The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson denounced the United States yesterday as the real perpetrator for the militarisation of the South China Sea. The spokesperson stated that that U.S. frequently sends warships and fighter jets to the South China Sea and repeatedly uses a combination of pressure and incentives to lure their allies and partners to participate in joint military exercises or cruise navigations exclusively in the South China Sea.
On the same day, the Australia media divulged that the U.S. supports Australia to increasingly exercise “freedom of navigation” (in the South China Sea). The U.S. has already provoked China through frequently conducted reconnaissance missions in South China Sea. International media commonly believes that China deployed guided missiles on Yongxing island in response to America。The U.S. expects to be able get together some of its smaller allies to give them impetus but ironically India publicly left the U.S. red faced.
America slapped in the face
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) publicly rejected the U.S.’s proposal for a joint patrol on the Chinese South Sea at a time when the U.S. is trying to create an “arbitration front” on the South China Sea.
The U.S. Department of Defence senior official Wright Hill White has been putting pressure on allies like Australia, EU, Japan, and South Korea to declare their support for the arbitration court on issues related to the South China Sea. Russian expert TK sarcastically noted, “Some advice to Americans: learn to respect international law first, before using it to offer lessons to other countries,”
The “ASEAN-India relations: A new model, new paradigm” forum was held in India a few days ago. At the opening ceremony on February 17, Secretary (East) Anil Wadhwa remarked, “we refused America. There will be no joint patrol on the South China Sea”.
Philippines Star Newspaper reported on February 18 that India’s statement offering clarification followed the U.S. and ASEAN voiced their concerns of militarisation of the South China Sea. But also followed the U.S.’s decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to traditional Indian adversary Pakistan. The MEA stated on February 13, “We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan”. We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism. The US Ambassador will be summoned by the MEA to convey our displeasure”. On the same day that India expressed their statement, Mark Daytona, the U.S. State Department spokesperson, expressed, “At present, there is no plan to for a joint navigation with India”. On February 19 several Indian media publications quoted Sushma Swaraj, Indian Minister of External Affairs, as saying that the developing situation in the South China Sea is a cause for concern for India.
Rumours of a India-U.S. joint patrol arose from a Reuters report on February 10. The report cited an anonymous official from the U.S. DoD who stated that the U.S. and India had a meeting and discussed a joint patrol in the South China Sea. The hope was to get the operation—that will include both the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea— started this year. The report also quoted an Indian official who claimed that the idea of a joint patrol came up following the Indian Defence Minister’s visit and meeting meetings with senior official in Hawaii . The Diplomat publication believes that if one day India does take part in a South China Sea patrol it would indicate a significant change in their East Asia strategy, naval doctrine and cooperation with states. The Hindustan Times reported that The Chinese Foreign Ministry squeezed time from its Spring Festival vacation to send warnings to other states and India.
On a thread on the Philippines Star Newspaper website, netizen Jose Maria de Manila expressed his disappointed and left a message. “If the world does not react immediately against such kind of bold Chinese aggression, similar to Kennedy’s inaction to the Soviet Union’s invasion during the Cuban missile crises, it will be too late. But another netizen Howard2009 responded, “Chinese people would not dare to and would never deploy guided missiles, war crafts, bombers or even aircraft carriers on the borders of U.S. On the contrary, it is the U.S. that has been doing this to China for a long time.
Chen Yixing, from the Research Institute of the Americas at Tamkang University, said in an interview with this journalist “this is a smart move by India”. He also added that India obviously understands that the benefits of having a good relationship with the mainland surpasses the advantages of participating in the joint patrol with the U.S..
At a press conference on February 19, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said that the present state of offairs is that the U.S. is continually deploying military power in the South China Sea. It frequently sending warcrafts to the South China Sea region for reconnaissance missions, as well as guided missile destroyers and strategetic bomber several times in areas close to China’s Nansha islands and reef. They also repeatedly use of pressure and incentives to lure their allies and partners to participate in joint military exercises. Hong Lei emphasised that these operation further aggravate the situation in the South China Sea which results in further militarisation.
An Australian Financial Review commentary divulged that the U.S. government has already told Australia that it will encourage Canberra to dispatch vessels and aircrafts to the controversial islands in the South China Sea. The reported stated that although it is not known if the U.S. made a formal request or not, sources in Washington declared that the Obama government already communicated their point privately and will support Australia’s “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea and air space.
Trees may prefer calm but the wind will not subside
“Navigate or not to navigate, this is a question for Australia’s Prime Minister Turnbull”, stated an article titled ‘Australia is walking on tight rope in the South China Sea’, published on February 19. That article said bold standpoints adopted by Australia will increase the reputation credit of Washington. Beijing does not like that Australia takes an opposite standpoint to Beijing; if they did not take such a stance, together, they could isolate the U.S.. Beijing is continuously taking actions to consolidate its territory and the U.S. wants Australia to take a bolder stance. Australian broadcasting company ABC reported on February 19 that Australia’s Defense Minister Stephen Conroy encouraged that Australian navy vessels to enter within the 12 nautical miles of the controversial areas in the South China Sea.
The DW reported that on February 19 the Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokesperson lodged a formal protested at the UN about China’s missile battery deployment on Paracel island. Even the Philippines which has have territory dispute with China accused it of breaking the “promise of non-militirisation”.
The BBC reported that Japan sent in aircraft P-3 C to Vietnam as well as its maritime SDF dispatched to P-3C to Vietnam for three days. The Two carried out a martime search and Japan sent war ships to assist with the joint-naval tabletop exercise. According to Kyoto news agency, Japan its displaying defence corporation with Vietnam to control China more effectively and create more restraint in the South China Sea while increasing the presence of their own SDF. The BBC reported that China deployed Surface to air missiles in the dispute on sovereignty between China and Phillipines in the South China Sea. The exposure of these missiles may provoke China.
Japanese action goes beyond this. The Nikkei Asian Review disclosed on February 18 that China is deploying surface-air-missiles and that Japan appealed to the U.S. to add more forces in the South China Sea.
Tokyo called on Washington to navigate more in this area and enforce their patrol. As a part of the “freedom of navigation strategy”, American commander Harris of PACOM informed the Japanese officials that America will undertake these actions. Japan’s self defence agency also will continue to positively and actively to find a place for the refuel of their aircrafts both in Vietnam and Philippines. Japan’s patrol aircrafts fly once every 3 months from Africa to Japan. Vietnam and Philippines both have conflicts with Beijing island. In the fiscal year of 2016 Japan’s SDF will land in Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam, which is close to the controversial islands. . The report said that Tokyo wants to make Maritime Security one of the main issues at the G-7 Summit in May this year. However, European countries have little interest in South China Sea issues as Japan is sending out its diplomats to try to garner support towards containing China.
Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily reported on February 19 that while Japan is making making mountains over mole hills in the South China Sea, a Chinese fleet is quietly circling the Japanese archipelago—a warning to Japan not to go too far in its efforts at bullying. The Chinese fleet began its journey on January 26, passing through the Tsushima straight to the east and entering the sea of Japan. Later on February 2 it passed through the Tsugaru Strait straight between Japan, following which it passed the Japanese archipelago Japan, and then passed through Osumi Straight before it returned to the East China Sea. The feet included destroyers, frigates, supply ships and electronic surveillance ships. The route that they crossed was special because it is considered to boldest demonstration of the navigation of Japan in the history by Chinese navy which makes Japan’s military of defence very anxious/nervous.
Why keep company with America?
Cheng yixin said that the final decision of the arbitration tribunal court on the South China controversy will be published in May at the earliest. This decision will be a significant moment for the situation for South China Sea. South China Morning Post said that China may face more challenges following the the decision of arbitration court in the Hague on the demands of Philippines challenging China’s sovereignty,.
In fact, the U.S. is building the frontline to press China. Obama openly appealed to respect the results of arbitration after the American and ASEAN leaders meet this week. The Gulf News quoted Deputy Assistant Minister Hill Wright, from the U.S. DoD, saying that the U.S. and EU and Australia, Japan, Korea, allies, must prepare to be clear and declare that the decision of arbitration court must be observed. If China looses but does not respect the judgement they must pay the price. Hill Wright also appealed to countries such as Philippines and ASEAN to support them. At the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington he claimed that the significant is huge and is binding on all states. Hill Wright alleged that there is a risk of a loss of credibility and that creative ways to increase the cost of China must also be considered. On February 19 the Australian Prime Minister Turnbull and New Zealand PM John Key appealed for all the controversial sides on the South China Sea to practise restraint. Turnbull said that hopes we all settle the claim by international law.
On February 18 Taiwan’s central news agency published a Reuters report which stated that according to the the American Foreign Policy magazine majority of the experts believe that the arbitration result of the court regarding the South China Sea may be partial to the Philippines. At some point, Washington and Beijing will confron each other and the U.S. will have to decide whether to use the force of its navy to enforce the court’s decision.
An International political observer on Russia Today published an article this month named “China and U.S. on South China Sea: which Law of the Sea are we going to use to judge? The article said that the U.S. called on China to observe the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 when in fact the U.S. has never approved the convention. This is very typical American world view, which is that everybody except the U.S. should observe international law. Furthermore, The U.S. is not a signatory to the international court in the Hagu. The article goes on to say that it is of no surprise that Russia, China and other countries are denied the right to competency of the court coerciveness. If the U.S. does not accept the judgement and only wants to judge other people why would we waste our time to accompany such states.
《菲律宾星报》网站上，网民Jose Maria de Manila看上去对此十分失望，留言道，“如果世界不马上做出反应，反对中国这种大胆的侵略，就像肯尼迪在古巴导弹危机中面对苏联入侵那样，届时将为时晚矣”。但另一名网民Howard2009回应说，中国人不敢，也永远不会对美国这么干——部署导弹、战斗机、轰炸机甚至航母到美国家门口，相反，美国长期以来一直对中国人这么干。