Written by Euronews
China has started to build man-made islands in South China Sea, a large maritime area shared by Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam. These nations are claiming parts of South China Sea as their own, even as China slowly encroaches on their territory.
This has led to the increase of US air and sea patrols to reassure their allies in Asia and to contain the expanding of Chinese influence. These patrols have resulted in near-misses between Chinese and American ships, such as in 2013 when USS Cowpen nearly collided with Chinese warships.
Experts are claiming that the chance of war between China and the US has increased dramatically. Some, such as Graham Allison, even say it’s inevitable.
We believe this is a flawed view. The US and China have cooperated many times in the past couple of years to combat terrorism, piracy, and environmental degradation. The UN, as flawed as it may seem, can help to resolve conflicts without war.
When the International Court of Arbitration found that the Chinese had no claim on the nine-dash line and sided with the Philippines on South China Sea maritime claim, the Chinese ignored the rulings and continued their island building exercise. However, the Philippines, the US, and the rest of the international community has used the ruling as a legal basis to criticize the Chinese actions. That led President Xi in 2017 to meet with the Philippines President and compromised to share resources in the South China Sea and allow Philippine’s fishing boats into the area.
This is a good example of how China, despite its power and influence, had to give into UN’s ruling. They had to compromise because of international pressure and they did it without resorting to violence. Those who are shouting that war is inevitable are blind to an alternative perspective on how international bodies resolves conflicts.
Yes, China and the US are playing games in South China Sea, but that doesn’t mean the world is more or less dangerous.