South China Sea has become a source of dispute for the United States and China. Now, several analysts and reports claim that the tensions will likely continue given China’s pride on claiming rights over the region against the supposed “arrogance” of the United States. Will things escalate further?
Previously, the United States dismissed military progression from China saying that the country is not an imminent threat considering its latest carrier. This was in 2013. As Stewart Webb wrote for the Defense Report (via National Interest Organization): “Anonymous sources within the U.S. Navy’s senior command have revealed that the U.S. is not concerned over any immediate threat from the introduction of China’s latest aircraft carrier in the Pacific, the Liaoning.” To a certain extent, this is true especially when considering tactics and short-term thinking in relation to China’s only aircraft carrier, Liaoning.
However, such thinking may seem against what has been happening in the South China Sea. As the report notes, China has been able to claim land features from Vietnam and the Philippines in the Spratly Islands even with American surveillance and alliance. Furthermore, China seems to be playing a long game which American officials and leaders are not equipped for. The publication further noted that the United States still has yet to grasp the full scale of consequences of what China’s actions in the South China Sea can do: take out its presence in the Asia-Pacific.
The Diplomat also highlighted the rising anti-Western bloc formed by Russia and China. While there has yet to be a concrete political-military alliance between Moscow and Beijing, both nations are challenging the Washington’s dominance.
“For China, the U.S. is both a rival and a trading partner. For Russia, the U.S. is a political competitor,” wrote Marcin Kaczmarski. Nonetheless, Russia and China still have different takes on international politics but it cannot be denied that both countries are looking into changing the present international order.