To facilitate peace on the Korean Peninsula, North and South Korea and the US are not the only critical actors. Russia, Japan and China are also strategically significant, but it is China which will be the most crucial for the US in the next phase of facilitating real peace.
In order to manage and bridge their differences in the South China Sea, China and the US should not be trapped in the preconceived idea that conflicts are inevitable but rather put themselves in each other’s shoes.
A team of legal experts from the Chinese Society of International Law has just published a major critique of the PCA arbitral award in the case of Philippines v. China on their South China Sea dispute in the Chinese Journal of International Law.
Most analysts agree that China and the US are locked in a seminal long-term struggle for dominance in Asia. A new and more dangerous phase in their troubled relationship may be beginning and one window on this dynamic is their behavior in the South China Sea.
Kim Jung-un crossed the 38th Parallel line southward for the historic third inter-Korean summit on April 27, 2018. It was a 12 hour-long event that included a summit talk, a break, a stroll, the monumental event of planting a tree, and a banquet.
The US and China have apparently reached a tacit agreement to disagree and to maintain a leaky status quo, a “new normal.” Not coincidentally, relations on this issue between the ASEAN claimants and between ASEAN and China are more or less at the same place.
Taiwan’s interests and role in the South China Sea disputes have essentially been officially ignored. With the election of US President Donald Trump and appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor, its influence and involvement may increase substantially.
Kim Jong-un’s visit was very strategically calculated. It had two purposes. The first was to bring China-North Korea relations back on track. The second was to seek China’s insurance and confirm China’s patron-state status.