The role that US played in the South China Sea

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

FTFU YING, WU SHICUN ROM the per­spec­tive of many Chi­nese peo­ple, the US is the in­vis­i­ble hand be­hind the ris­ing ten­sion in the South China Sea, who fur­ther com­pli­cated and in­ten­si­fied the sit­u­a­tion in the South China Sea and in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion as a whole.

Since 2014, the US has made clearer re­sponses to China in the South China Sea, in pos­tures of di­rect in­ter­ven­tion in the dis­putes and of­ten in fa­vor of other claimants, es­pe­cially its own al­lies. In Fe­bru­ary, 2014, US As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for East Asian and Pa­cific Af­fairs Daniel Rus­sel said that China was “lack of clar­ity with re­gard to its South China Sea claims has cre­ated un­cer­tainty, in­se­cu­rity and in­sta­bil­ity in the re­gion.” He also urged China to clar­ify its nine-dash line claim. This was the first ex­plicit and of­fi­cial com­ment made by the US to chal­lenge China on the South China Sea is­sue. In the same month, US Chief of Naval Op­er­a­tions (CNO), Ad­mi­ral Jonathan Green­ert an­nounced US’s sup­port for the Philip­pines in the event of a Chi­naPhilip­pines con­flict.

As well as un­der­min­ing the US cred­i­bil­ity as a po­ten­tial me­di­a­tor, the US’s dra­mat­i­cally al­tered pol­icy on the South China Sea has height­ened China’s fears that its in­ter­ests would be fur­ther un­der­mined, thus in­spir­ing its de­ter­mi­na­tion and mea­sures to de­fend them.

Echo­ing its pol­icy read­just­ments, the US has ac­cel­er­ated provoca­tive and co­er­cive ac­tions that are clearly tar­geted at China. For ex­am­ple, the US’s sur­veil­lance at the Nan­sha Is­lands and its sur­round­ing wa­ters have in­ten­si­fied. Also, as a way to flex its mus­cle and as­sert free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion, the US keeps send­ing ships to sail within 12 nau­ti­cal miles of the Nan­sha Is­lands or even the non-dis­puted Xisha Is­lands. In Oc­to­ber 2015 and Jan­uary 2016, the USS Lassen and Cur­tis nav­i­gated or tres­passed within 12 nau­ti­cal miles of Zhubi Reef (Subi Reef) and Zhongjian Is­land re­spec­tively. US Pa­cific Com­mand com­man­der Harry Har­ris even openly de­clared to take more so­phis­ti­cated and wide-rang­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in the fu­ture, and send war­ships to the South China Sea about twice a quar­ter.

Other de­ter­rent ac­tions taken by the US in­clude the fol­low­ings: In July 2015, the new com­man­der of the US Pa­cific Fleet Ad­mi­ral Scott Swift joined the sur­veil­lance mis­sion on board the ASW P-8A Po­sei­don to con­duct close-in re­con­nais­sance at the South China Sea; on Novem­ber 5, US Sec­re­tary of De­fense Ash­ton Carter cruised on the USS Roo­sevelt, and when he be­gan to de­liver a speech on board, the car­rier was churn­ing through the dis­puted wa­ters south of the Nan­sha Is­lands; on Novem­ber 8 and 9, two US B-52 strate­gic bombers flew near the Chi­nese is­lands un­der con­struc­tion; and dur­ing his visit to the Philip­pines on April 15, 2016, Carter landed aboard the air­craft car­rier USS John C. Sten­nis and joined a pa­trol in the South China Sea. US war­ships and planes also fre­quently con­ducted “in­no­cent pas­sage” through China’s ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters and airspace.

The US has also sought to strengthen its al­liance sys­tem and forces net­work sur­round­ing the South China Sea. The US has been step­ping up de­ploy­ment of forces around the South China Sea rim, in­clud­ing the Aus­tralian port of Dar­win, Sin­ga­pore, the Philip­pines and Malaysia. The US is also en­hanc­ing co­op­er­a­tion with Malaysia, In­done­sia and Viet­nam to con­duct in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing and en­hance mar­itime do­main aware­ness ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the re­gion, and ex­pand­ing mil­i­tary sup­port to some claimants in the dis­pute like the Philip­pines and Viet­nam.

The US’s mil­i­tary de­ploy­ment in the South China Sea has fur­ther flared up ten­sions in the re­gion, giv­ing the dis­putes in the South China Sea larger than real role on the in­ter­na­tional strate­gic chess­board. The ap­par­ent China-US ri­valry is seem­ingly tak­ing over other dis­putes in the re­gion and starts to oc­cupy cen­ter stage. The Chi­nese are thus prompted to ask a ques­tion: what is the US play­ing at in the South China Sea this time? MARIA DUBOVIKOVA HOMAS Mair has won. Jo Cox has failed. No, this is not as­cer­tain­ing the re­cent mur­der of the bril­liant Bri­tish MP, but an al­le­gor­i­cal de­scrip­tion of the re­sults of the Brexit vote. The Bri­tish peo­ple have re­jected the sev­eral ad­van­tages of life in the Euro­pean fam­ily. They said no to refugees and yes to na­tion­al­ism; prob­a­bly yes to dis­in­te­gra­tion.

The rea­sons why the ma­jor­ity had voted to leave are nu­mer­ous, but three ma­jor fac­tors played a key role in de­ter­min­ing the re­sult. First is the tra­di­tional, ge­o­graph­i­cally pre­de­ter­mined, Bri­tish na­tion­al­ism, which re­ceived a strong boost since the strength­en­ing of Brus­sels in­flu­ence and power, since the be­gin­ning of the refugee cri­sis and the rise of xeno­pho­bia and Is­lam­o­pho­bia. Se­condly, it was also about ir­re­spon­si­ble at­ti­tude to­ward the ref­er­en­dum it­self.

Ac­cord­ing to re­cent data, “leave” vot­ers now avow that they would re-vote to “stay” if the sec­ond ref­er­en­dum were of­fered. This is be­cause, while vot­ing to “leave” they could not ac­tu­ally imag­ine that such a sce­nario is re­ally pos­si­ble in their coun­try. Thirdly, it is el­e­men­tary ig­no­rance of ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of mat­ters re­lated to vote.

Many peo­ple voted not by us­ing their mind, but in­tu­ition, or just by chance, plung­ing their coun­try into a cri­sis in the process. Churchill’s fa­mous quote is rel­e­vant here: “The best ar­gu­ment against a democ­racy is a five minute con­ver­sa­tion with the av­er­age voter!” This av­er­age voter has ap­par­ently thrown a huge stone in the sys­tem that gen­er­a­tions have been con­struct­ing brick by brick.

In the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, the res­ig­na­tion of David Cameron looks like an act of cow­ardice. He played with the Euro­pean Union, tried to arm-twist Brus­sels and pushed it to give Bri­tain more pref­er­ences. He ba­si­cally over­played the en­tire thing. It was he who started the Brexit story.

He had to be the one to ac­cept the re­sults no mat­ter what they were. To start a fight and then to re­treat af­ter such vote and such de­ci­sion would have been the true pun­ish­ment for him.

Matthew Nor­man wrote in The In­de­pen­dent, that Cameron “will go down in his­tory as the Prime Min­is­ter who killed his coun­try”.

It should also be ad­mit­ted that David Cameron would have hardly launched a de­bate over Brexit if he had known that the vote would be “to leave”. He was sure of the op­po­site re­sult.

There is also some­thing wrong with the elec­tion sur­vey these days. They de­pict a false pic­ture to the

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