Mark Collins – US to Test China’s South China Sea Claims: How Much?

Further to this post,

Dragon Admiral: It’s the “South China Sea” so it’s, er, Chinese


things could easily get scarily out hand:

1) The Chinese:

China navy calls for United States to reduce risk of misunderstandings

China hopes the United States can scale back activities that run the risk of misunderstandings, and respect China’s core interests [i.e. do not challenge us], the Defense Ministry on Thursday [Oct. 1] cited a senior Chinese naval commander as saying.

Each country has blamed the other for dangerous moves over several recent incidents of aircraft and ships from China and the United States facing off in the air and waters around the Asian giant.

Last year the Pentagon said a Chinese warplane flew as close as 20 to 30 feet (7 to 10 m) from a U.S. Navy patrol jet and did a barrel roll over the plane.

The Pacific is an important platform for cooperation, Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, told Admiral Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.

The prerequisite for win-win cooperation is mutual trust,” Sun said, according to China’s Defense Ministry.

“(We) hope the U.S. side can pay great attention to China’s concerns, earnestly respect our core interests, avoid words and actions that harm bilateral ties, and reduce activities which cause misunderstandings or misjudgments,” he added.

The two officials were meeting in Hawaii on the sidelines of a gathering of Asia-Pacific defense officials.

The comments came as one of the U.S. Navy’s most advanced aircraft carriers docked in Japan at the start of a deployment that will strengthen the capability of the Seventh Fleet in Asia and boost ties between the United States and its closest regional ally.

Last week, the United States announced pacts with China on a military hotline and rules governing airborne encounters, which seek to lessen the chance of an accidental flare-up between the two militaries, despite tension in the South China Sea.

China last month said it was “extremely concerned” about a suggestion by a top U.S. commander that U.S. ships and aircraft should challenge China’s claims in the South China Sea by patrolling close to artificial islands it has built…

 

2) The Americans and that “challenge”:

In South China Sea, a Tougher U.S. Stance
Rejecting China’s “Great Wall of Sand,” the U.S. Navy will patrol near man-made islands constructed by Beijing.

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The United States is poised to send naval ships and aircraft to the South China Sea in a challenge to Beijing’s territorial claims to its rapidly-built artificial islands, U.S. officials told Foreign Policy.

The move toward a somewhat more muscular stance follows talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington last month, which fell far short of a breakthrough over how territorial disputes should be settled in the strategic South China Sea.


A final decision has not been made. But the Obama administration is heavily leaning toward using a show of military might after Chinese opposition ended diplomatic efforts to halt land reclamation and the construction of military outposts in the waterway. The timing and details of the patrols — which would be designed to uphold principles of freedom of navigation in international waters — are still being worked out, Obama administration and Pentagon officials said.


It’s not a question of if, but when [emphasis added],” said a Defense Department official.


The move is likely to raise tensions with China. But U.S. officials have concluded that failing to sail and fly close to the man-made outposts would send a mistaken signal that Washington tacitly accepts Beijing’s far-reaching territorial claims…



Oh oh.  Very relevant:

The Dragon, The US Navy and the South China Sea

Dragon Re-Writing International Law for South China Sea



The Asian Maritime Cockpit, Eagle vs Dragon Section


The Asian Maritime Cockpit, Eagle vs Dragon Section, Pacific Pivot Indeed

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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