How to stop China completing its takeover of the South China Sea

HowChina appears to be accelerating its campaign to control the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Beijing does itself no favours with the highly ambiguous nature of its claims in the region. Its internationally condemned ‘nine-dash line’ sometimes appears to be delineating its claims to the island features within it. More ominously, Beijing sometimes insinuates the line as a maritime delineation, carving out sovereign control of the sea itself as well as the airspace above it.

China’s ongoing militarisation of many artificial features in disputed waters is well known. A less well known, but highly consequential implication of this militarisation is the vastly increased capacity it gives China to project power not only to control the reefs and rocks of the South China Sea, but, in the future, to assert control over the high seas and airspace above it. Beijing is vocal about its opposition to innocent passage and other military activities within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zones.

US, China may ‘stumble’ into conflict in South China Sea, war game scenarios suggest

SMPAs diplomatic relations between China and the US deteriorate to their lowest point since they were established in 1979, a military conflict between the two countries no longer seems a far-fetched possibility.

Their last direct engagement was during the Korean war, from 1950 to 1953, at a time of sparse trade and no diplomatic relations between Beijing and Washington. The spark which set off that confrontation was fear among China’s leadership of a unified Korean peninsula loyal to the US on the doorstep.

China did not enter the conflict – which began with a Soviet-backed invasion of the south – until North Korean forces were pushed back to the Yalu River, which forms the border with China, by a UN-backed force dominated by US troops.

What to Keep From Trump’s Foreign Policy After He’s Gone

TrumpShould the four-year-long polar night of Donald Trump’s presidency come to a definitive end this November, most observers of his catastrophic handling of U.S. foreign policy will rejoice. After all, Trump has done significant damage to America’s national interests—and has done so in a uniquely corrosive way. He has undermined America’s alliances and partnerships while emboldening its adversaries, all in pursuit of an ad hoc, incoherent and personalized foreign policy devoid of strategic planning. Meanwhile, he has overseen domestic shifts that leave the U.S. more closely resembling the foreign nations it has long criticized, backsliding on democratic norms and the rule of law at home, while retreating as an advocate of human rights abroad.

But amid the rejoicing, would there be anything at all about Trump’s handling of foreign policy worth saving? The answer is yes, although not without major adjustments. Four aspects, in particular, stand out, all of which require a more skillful leader to put them to good use. But in its eagerness to close the book on the Trump era, the next administration would do well to avoid the temptation of throwing them out with the rest of the Trump playbook.

No one does more to hurt America and help China than Trump

Trump hasChina’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, says the U.S.-China relationship is at its lowest ebb since the two nations reestablished diplomatic relations in 1979. He blames the United States for a policy that is “fraught with emotions and whims and McCarthyist bigotry.” Meanwhile, many U.S. commentators — not all of them right-wingers — blame China for what is increasingly being described as a new Cold War.

Who’s right? I’d say China is largely to blame for the confrontation — but President Trump is entirely to blame for our self-defeating response.

President Xi Jinping has amassed more power than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, and he is acting more recklessly than China did in the days when it had a collective leadership. Chinese troops clashed in June with Indian forces along their border in the Himalayas. China is redoubling its efforts to assert sovereignty over the South China Sea in violation of international law; its coast guard recently sank a Vietnamese fishing boat in disputed waters. China’s repression of the Uighurs, a Muslim minority, is rising to the level of genocide. And China has trampled on Hong Kong’s autonomy in violation of its 1984 handover agreement with Britain.

U.S. Carriers Send a Message to Beijing Over South China Sea

US carriersFaced with increasingly brazen Chinese efforts to exercise control over the entirety of the South China Sea, the U.S. military is using a series of big aircraft carrier operations to show allies that the United States isn’t about to turn its back on the hotly contested region.

Over the weekend, the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Nimitz sailed into the South China Sea, another challenge to China’s claims of maritime sovereignty in the area that have been consistently challenged by American allies. More than a routine passage of the type meant to assert the right to free navigation, the exercise reportedly included the use of jets, reconnaissance planes, and helicopters, while Chinese sailors held competing drills near the Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

Current and former defense officials worry that China has seized on the coronavirus pandemic to ramp up its efforts to militarize the so-called nine-dashed line, Beijing’s sweeping claim to sovereignty over the vast majority of the South China Sea, a conduit for trillions of dollars in annual trade and a potential motherlode of oil and natural gas.

US rejects China's South China Sea claims and accuses Beijing of a 'campaign of bullying'

US rejects ChinaThe United States has rejected China's claims to offshore resources in most of the South China Sea and accused Beijing of a "campaign of bullying", a move that may further sour the fraught ties between the world's largest two economies.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Monday (local time) that China had offered no coherent legal basis for its ambitions in the South China Sea and for years had been using intimidation against coastal states in the region.

"We are making clear: Beijing's claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them," said Mr Pompeo, a prominent China hawk within the Trump administration.

Can Cam Ranh Bay-Port Blair-Djibouti form a strategic Maritime chain hub to tackle China?

Can Cam Ranh BayThe world at present is grappling with the Global Pandemic Coronavirus, but Chinese maritime security aggressiveness in the East China Sea, South China Sea and off late the Indian Ocean is at an all high. This belligerence and expansionism by China in the international waters is a major cause of concern for most countries. Keeping Chinese aggressiveness in mind, the article tries to suggest a strategic line of maritime hubs which can be called a chain of maritime hubs to tackle China.

This year in April, a Vietnamese fishing vessel in the South China Sea was sunk by a Chinese ship. Viet Nam garnered a lot of support from the United States where the United States State Department “criticised China for ramming and sinking the Vietnamese fishing boat and was seriously concerned about this incident”.

Has China's Rise Peaked?

Has peakedEven though the Western mainstream view is that China is a military and economic dynamo that is quickly leaving America behind, the world may be turning against the Middle Kingdom, and Chinese leadership may be turning to a harsh brand of nationalism as a result. Its recent border clash with India in the high Himalayas and crackdown on free Hong Kong are the most recent manifestations of this.

China's rise as a global economic power, and regional military power, is one of the fastest in history. China has grown faster than America for four straight decades. It has built the industrial and technological foundations for a rapid expansion of its military, to include world-class capabilities in space launch, and its own version of GPS. China's mercantilist economics have taken over entire sectors of other economies, including those of the United States. All this has occurred not just with U.S. acquiescence, but intentional facilitation. America first wanted China as a counterweight to Soviet Russia, and then aggressively helped China to get rich, with the expectation that self-government and democracy would follow in the Middle Kingdom.

US, Vietnam ties have never been better

US VN tiesPanegyrics were expressed all around when the United States and Vietnam marked the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations, a remarkable reconciliatory event between the former bitter adversaries.

Vietnam is now regarded as America’s closest ally in Southeast Asia, while Washington regularly goes out of its way to champion Hanoi and improve its international standing.  

“Today we can sincerely call one another friend and partner,” said US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink on July 11 to commemorate the event, while his Vietnamese counterpart Ha Kim Ngoc returned the gesture by commenting on the “mutual affection” of their peoples.

According to a Pew Research Center, a survey in 2015, 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War, found that 76% of Vietnamese had “favorable” views of the US, which was an even higher 89% among “more highly educated people.” It was one of the highest such percentages of any country included in the poll.

The PCA South China Sea ruling 4 years on: Re-examining its legal aspect

PCA rulingsOn the occasion of the 4th anniversary of the PCA ruling on the Philippines vs. China South China Sea Arbitration, an examination on the legal aspect of this matter is worthwhile.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has explicitly determined four different courts that have the jurisdiction over disputes within the Convention’s framework: the International Court of Justice (ICJ); International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS); a Permanent Arbitral Tribunal constituted in accordance with one of the Annexes of UNCLOS; and a Special Arbitral Tribunal for the settlement of one or more specified disputes (Article 287 – UNCLOS).

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