By Steve Herman and Shen Hua
American experts and investors are closely watching political, military and economic developments in the South China Sea. Some observers are worried that China’s territorial claims and activities in the area could lead to a war. But other people disagree.
This week, China and the United States exchanged strong words about Chinese efforts to build and develop islands in the South China Sea. Chinese crews have been creating airfields on what was, until recently, underwater land.
A week ago, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter criticized China’s actions. He accused Chinese officials of being “out of step” with international values.
“There should be an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by all claimants. We also oppose any further militarization of disputed features. We all know there‘s no military solution to the South China Sea disputes.”
He also made it clear that the U.S. would not recognize any Chinese attempt to declare a 22-kilometer territorial sea limit around disputed islands or coral reefs.
At a conference in Singapore, a top Chinese military official defended his country’s efforts to develop the South China Sea. He called the work, “justified, legitimate and reasonable.”
Another official, Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo criticized Secretary Carter’s comments about new sea limits as “groundless.”
“The freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is not at all an issue because the freedom has never been affected.”
Expert and investor warn of larger conflict
Gordon Chang wrote a book called “The Coming Collapse of China.” He says the South China Sea could become what he calls the next “Great War Zone.”
Mr. Chang spoke recently at a meeting of the U.S. Air Force Association, a private group. He said the United States will soon answer China’s actions in the South China Sea.
In his words, “the U.S. Navy is clearly going to test China’s claims of exclusion of the South China Sea.” He said the United States has to do so. He noted that for the past 200 years, U.S. officials have defended the right of ships to sail freely in international waters. He said China is now testing that policy.
Read full story at: Will South China Sea Dispute Cause a World War?
With China's aggressive move of establishing a military base in the disputed islands, it may have thought it is a strategic move on its part. But in the end, when the time comes, China would bitterly regret its action because it shall cause so many things to come together like never before and go against China. If China pursues its intention to the end, it shall turn out to be another of China's costliest military blunder.
China maybe lacking genuine allies, but with its remarkably increasing economic and military powers, China's stubborn determination has been boosted. And by establishing a combined naval and air base in that particular island, China's military planners and strategists may have thought they are as if building a very formidable and largest unsinkable aircraft carrier. It may be true, but what they are building could also become the largest stationary sitting duck target that is so difficult and so costly for China to maintain and defend.
Before it would be too late, perhaps it would be wise for China to reconsider the ways it is taking in the pursuit of its [hidden] interest in the said islands. This group of small islands are supposed to be blessings to all concerned. That particular group of islands should not supposed to be a casue for dispute and severing of ties and ruining of good relations between nations. We must believe that there must be a way to settle this misunderstanding peacefully. Let the nations openly find common interests and let them willingly cooperate among themselves to jointly achieve their goals as a team -- instead of "squabbling to death" against one another.
We call on people of good will to pray and to please help settle this pressing international issue.
King of peace we lift up to you our pleas. Grant, in the hearts and minds of the nations' leaders, genuine humility, wisdom, and understanding. Provide them Your Holy Spirit's guidance as they search for the right way to settle this pressing international concern. Let this issue, instead of creating barriers of misunderstanding, build bridges of cooperation among nations. Let this challenge be a great opportunity for nations to reestablish and strengthen good relations. Let no nation take unfair advantage against its co-nations, but rather let the nations compete in doing good to one another. And at the end of all this challenge, let the spirit of peace that brings cooperation, good relations, and inclusive prosperity among nations be the more important thing the nations shall gain, greater than what their common and individual interests can give.
To our fellow Asian nations: China is a big brother. We must find the way into his heart so that he becomes not a big bully but a caring big brother. We want to support a big brother China become a world power and a force for good, not a world power that is stepping on every small country. A big brother who not only looks after his own prosperity but will also help us grow and prosper together as brother nations.