South China Sea Ruling Intensifies China’s Arms Race with the US

China offers talks. Photo from SCMP's report

China offers talks. Photo from SCMP’s report

When China realized that the US aimed at attacking China when it began its pivot to Asia, China began its arms race with the US. I have quite a few posts on the arm race since then (see my posts “CHINA STEPS UP ITS NAVY BUILDUP” on January 29, 2012, “A NEW ERA OF ENMITY BETWEEN CHINA AND AMERICA” on February 7, 2012, “The beginning of a new Cold War: On Putin’s Beijing visit” on June 6, 2012, “Arms Craze: Aircraft Carrier Style takes off in China” on November 27, 2012, “Arms Race between China and America” on March 5, 2013”, etc.).

Due to China’s arms race with the US, China has developed lots of anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles and built seven artificial islands to prevent the US from attacking it with its aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines.

However, the arms race is not intensive enough as China has not allocated as large a proportion of its funds as the US does to its military budget. As the US is threatening China with its warships in the South China Sea in order to force China to respect the arbitration ruling and give up its interests in the South China Sea, China has to greatly intensify the arms race in order not to be bullied by the US.

SCMP has the vision to see that in its report “South China Sea: ‘provocative US action’ could prompt faster Chinese military build-up” i.e. intensified arms race.

China differs with the US in following its gifted strategist Sun Tzu’s teaching to put diplomacy before military in subduing the enemy. Therefore, while developing its military, “China has called for fresh dialogue with the Philippines to resolve their South China Sea disputes following the landmark ruling by an international court on Tuesday”, says SCMP in another report titled “China calls for fresh talks with Philippines to resolve South China Sea disputes after UN ruling”.

China is more skillful in diplomacy. US President Obama had a summit with ASEAN leaders and had them agreed to “(s)hared commitment to peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes”. (See paragraph 7 of their joint statement.)

It means ASEAN leaders will follow the US in telling China to respect the ruling of the arbitration submitted by the Philippines. However when the ruling came out on July 12, no ASEAN member has done that. Why? Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has persuaded ASEAN members not to share US commitment in his meeting with his ASEAN counterparts. (See my post “China Makes ASEAN Refrain from Asking It to Respect Arbitration Award” on June 16, 2016.)

Even the Philippines has refrained from asking China to respect the arbitration ruling so as to dismantle the artificial islands that China has built and that are regarded by the ruling as illegal. Nor has it told China to withdraw its navy and coast guards ships to allow Philippine fishermen to fish near Scarborough shoal.

On the contrary, SCMP says in another report titled “How will Philippines and China move on after South China Sea ruling?”, “Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay has rejected suggestions he issue a strong statement against China if the decision went Manila’s way. He also said the country was willing to share natural resources with Beijing in the South China Sea area even if it wins the tribunal case next week and that the Philippines will seek to launch talks with China ‘as soon as possible’”.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s reports, full text of which can be viewed respectively at (“South China Sea: ‘provocative US action’ could prompt faster Chinese military build-up”), (“China calls for fresh talks with Philippines to resolve South China Sea disputes after UN ruling”) and (“How will Philippines and China move on after South China Sea ruling?”)


8 Comments on “South China Sea Ruling Intensifies China’s Arms Race with the US”

  1. simon says:

    Western media receive their script book from Washington

    They brainwash their people with these false facts

    1. repeating the phrase that it is legally binding
    2. keep calling the arbitration as ” international court in Hague”
    3.The decision had invalidate China 9 dash line
    4. China would violate international law if they ignore it
    5. Many nation are asking China to respect the ruling
    6.The decisions are very significant.
    7.China action – militarization, island building , exploitation of resources is illegal.

    The truth is that
    1. this is not a court. It is an private arbitration (pay by Philippine side)
    2. this is not international law. It is a ruling.
    3.It is not legally binding if One party refuse to agree.
    4.China did not submit legal evidence or legal argument , how do Arbitrator able to make their conclusion that China have no legal basis in their claim.
    5.Island building, militarization dont violate UNCLOS provision. They cant cite any relevant provision.


  2. Fu Man-Chu says:


    The current state of play in the South China Sea is not much different from the U.S.’s occupation of islands in the Pacific – Guam, Wake, Kwajalin, Gilbert islands, Santa Cruz, Iwo Jima, Marshall Islands, etc. … when faced with an aggressive enemy. China is in the same situation because of an aggressor called America. It is in an actual state of war and as such, being threatened with a country which seeks to contain and beseige China, it MUST make similar strategic and counter moves and positionings to avoid vulnerabilities and thus being checkmated and annihilated if a war is declared or a first shot fired.

    All the current brouhaha is but Washington’s attempt to checkmate Beijing at all times. This cannot be and all Chinese and even other East Asians should and stand against such U.S. imperialistic behaviour and threats to their national security. Not only that, we are NOT being treated as equals but less; Seen as slave races who works, and encouraged, to work for cents to the hour. Should we allow ourselves to be kept down and contained in that manner?

    The other point that perhaps need be made is the question – What was the key ingredient that enabled the Americans to defeat the Japanese? Unlike the Russians which displayed great experience and skills, the America’s forte is their ability to improvise technically as they battle along during the war. Such as for example, fitting radars to their planes where there were none before. So here I am thinking, if a war comes between China and America, how capable are the Chinese in improving technically or technologically in the course of the war to gain an advantage over the enemy each time they meet. China will not win of it is unable to do that in the long run.


  3. Fre Okin says:

    China should quickly Pivot To US militarily, first with the cheapest practical way with dozens of UUV’s like the Haiyan semi submersibles and the new China’s Stealth Anti-ship, Anti-sub, Mine-sweeper Drone Boat. Let USN Know China practise Freedom of Navigation off US Coasts, They are there, off Hawaii, off California to make US Feel Vulnerable. Later do on East Coast. Even cheapest disposable low grade version to cruise near Guam and Okinawa to collect intel. Let USN realise China have Swarms of ‘nuisance’ UUV’s that can act as Suicide Bombers. This is cheapest way to force the Pentagon to De Pivot From Asia. Great psychological harassment tool!


    • Steve says:

      Well Said, but the problem is land base which China is lacking in the Pacific, even those drones and submersibles are limited in duration of its operation. The US can easily counter swamp China’s Pivot. Without land base, sailors on board their warships for three months could be very stressful. The US pivot in Asia are well supported by Guam, Japan, Sth Korea and Philippines. In PH alone the US has been granted five military bases plus more. The US can rest their littoral combat ships in Singapore.


      • Fre Okin says:

        What is important is to show China can do Freedom Of Navigation near US coastlines. It does not need to be long duration. a week perhaps. Just like China do navy sailings around Japan to show her displeasure, China should be able to bring along maybe 3-6 ships to sail towards Hawaii to start, and West Coast later to test driver her UUV’s and drone ships like US ACTUS. Takes about ten days to Hawaii, two weeks to California. Replenishment ship needed if going to California.

        Why let US play in China’s frontyard and not do the same to her? It won’t be very expensive to make a statement that China can position her drone navy assets close to US coastlines. Besides they are very useful to track US subs which will naturally be following the Chinese ships, so this is a great way to learn more about their strength and vulnerabilities.


        • Steve says:

          My only concern is China’s Naval vulnerabilities so far from home and close to enemy territory. The timing is just not right and geographical advantages is almost Zero. China is developing its military doctrine and need at least another decade. Within China’s A2/AD in the SCS and ECS, China is well prepared.


  4. Simon says:

    Before the 2012 Scarborough Shoal stand-off China and Phillipines share the fishing ground around it but Filipino navy unilaterally and illegally detained Chinese fishing boat and arrest the crew for trespassing and theft. This resulted in Chinese naval action and Phillipine lost Scarborough Shoal and all fishing rights near it. The Hague ruling, albeit illegal, suggest Chinese fishermen along with Fillipino fishermen have rights to fish there. This suggest to me the action of the Phillipine arrest of Chinese fishermen in 2012 was illegal even for the Hague ruling. Under president Aquino the Phillipines resisted negations with China about sharing of resources in SCS, it now welcome to share resources with China as a junior partner which is what China wanted.
    China does not have to and will no abide by the illegal arbitration and is the position retained when dealing with the Phillipines and the Americans who also must now respect China’s 12 miles exclusive zones since the Hague ruling did not contest Chinese sovereignty over the islands.