The arbitration proceedings that the Philippines initiated against China more than three years ago regarding issues in the South China Sea should soon reach its end, and the arbitral tribunal is expected to rule shortly.
The fundamental guarantee of the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is not the US or its military presence, but China, the coastal states, and regional countries’ commitment to peace, stability, prosperity, and development.
According to the Pentagon, on May 17, 2016, two Chinese J-11 fighter jets intercepted a US Navy EP-3 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance plane on a “routine patrol” in “international air space” about 100 nautical miles south of China’s mainland coast and 50 nm east of Hainan.
Three years after it was launched, the curtain is coming down on the Philippines’ South China Sea arbitration case. Now is the time to take a step back from all the hustle and bustle to see through the past few years’ misrepresentations and distractions and get a clear understanding of the South China Sea issue.
Japan has common interests with China in stopping nuclear proliferation in Northeast Asia. The H-bomb test may then end up as a common rallying point that can bring Japan, China, and South Korea together facing a common threat.
China’s claims, policies and actions in the South China Sea have been severely criticized by other claimants as well as external maritime powers. The protagonists are stepping up their public relations campaigns to bolster their positions. Much of the rhetoric fits the allegory of the pot(s) calling the kettle black as China’s major critics have undertaken similar actions.
The essence of the disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea is the territorial disputes caused by the illegal occupation of China’s maritime features in the Nansha Islands by the Philippines in the 1970s in violation of the UN Charter.