China Gives the US Clear Signal It Owns Vast Areas of South China SeaPosted: June 10, 2017
China’s nine-dash line is to some extent vague in meaning: Does it mean that the area within it is China’s territorial waters? If so, shall other respect the status of the areas as China’s territorial waters?
In fact the disputes over the areas with China’s neighbors are in essence for the rich fish and energy resources there. As China is willing to share with other claimants and its military dominates the area, other claimants have stopped significant protest against China’s claim.
US military, however, has tried but failed to force China to accept Hague arbitration award that utterly denies China’s sovereignty and interests in the area as China responded with the stance to fight a war to defend its sovereignty and interests.
US military is unable to fight as the US does not want to fight for other countries’ interests. Moreover, China has geographical advantages there. US president does not want to fall in the trap of a war that the US can extricate without losing face. US retreat from Iraq and Afghanistan has already been tricky enough.
That has caused Southeast Asian countries to lose confidence in the US. Even US long-term ally the Philippines has switched to Chinese side.
US military is always willing to take risk and as always, it wants to save face.
In addition, it is strategic illiterate so that it almost always enter a war without calculation whether it has enough factors to win the war.
Moreover, neither US military nor politicians know that they have to set a clear and definite strategic goal when they enter a war. If it is clear that they cannot achieve the goal, they have to stop immediately.
For them to save face is much more important. They knew they were losing but still sent US boys to be killed and wounded by their enemy in Vietnam as they wanted to retreat without losing face. Their face is more important than US boys’ life.
China, however, has followed its gifted strategist Sun Tze’s teachings for more than 2,000 years. It set its strategic goal of forcing Vietnamese military to retreat from Cambodia before invading Vietnam. As soon as it realized that it could not achieve that goal, it retreated within weeks with the excuse that it but wanted to teach Vietnam a lesson. However, everybody outside China knows that China lost the war. China lost face in the world but it did not care. Its boys’ life is much more important than its face.
US military certainly will not willingly give up. It keeps on freedom of navigation operations though few and far between and now even sent its advanced stealth bombers to conduct military drill in the South China Sea to show its muscles there.
That gives China the opportunity to give the signal that it owns the area.
In its report titled “China says it is vigilant as two U.S. bombers fly over South China Sea” yesterday, Reuters quotes Chinese Defense Military as saying in a statement, “China always maintains vigilance and effective monitoring of the relevant country’s military activities in the South China Sea”. Reuters says the relevant country refers to the United States.
What is US response?
Reuters says in the report, “The latest exercise was part of Pacific Command’s ‘continuous bomber presence’ program, but it did not give details on where it was conducted, and did not refer to it as a freedom-of-navigation operation.”
US Pacific Command did not give details of the location of the exercise. It obviously did not want to openly challenge China’s sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea.
In fact, that is the present situation there. The US conducts limited challenge and China conducts limited response. Even if there is a dramatic incident such as the crash between Chinese and US warships or warplanes, there will be no war because neither American politicians nor people want it.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-usa-southchinasea-idUSKBN1900YY