Many people in both countries tend to believeWashington and Beijing could clash over the South China Sea issue. But were such a clash to take place, it would serve neither party’s interests.
regional powers— China and India. As the world’s sole superpower, the US is much more powerful than any country in the region and beyond. Therefore, the more it chooses to show off its force, the more people would interpret it as lack of confidence in its power projection in the future.
Sending a spy plane to China’s coast, a practice the US has been following for decades, could also reflectWashington’s toughening stance toward Beijing’s reclamation and construction work in the South China Sea. But Beijing sees neither reason nor legitimacy in Washington’s argument, because it is carrying out the reclamation and construction work in its territorial waters which will have no impact on freedom of navigation in and flying over the South Chin Sea.
Besides, the criticisms labeled by the US against China are based on favoritism and unfairness because the Philippines and Vietnam have built many facilities, including military ones, on China’s islands and islets in the South China Sea that they are illegally occupying. Surprisingly, the US has never seen their activities as troubling.
Under such circumstances, Beijing will neither yield to what it deems asWashington’s bullying tactics (flexing of muscles) nor wilt under the pressure of its unwarranted criticisms. On the contrary, it will continue with greater determination to carry out the reclamation and construction work. In short, China will remain undaunted to further provocations from the US.
As to the US support for its allies’ illegal territorial claims in the South China Sea, it could prove to be a double-edged sword; it could end up being counterproductive. For one thing, a military confrontation between the world’s largest and second-largest economies in the South China Sea can be good for neither side or, for that matter, any other country.
Last week’s incident has obviously raised tensions in the region and affected Sino-US ties. Many people in both countries tend to believeWashington and Beijing could clash over the South China Sea issue. But were such a clash to take place, it would serve neither party’s interests.
Washington obviously needs a serious rethink before it announces a major change in its policy and decides to openly contain the rise of China, because the price of doing so could be very costly.