Neither Japan nor US Can Challenge China’s South China Sea DominancePosted: June 20, 2017
Western media Reuters is unhappy that the US cannot force China to accept Hague arbitration award that makes China’s nine-dash line illegal.
China challenged the US with war in safeguarding its rights and interests in the South China Sea and has thus forced the US to give up. That was the greatest event in Asia because if China’s right on the nine-dash line cannot be challenged, according to the nine-dash line, the South China Sea is in fact China’s lake.
I have pointed out in my previous posts that China succeeds due to its win-win economic cooperation with ASEAN resulting in mutual dependence between China and ASEAN while the US fails because it relies only on military approaches.
Former US President Obama indeed tried economic approach and did have an agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership signed. However his successor President Trump has withdrawn from TPP as it is not a win-win cooperation that benefit both the US and other TPP members.
Japanese Prime Minister regards containing China as his top priority. Though TPP cannot bring much benefit to Japan, it does not matter as long as it can contain China. He visited Trump shortly before and after Trump took office to try hard to persuade Trump in vain not to withdraw from TPP.
Abe has tried to rescue TPP to have it without the US but Japan does not have enough economic influence to do so.
Japan has developed quite close economic relations with ASEAN for the purpose of marketing its goods there. However, it has failed to open Japanese market sufficiently in return. Like what the US did in TPP, Japan’s cooperation with ASEAN is again not win-win cooperation. Japan is less able than the US to reduce ASEAN’s economic dependence on China.
Japan, though much weaker than the US, tries military approaches that US has failed.
That is certainly a doomed approach but Reuters shows its happiness on that in its report “Southeast Asia officers board Japanese ship for South China Sea tour” yesterday. It says, “Southeast Asian military officers have embarked on a four-day tour of the South China Sea on the Japanese navy’s Izumo helicopter carrier in the latest sign Japan is stepping up efforts to counter growing Chinese influence.”
The ranks of those Southeast Asian officers are not even high enough to mention in the report raising the question: Is Japan’s move worth mentioning?
Reuters believes that it is worth mentioning especially because Japan is going to sell weapons to Southeast Asian countries.
Creating tension between China and ASEAN will not only contain China but also enable Japan to make windfall profits by selling weapons. What a wise strategy? However, is ASEAN so stupid as to allow Japan undermine its relations with China and thus suffer economically?
Are Japanese weapons advanced and cheap enough to compete with Russia and China?
Japan is not rich enough to subsidize ASEAN’s purchases of its weapons.
Anyway Reuters is happy that at least someone is doing something. It was happy that the US conducted a freedom of navigation operation near a Chinese artificial island, but was disappointed that US government said that the operation was but one of such operations the US is conducting all over the world. It is not specifically directed at China.
Japan is only sending a warship to sail in the South China Sea. It has no plan to sail near any Chinese island to challenge China. That is no big deal at all. Nothing to make Reuters happy! The truth remains that South China Sea is China’s lake and Japanese military dare not challenge that.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-asean-defense-idUSKBN19A0ZT.