are not willing to get involved in the SCS; provided technical, personnel and media support to Philippine; accused China’s reclamation and defense deployment in the SCS while ignored other claimants’ similar activities; and U.S.’s FONOPs only targeted at maritime features controlled by China, and deliberately extended from Spratly Islands to Paracel Islands.


The military represented by Defense Secretary Carter is going too far. Military aircrafts passed Scarborough Shoal with provoking actions. What’s worse, two destroyers respectively entered 12 nm within Triton island and Fiery Cross Island. Generally, when patrolling in China’s coastal area, US navy bides by Chinese Law which  requests foreign warships to have an advanced permission for entry to territorial sea of 12 nm However, not only these two destroyers ’entering has not authorized by Chinese government, but also they conducted at a high profile, which humiliated China and neglected the basic respects to great powers. China has no choice but to response to the challenges. That is why Ouyang Yujing, the director of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs MOFA, said the greater the pressure, the greater the rebound. U.S.’s activities are inflaming tensions in SCS.


The fundamental reason to U.S.’s actions in the SCS is its Asia-Pacific Rebalance Strategywhich requires Washington of both macro-layout and micro actions.


In macro aspect, U.S. strengthened its military presence in the East Asia against the background of its strategic contraction worldwide. In this regard, 60% vessels and 60% overseas aircrafts will be deployed in the East Asia by 2020. Meanwhile, U.S. not only strengthened military force in the second island chain, but also enhanced military cooperation with Japan, South Korea and Philippine and provided increasing military supports to partners, including Singapore and Vietnam. Moreover, U.S. published four strategic documents, including “The Asia Pacific Maritime Security Strategy”, which has considerable volume on SCS dispute and claimed to have China paid for the disputes.


In micro aspect, US tend to targeted at China with all kinds of frequent threatening and aggressive activities in accordance with its policy adjustments. In February 2014, Russell, Assistant Secretary of State accused China’s nine dash line of lacking international law basis when testifying before the House. In Philippine, Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations asserted that the U.S. would support Philippine once it clashed with China. During the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum hold in the Burmese Capital, Naypyidaw, Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry directly asserted “three stops”. Meanwhile, the U.S. also started to show off its muscle to China. In 2009, there were 260 aircrafts conducting close reconnaissance missions in the SCS. In 2014, this number surged to 1200. US vessels even entered into China’s territorial waters to implement the so called FONOPs.


To sum up, US military deployment accelerates the tensions in this water and exaggerates SCS dispute’s significance in the global strategy. The competition between China and the U.S. has surpassed other contradictories and become the main problem in this dispute. The U.S. greatly adjusts its South China Sea policy, which not only weakens its role of mediator in this dispute, but also arouses China’s concern about the possibility of further violation to its interests and strengthens China’s determination to protect it.


On July 12th, the verdict of SCS arbitration case was released.China immediately rejected the verdict and viewed it as a piece of waste paper. Russia supported China’s stands, while U.S. and Japan urged china to respect the rulings. At the same time, Philippine’s new government chose a relative low-key way on this issue. After round of struggles, the case starts to cool down to some extent. The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China during Ocotber 18-21 will prove that two countries know how to make efficient cooperation while putting their dispute on the right position. It could say the struggle between the two elephants China and the U.S. will continue. However, when the two elephants fight against each other, the ASEAN like the grass suffers. As a result, it is necessary for China to cooperate with ASEAN and work together to restrict the U.S.’s actions in this water and maintain the stability of this region.


(Dr. Xu Yanzhuo from IWEP/CASS polished the translation)



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