The United States is not sitting idly over the South China Sea dispute. As China reinforces its aggressive ambitions on the disputed region, the United States is also doing a little flexing in an attempt to deter China’s initiatives. Will the US succeed in stopping China?
It has been a back and forth thing wherein the United States warns China about expanding its activities in the South China Sea and vice versa. In the previous week, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter confirmed the Obama administration’s renewed focus over the South China Sea dispute. The defense official introduced new military agreements with the Philippines and India on top of visiting two aircraft carriers. The renewed focus also comes with more reliance on military power to counter China. However, some political analysts think that such moves are a gamble for the United States.
According to Straits Times: “But the new, muscular approach on display during Mr Carter’s tour represents a gamble. While it sends a message that the United States will work with its allies to challenge Beijing’s expanding presence in the disputed South China Sea, it also plays into fears within the Chinese leadership about US efforts to halt China’s rise.”
Furthermore, the report added that once Pentagon steps up its efforts then China may feel to do the same thing. It may accelerate efforts in the region where it already built artificial islands, airstrips and radar system.
According to the New York Times, Obama’s administration may be looking forward to China backing off once it sees American military resurgence. Carter defended also the presence of some of its military forces in the area.
“We have been here for decade upon decade. The only reason that question even comes up is because of what has gone on over the last year, and that’s a question of Chinese behavior,” the official said.
“What’s not new is an American carrier in this region. What’s new is the context and tension that exists, which we want to reduce.”