Jumat, 24 Juli 2020

Nanda: U.S. plans to resist China’s aggression in South China Sea unclear - The Denver Post

sea.indah.link

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signaled a shift in U.S. foreign policy as he issued a statement on July 13, terming “completely unlawful” Beijing’s claims to offshore resources in the South China Sea and “its campaign of bullying to control them.” He warned China that “the world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire,” and asserted that “America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign right to offshore resources . . . and [we] reject any push to impose ‘might makes right’ in the South China Sea or the wider region.” So far so good. But it is not clear what tangible steps the U.S. will take to deter China’s aggressive actions as it seeks hegemony in the region.

Consider the following actions by China since March as the world has been preoccupied with combating the coronavirus. In April, a Chinese Coast Guard vessel rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat near the Paracel Islands, claimed by Vietnam to be under its sovereignty. Also, in April and May, a  Malaysian oil exploration vessel contracted by the state energy company, Petronas, in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), was involved in a month-long standoff with a Chinese survey ship, escorted by Coast Guard and Maritime Militia vessels.

Beijing announced in March that it was building two new research stations on artificial islands on disputed reefs, and in April, it established two new administrative districts covering the Paracels, in an area claimed by Vietnam.

China claims the bulk of the South China Sea, invoking the “Nine-Dashed Line,” an artificial demarcation line overlapping the exclusive zone of several nations – Brunei, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam – that also claim sovereignty there. Nearly one-third of all global maritime trade passes through the South China Sea.

Pompeo specifically aligned the U.S. position with the 2016 ruling of the International Court of Arbitration, awarding the Philippines sovereignty over waters and islands within its EEZ, while rejecting China’s maritime claims as having no basis under international law. Earlier, the U.S. had not taken a position on the merits. The irony is that the U.S. is not even a party to the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention.

The U.S. has four potential options: First, Pompeo’s statement may simply be a rhetorical exercise, which the U.S. can ill-afford, as it would further lose its credibility in the international arena. Second, although the Chinese denounced the U.S. intervention as coming from a state out of the region and a “troublemaker” sowing discord in the region, the statement may be designed to galvanize international diplomatic pressure in rejection of China’s “unlawful” actions under international law, and compel China to moderate its aggressive posture. It might also embolden the claimant countries in the region to resist China’s moves.

Third, the U.S. could use sanctions against Chinese companies involved in supporting China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea, such as island-building and other unlawful activities. The day after Pompeo’s statement, when asked whether the U.S would consider sanctions, the assistant secretary of state David Stilwell responded that, “Nothing’s off the table.” The President could impose sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to meet an extraordinary threat to U.S. national security. And finally, the U.S. could come to the aid of its allies and partners, defending their rights to fish and drill for oil and gas in the disputed areas.

Since Pompeo’s statement, China’s air force has held live-fire drills and sent more fighter jets to its base on disputed Woody Island in the South China Sea. The U.S. Navy has also stepped up its freedom of navigation operations and drills in the region.

Of course, neither country wants war, but in light of naval exercises by both China and the U.S., the potential for miscalculation cannot be ruled out.

Ved Nanda is Distinguished University Professor and director of the Ved Nanda Center for
International Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. His column appears the last
Sunday of each month and he welcomes comments at vnanda@law.du.edu.

The Link Lonk


July 25, 2020 at 12:31AM
https://ift.tt/3jMyYdI

Nanda: U.S. plans to resist China’s aggression in South China Sea unclear - The Denver Post

https://ift.tt/2CoSmg4
Sea
Share:

0 Comments:

Posting Komentar