Beijing's delaying strategy on the South China Sea

Pauline Gross
August 13, 2017

American officials told Reuters that the John S. McCain passed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, which is part of the Spratly Islands.

Since the agreement does not specifically mention whether the COC is a legally binding document, it does not seem much different from the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which has failed to prevent tension escalating in the area.

The mission comes as the United States seeks China's cooperation on resolving the tension over North Korea's missile tests, which is perceived in Washington as a serious threat to the U.S. and its regional allies.

Chinese navy guided missile frigates "took immediate action to identify and verify the USA ship, and warned and dispelled it", the Defense Ministry said.

The spokesperson said China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Qundao and its adjacent waters and the recent acts of the USA warships violated global law.

China's Foreign Ministry accused the US Navy of breaking "international laws" in a statement released this afternoon.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says in a statement that the current situation on the Korean Peninsula "is complex and sensitive".

A US Navy destroyer recently sailed near Mischief Reef in the disputed South China Sea in a freedom of navigation operation. China considered this a large concession to the USA, the Guardian said.

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Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said the situation in the South China Sea has "stabilised" because of "joint efforts" of China and neighbouring countries, but the United States operation threatened "peace and stability in the region".

China, which claims virtually the entire South China Sea, routinely protests such operations, which President Donald Trump's administration has continued partly to reassure allies locked in territorial disputes with Beijing.

China claims almost all of the strategically vital sea, through which $5 trillion in annual shipping trade passes and is believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits. For the US, on the other hand, exaggerating the actual threat posed by North Korea is useful to legitimize its increased geostrategic presence in the Pacific, as well as to increase its military support for key allies in the region.

China, Brunei, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims to the South China Sea - one of the most important trade routes in the world.

WE may have begun to see the new foreign policy of the country at work during the just-concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila with the foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, China, and other partner nations.

China on Wednesday expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to Japan's defence white paper for 2017 which accused Beijing of trying to change the status quo in the East and South China Sea based on "its own assertions".

This amounts to an explicit recognition that the Philippines is toeing China's line as ASEAN's chair.

Other reports by GizPress

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