China and the United States may be criticizing each other a lot lately, especially when it comes to the tricky issue of the South China Sea. Nevertheless, the two countries find time to share a laugh or two.
That is exactly what happened when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered his remarks at the National Museum in Beijing last Tuesday. There was laughter and applause because Kerry professed he was willing to trade his speech “for more singing.”
During this moment, he was surrounded by Yale University’s Spizzwinks and Xinhua University’s very own acapella singers. At that moment, it seemed that that the two countries can remain working together in harmony. But until the dispute along the South China Sea is settled, it is likely that China and the U.S. will just keep bruising each other’s ego and then make nice afterwards.
South China Sea Conflict
During a round of press statements, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi had reiterated that Beijing hopes the U.S. will keep its promise and not take sides when it comes territorial disputes along the South China Sea.
Moreover, it also hoped that the U.S. would “take concrete and constructive steps to uphold peace and stability” in the said area.
In response, Secretary Kerry affirmed that the U.S. “does not take position on the sovereignty of any of the land features in the South China Sea.” Nonetheless, Washington is urging all territory claimants to exercise restraint.
As the two sides walk away from talks, it also seems that the U.S. had established an understanding with China when it comes to the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. As Kerry confirmed, “We discussed the need to fully implement the declaration on the code of conduct in the South China Sea.”
It remains to be seen if another ‘incident‘ along the South China Sea will ensue following these high-level talks.