International voices: 'US needs to throw a shoulder into China’s plans'

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A Chinese coast guard vessel in the area near a giant oil rig that China illegally positioned in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone. Photo: Doc Lap A Chinese coast guard vessel in the area near a giant oil rig that China illegally positioned in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone. Photo: Doc Lap

“China’s harassment of civilian targets, positioning and posturing of military assets, and use of paramilitaries in the South China Sea reveals that China is choosing to defeat American military power by ignoring it: strategic asymmetry. China has created a military strategy that functions independent of how much military force America forward deploys. (…)

China is using this seam in perception to bypass U.S. strategies of deterrence. The U.S. responds to China’s military buildup and growing arsenal of asymmetric weaponry—but this is only part of China’s strategy. U.S. deterrence is braced for the impact of an approaching shadow: the shadow of China jumping right over it. The U.S. needs to stand up and throw a shoulder into China’s plans.”

U.S. Navy surface warfare officer Matthew Hipple said in his editorial "China: Leap-Frogging U.S. Deterrence in the Pacific" posted on the War on the Rocks news website.

“With $5 trillion worth of sea-borne trade passing through Asia’s Cauldron, Beijing claiming 90% of South China Sea is a direct threat to the very concept of the maritime commons in which all nations benefit from. If Beijing were to overturn the almost timeless concept that oceans are not national territory but part of the commons all nations are free to utilize, a dangerous precedent would be set. Who is to say Beijing would not enact such a precedent again (think East China Sea) or that other nations in other parts of the world would use such a trend to their own advantage (think Russia in the Arctic). All nations who value the global commons share a stake in seeing them survive Beijing’s latest challenge. No map or otherwise should be allowed to chip away at something so important.”

 Harry J. Kazianis, Managing Editor of the National Interest and a non-resident WSD fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in a piece published on the website of Britain’s University of Nottingham. 

 “It is extremely puzzling that while China is convinced the disputed areas in the South China Sea are Chinese territories, it has not yet made public the basis of its claims. It just says that the islands historically belonged to China.

In 1935, a nationalist Chinese government map investigating committee brought out a publication claiming nearly all the islands in the South China Sea as Chinese territory.

Prior to this no Chinese map had showed these islands as belonging to China. During the second world war, Japan invaded Southeast Asia and claimed all these islands to be Japanese.

After Japan surrendered, the nationalist government claimed all the islands, according to the Potsdam Declaration.

In 1947, the nationalist government published a map with an 11-dash line and declared that all territories within the line were Chinese. This declaration by the nationalist administration was never recorded by any international organization or recognized by any country.

In 1953, the People’s Republic of China changed the 11-dash line into a nine-dash line, and claimed the area inside those lines to be Chinese.

China is now a superpower. It needs to conduct itself in a way that garners respect from other countries, rather than fear due to its economic and military might.

If China wants to be a respected superpower, the only way to settle these territorial disputes is by international arbitration.

If China tries to use strong-arm tactics, it may win territories, but it will be a hated superpower and Chinese people, on the mainland and living overseas, will be made to fear for their physical well-being when traveling to or living in countries that have disputes with Beijing.”

Chinese resident Alex Woo wrote in a letter posted in the Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post print edition.

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