In the article above Bloomberg titled “A Warm War in the South China Sea”, retired Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Commander of allied NATO forces, said he spends most of his career in the sea. I live in the Pacific and have been through the South China Sea many times. Mr. James said that “at the bottom of the East Sea is an oil and natural gas field” and “nearly 40% of international transport activity passes through this sea.”
“China has made false claims to much of the South China Sea. As relations between the United States and China deteriorated as the two countries continued to attack each other because of the Covid-19 pandemic and in the context of the US election year, the possibility of conflicts in the South China Sea increased. “, former US Admiral said.
According to former Admiral James Stavridis, honorary principal of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Foreign Affairs, in recent weeks a number of US warships, including USS Barry – the destroyer he had commanded in the early 1990s. , confronted Chinese ships during patrols.
Why has the South China Sea become a hot spot, and what can be done to avoid an incident that could potentially lead to a larger conflict?
Former Admiral James Stavridis said the historical basis for China to make a claim in the South China Sea stems from Admiral Trinh Hoa’s voyages in the 15th century. James once wrote about the Admiral in the book. His recent “Sailing True North”.
The former US Admiral said that every time he met his Chinese counterparts during port visits, they honored Admiral Zheng He. Admiral Trinh Hoa’s expeditions in the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, as well as the seas in Africa and Arab have all become legendary.
“But that is not a legal basis for China to recognize the entire South China Sea as its home pond. This argument of China has been rejected by all states along the East Sea and the international tribunal, ”Mr. James said.
According to the former US Admiral, in order to repel China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, the US Navy has conducted patrols to ensure freedom of navigation, to show that this is international waters.
“These patrols can lead to stress. A few dozen years ago, when I was leading a group of destroyers in this sea, some of my ships were on similar missions. These missions include navigating waters claimed by China, which is today an area of Chinese-built artificial islands and militarized by deploying missiles, runways, and guns. far away and soldiers, ”Mr. James added.
“China often flies planes above destroyers (US). These aircraft sometimes only fly a few dozen meters from the bow of the American ship. Or they could dispatch escort boats and destroyers to challenge US warships. Activities (of China) may include signaling and signaling of threats via radio waves, pointing accurate fire control radars at our ships, targeting missiles and guns aimed at forces. US volume and close to American ships at a dangerous distance, ”recalled the former US Admiral.
In the face of these situations, former Admiral James Stavridis often asked the commander of the American destroyers to stay calm, avoid unnecessary confrontation and constantly report the situation to him, while he also reported Report to the superiors.
“It was always a stressful experience. My team and I often breathe a sigh of relief every time our ships complete the mission, ”said James.
The former US Admiral said that in recent patrols, the USS Barry and another destroyer, Bunker Hill, had encountered Chinese ships, but they avoided tensions escalating. These incidents will continue to blow up tensions in US-China relations and may repeat more frequently in the coming years.
In the interview with Fox News On May 19, Reed Werner, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Southeast Asia, said there were “at least” nine disturbing incidents involving Chinese fighters and airplanes. has flown the United States in the airspace above the South China Sea since mid-March. A US defense official said Business Insider that some of the encounters between US and Chinese planes were unsafe.
China’s provocative acts do not stop in the air. Werner said a Chinese escort accompanying the country’s aircraft carrier task force had moved “unsafe and unprofessional” near the USS Mustin guided missile destroyer in the US. South China Sea in April.
The “key” of America
According to James, US warships have now found a way to balance the confrontation and harassment of Iranian ships in the Gulf, so they need to do the same in the South China Sea – where the US has many more benefits.
“The key for the US is to gradually adjust Chinese behavior without disrupting international relations in a way that could lead to a Cold War or armed conflict. The best way to do it is to involve more international allies in patrols to ensure freedom of navigation (including NATO partners with Australia and Japan), to increase US engagement with Taiwan, especially Special military cooperation, resolutely carried out a comprehensive international investigation of the outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan, building a stronger relationship with other countries along the East Sea “, former Admiral James Stavridis said.
According to Mr. James, these “confrontation” measures should be accompanied by a series of proposals to cooperate with China. These proposals may include subsequent trade and tariff arrangements for China to gain access to the US market, in addition to the “phase 1” measures negotiated just before the Covid-19 pandemic; cooperation on Arctic trade routes and environmental standards in the region – an area of great interest to Beijing; conducting joint humanitarian activities; cooperation to establish a “code of conduct” between the navies of the two countries (similar to what Russia and the US are doing); Exploit strategic and strategic arms control agreements.
“Basically, we will confront if forced to confront, but still cooperate if we can cooperate. (Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger) warned a few months ago that he realized that the US and China were “at the foothills of a Cold War”. Although I like his metaphorical image of mountains and hills, we also need to look to the sea to assess how this relationship will become tense. Forecast of the East Sea will really stir, ”said former Admiral James Stavridis.