In a first, a Modi-Obamajoint statementlast year explicitly raised concerns over the South China Sea and called on all parties to avoid the threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means.. Security, Strategy, and Military Dynamics in South China Sea: Cross-National Perspectives on JSTOR. Guidelines for a South China Sea Strategy. The South China Sea is basically China's export waterway to Africa and to Europe (among other markets), but in order for China's enemy (aspiring conqueror), America, to harm and weaken China maximally, and to use the United Nations assisting in that aggression, America and its allies have cast this vital trade-waterway as being instead basically just an area to be exploited for oil and gas . This segment will address American interests. Washingtons relationship with Hanoi will make that more palatable. Last year, the construction projects covered 72 acres. In addition, the United States has affirmed some responsibility for the defense of Taiwan and has close security ties with Singapore and New Zealand. What is the Strategic Importance of the South China Sea? Improved governance will lead to stronger economies over the long term and dampen the influence of Chinese dirty money. If this sounds overstated or overwrought it is not. This new strategic map of Southeast Asia actually began to take shape during the Bush administration, whichinitially launchedthe effort to move beyond Americas traditional hub-and-spokes alliance model in the Asia-Pacific. Countries across the region prioritized economic growth and modernization. In the contemporary era, Taiwan remains geographically at the intersection of most of East Asia's danger points. This article aims to highlight security dynamics of the US-China competition in the Indo-Pacific associated with the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea through the prism of Balance of Threat Th. NEW DELHI (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan urged China and the US to de-escalate tensions in the Taiwan Strait and the South . 2009 China issues two diplomatic notes that appear to claim a majority of the South China Sea. The risk to Chinese power projection lies predominantly with US interests. The geopolitical message was unmistakable: Western expectations that China was transitioning toward political democracy were entirely illusory. China, Russia and the Munich Security Conference. The reaction of the Chinese Foreign Minister was incendiary and revealing. The diplomatic tempest at the ARF came when U.S. security attention was preoccupied with ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the global counterterrorism campaign with Osama bin Laden still at large. These factors combined give a strategic importance to the South China Sea that has led to numerous states Brunei, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam each pressing their own claims to . South China Sea or even some part of its strategically significant zones will provide the sovereign nation state significant seat in global trade agreements. South China Sea is a strategic sea lane is significance for connectivity, navigation, trade and resources is a global hotspot as a potential flashpoint. It can receive large aircraft (including C-17s and C-130s); it is close to a deep seaport; and it has infrastructure capable of handling command and control systems. It has increased its military budget by over 8.5% in recent years and this is likely to continue for the near future. There are certainly other situations involving other challenges, but this is the most plausible and dangerous. Current developments in the South China Sea must be understood against the backdrop of recent history. A new arrangement for U.S. naval access to Cam Ranh Bay may well be in the offing. U.S. goals to uphold regional alliances and partnerships, defend international rules and norms, and maintain a productive relationship with China remain valid. If Chinese coercion goes unchallenged by the United States, it will send a dangerous signal about the strength of the U.S. alliance system and lessen the appeal of the United States as a security partner. 2016 The Arbitration Tribunal rules in favor of the Philippines. Learn more in our Cookie Policy. For example, targeted sanctions on Chinese companies involved in destabilizing activities could be considered. That claim remained shrouded in a calculated fog of ambiguity until 2010 when Secretary of State Clinton addressed the status of the South China Sea and its sea-lanes at a meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi. More and more, we see a particularly aggressive maritime stance from China towards NATO warships when exercising freedom of navigation through the SCS. "First, South China Sea is important for the strategic patrol of Chinese SSBN [nuclear ballistic missile submarine], which needs to enter west Pacific Ocean for its nuclear deterrence against the US," he explained. Journals and books. Indeed, when push came to shove, China would force its bilateral partners to choose between economic prosperity on the one hand and security and even sovereignty on the other. In December, another joint China-Russia naval exercise was held in the East China Sea (China Military Online, December 21, 2022). The credibility of U.S. security support for allies and partners will be shredded. These islands are large enough for military runways and well as SAM installations. Hence, the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Michael Green, Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair; Dr. Zack Cooper, Fellow, Japan Chair; Bonnie Glaser, Senior Adviser for Asia and Director, China Power Project; Andrew Shearer, Senior Adviser on Asia-Pacific Security; and Greg Poling, Director Asia Maritime Transparency Initiativeto provide the analytical context and some fundamental principles that should guide strategic thinking on South China Sea policy. This button displays the currently selected search type. The Chinese recently built an island in the South China Sea, apparently as a potential airbase. By the mid-1990s, relations with Vietnam had begun a rapidly improvement. These actions suggest that China might undermine freedom of navigation and overflight, principles of fundamental importance to the United States. Abstract. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), it carries one-third of global shipping, carrying trillions of dollars in trade, making it a significant geopolitical water body. China has harassed U.S. Navy ships operating in the South China Sea, warned military flights to stay away from its artificial islands, and recently seized a U.S. drone operating in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. As one of the busiest trade routes in the world and home to a wealth of marine and mineral resources, the South China Sea holds great economic and geostrategic importance. Chinas significant increase in spending and capability of its maritime forces is of note. Preserving the U.S. military edge is key to maintaining the U.S. position in Asia. Figure 3 highlights the influenced areas. China is working hard to bring under its control the water, islands, rocks and reefs that sit within its imaginary nine-dash line. The South China Sea (SCS) consists of over 200 tiny islands, reefs, shoals, atolls and sandbanks grouped in to 3 archipelagos the Spratlys, the Paracels and the Pratas Macclesfield Bank and Scarborough Shoal. Australia and Vietnam established a Comprehensive Partnership in 2009 and agreed to expand it in 2015. See Media Page for more interview, contact, and citation details. In 2016, they carried fully one-third of global shipping with an estimated value of $3.4 trillion. Beyond that, there are a variety of formal security cooperation agreements with Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. In sum, the South China Sea is the immediate arena where two alternative geopolitical paradigms are contesting for supremacy. In the past two weeks, Filipino . It remains entirely plausible that any Chinese strategy could have a long term goal of possessing the power to deny US or western warships access to the SCS, with China largely laying claim to most of the area as it's own waters. Unfortunately, some countries fail to comply with the existing international law. U.S. leaders should not be afraid of tension in the U.S.-China relationship. The increasing activity of Beijing in the South China Sea, Consequences of US-China rivalry in Indo-Pacific and beyond, Balancing the giants: Australia between China and US. Certainly, the ongoing reform process and the opening of relations with the United States amount to a strategic setback for Chinas position in the region. In sum, the United States has built and maintained a dense network of security links and obligations throughout East and Southeast Asia all sustained by regular contact with the Seventh Fleet as it transits the region via the South China Sea. Vietnam's coastline bordering the South China Sea is over 3,000 kilometers long. Besides, more than half of the world's fishing vessels pass through the SCS. The 2022 Philippine Election: Trouble for Democracy and Foreign Relations Ahead? The USA have a direct connection to the area through various allies, connections and trade, and this will naturally continue. Not only Vietnam is the strongest opponent of the Chinese nine-dash line claim in the region, Vietnam's sustained economic growth has pushed it to emerge as an important player in the South East Asia, which China perceives is not in its interests. Successful capacity building efforts will allow Southeast Asian states to better help themselves, bolstering deterrence against low-level Chinese coercion and allowing the U.S. military to focus more on deterring high-level contingencies. By the end of the 1970s, communist insurgencies outside Indochina had been effectively suppressed. US still mired in a 'Cold War' mindset, but the tide's turning, The West is misreading Chinas Party Congress at the peril of world stability, Can Foreign Investors still have Good Reasons to be Optimistic about China? Nevertheless, Beijing had taken its first overt step to control the South China Sea. From the report. Islands in the South China Sea The islands of the South China Sea can be grouped into two island chains. Under President Xi Jinping, Beijing has undertaken more assertive policies that have greatly improved Beijings position in the South China Sea. In such a complex environment, it is important to have well-established, recognizable rules of international law. Select Accept to consent or Reject to decline non-essential cookies for this use. The United States sent a carrier battle group there as well. The end of the Cold War found East Asia and the Western Pacific strategically quiescent. Figure 4 shows the overlapping sovereignty claims in the SCS, with Chinas claims according to the 9 dash line doctrine in red. In April, Australian Defence Force personnel joined the U.S.-Philippines Balikatan maneuvers, which included an amphibious landing exercise. More than 50% of world trade passes. With a new Southeast Asian strategic alignment taking shape as described, geography makes Indonesia and Malaysiaespecially due to its Sabah and Sarawak states on Borneothe regions key swing states. A critical and early Chinese test of U.S. resolve is likely to come in the South China Sea, where Washington has struggled to respond effectively to assertive Chinese behavior. By contrast, China views. Currently, President Xi Jinping makes frequent references to Chinas possession of the South China Sea since ancient times an assertion that lacks any validity historically or legally. These straws-in-the-wind gained strategic context because the PRC had long published official maps showing a boundary encompassing almost the entire South China Sea the nine-dash line.. The Korean War produced formal defense treaties with each of these countries plus a new, permanent military presence in South Korea. You are approaching Chinese airspace. China, for example, has asserted a maritime claim to a large majority of the South China Sea that is not consistent with international law. This access will allow for more frequent, more sustained flights over the South China Sea, including over the disputed Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal. However, Brunei's insistence that specific issues in the maritime region should be . Importance of South China Sea The South China Sea is a busy international waterway, one of the main arteries of global trade worth more than $5 trillion and is growing year on year. It is little surprise, then, that Southeast Asian states are drawing closer to the United Statesboth seeking aid in developing their own defense capabilities and hoping that stronger ties act as a deterrent to Chinese assertiveness. To facilitate capacity building, Washington should preserve regional defense relationships while recognizing that the ability of the United States to partner with frontline states depends on their cooperation and adherence to good governance and human rights. China has seized the initiative in the South China Sea, however, and the United States needs to revamp its strategy to reverse current trends and escape the trap of reactive and ineffectual policymaking. Post-Mao China, with the emergence of Deng Xiaoping as paramount leader, became a major constructive presence dedicated to economic development fueled by opening the Middle Kingdom to the region and the world. To counter Chinas efforts to control the South China Sea, the United States needs a sustainable strategy to bolster its own capabilities, work more effectively with capable allies and partners, and strengthen the regional order. Total fish stocks have been depleted by 70 to 95 percent since the 1950s. The neighboring South East Asian countries of the highly volatile and busiest waterways of the South China Sea (SCS) have overlapping claims of sovereignty. LinkedIn and 3rd parties use essential and non-essential cookies to provide, secure, analyze and improve our Services, and to show you relevant ads (including professional and job ads) on and off LinkedIn. As a result of this shift, China now seeks to control sea lines of communication, ensure national prosperity and continue economic growth and national greatness; the South China Sea plays a massive part in this. Sign up to receive The Evening, a daily brief on the news, events, and people shaping the world of international affairs. A U.S. Navy crewman aboard a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft views a computer screen purportedly showing Chinese construction on the reclaimed land of Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. The Balloon Incident and Evolution of Espionage. And thus a new strategic map of Asia begins to emerge. The United States should intensify capacity building efforts with allies and partners to improve their ability to resist Chinese coercion. In particular, Chinas growing assertiveness over sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea could be assessed as a serious challenge to the status quo in the region. Does US-hegemonic decline translate into a fight between democracy and autocracy in maintaining a benign world order? Unfortunately, the allies now lack a shared strategic outlook, thus reducing the impetus to overcome recent bilateral political hurdles. Not taking a position on sovereignty allows the United States to flexibly intervene in the South China Sea to defend its interests and international rules and norms, while undercutting Chinese attempts to paint U.S. actions as a threat to Beijings sovereignty. The South China Sea is considered a "near sea" and its geographic proximity to the mainland is central to the China's strategic imagination and threat perception. But addressing the risks of its near seas means tackling the time-consuming and costly project of building, training and deploying a stronger blue-water navy while also establishing a greater . Few in Washington were inclined to see the South China Sea as a strategic priority engaging vital U.S. national interests. The United States should continue to prioritize military presence in the Asia-Pacific at the same time as it invests in key capabilities, such as long-range precision strike, undersea warfare, cyber/space systems, and other capabilities that will preserve the U.S. ability to deter Chinese aggression. The United States needs to consider a wider variety of non-military responses to Chinas efforts to control the South China Sea, and more effectively build a local coalition to support these responses. Even then, the countrys division between royalists and red-shirts will likely endure. China perceives Vietnam as an obstacle for acquiring its control over this strategic sea. Tackling these issues will be tricky for the United States, as many of the elites that benefit from corruption will be those with whom Washington must work to deepen ties, but this is a long-term effort worth pursuing. Final Thoughts & Looking Towards the Future. It will always have an eye on the need to protect itself against attack from the sea, but there's much more to China's vulnerability than potential invasion or bombardment. April 26, 2016 There is widespread interest in the rising tensions over the waters east of China. The post-war regional order. With Burma internationally isolated for much of the past three decades, Beijing invested heavily in that countrys leadership. India is training crews for Vietnams new Kilo-class submarines and will sell Vietnam BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles. Recent satellite analysis by the Center for Strategic and International Studies shows that Chinese fishing fleets are engaged in paramilitary work on behalf of the state rather than the commercial enterprise of fishing, the organization reported. To counter China's efforts to control the South China Sea, the United States needs a sustainable strategy to bolster its own capabilities, work more effectively with capable allies and partners, and strengthen the regional order. No other state in the region can match this increase in projection and rival China due to the economic differences. U.S. access to the military facilities on the South China Seas southern flank, however, would shift the regions balance of power in Americas favor. She also observed that the sea-lanes through the South China Sea constituted a global commons not subject to sovereign claims by any nation. 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