US Warship Crew May Taste Expensive Chinese Food, Worst CasePosted: October 22, 2016 | |
In its article “Risk of South China Sea conflict could rise after US Navy sail-by, experts say”, SCMP says, “Military and diplomatic observers warned that the risk of military conflict between the two powers (China and the US) could increase should the regional balance of power shift following any strategic realignment by Manila.”
It quotes Renato Cruz De Castro, a fellow at the East-West Centre in Washington and an expert on China and the Philippines as saying, “What Duterte is doing is intensifying tensions between China and the US that have already been heightened … and opening another arena of confrontation between China and the US,” and the US might “light up other fires” if it lost its footing in the Philippines.
However, American people are war weary and do not want to fight a war, especially with a major world power for another country’s interests. China wants peaceful rise. Only when the US is able to create some obstacles to hinder such rise may China take actions to remove the obstacles by force.
Now, the US is unhappy with China’s peaceful rise but unable to stop the rise. China needs and is capable to exploit the energy resources in the South China Sea but it is not so greedy as unwilling to share the resources with other claimants.
Previously, the Philippines tried to pit the US against China so as to have the US support it to exploit the resources alone without sharing with China. It has got an arbitration ruling for that but failed to get US military support to enforce the ruling.
Philippine new president is realistic. He knows that the Philippines wants more urgently than China to exploit the rich energy resources in the sea areas claimed by both China and the Philippines. Without sharing with China, the Philippines is entirely unable to exploit the resources. It has conducted some exploration and found rich oil deposit in the areas around Reed Bank within the exclusive economic zone it claims but also within the nine-dash line claimed by China. Its contractor, a British company, was stopped by China in its operation to exploit the energy there.
If the US sends its navy to enable the Philippines to exploit the energy resources alone, China’s interests will really be injured and there may be real military conflict between China and the US. The US clearly has no intention to do that. It does not interfere even when China sent its coast guard ships to disallow Filipino fishermen to fish in the sea area around Scarborough Shoal.
Why shall China fight when its interests have not been affected by US military?
US navy has only conducted some freedom of navigation operations to show its presence in the South China Sea. Such operations are but postures for the US to show that it remains the dominant military power there.
China must be realistic that such operations do China no harms but to China’s dignity.
China will be stupid if its warships fire at US warship that conducts such operation. If China really wants to deter such operation, it may send some strong ship to crash on US warship, tow the damaged warship with its crew to its shipyard on its artificial island. Then like the Hainan incident, US crew will stay in a luxurious hotel China has built on the island and enjoy very nice Chinese seafood.
Through hard negotiations, China will release the warship and crew but the US has to pay the high costs of the food and accommodation its crew enjoyed on the island.
That will be a negligent amount compared with what the US has paid for the release of its crew from Iran.
Happy ending for both the US and China!
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be found at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2039220/chinese-warships-warn-provocative-us-destroyer-near