China and ASEAN agreed to a framework for the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea in May 2017. Hopefully, after this agreement, none of the claimants or concerned sea-powers would need to fire the first shot.
Judging from Trump’s focus on making deals and building up US military forces to facilitate negotiations, he espouses a realist view of the world. He is not an idealist. He puts little stock in promoting lofty principles.
It appears that Trump has paused criticism and actions against China in exchange for its assistance in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear program. This transactional approach means that his foreign policy is negotiable and not based on principles.
Some Cambodian political analysts have concluded that balancing between ASEAN and China on the contentious issue of the South China Sea is and will continue to be the most significant strategic challenge for Cambodia’s foreign policy in the 21st century.
Taking into consideration brief moments of hopeful peace in the past in the Korean Peninsula, there is a chance for peace in the current crisis and a return to the earlier state of functionalist constructivist cooperation if all stakeholders show the political will to do so.
The US flies hundreds of ISR missions every year to collect communications between the target country’s command-and-control centers and radar and weapons systems. The initial deployment of the Carl Vinson strike force was to the South China Sea. Are these probes and the deployment a violation of the UN Charter?
Japan and South Korea are working with the US to ensure all preparatory defensive measures are up to par and have sharpened their coordination in all defensive matters. Both countries have also pledged support for peace and diplomatic solutions to the Korean Peninsula crisis.
US President Donald Trump has been advocating striking North Korea’s nuclear facilities since taking office in January. However, he will be restrained from delivering such an order for both empirical and strategic reasons. And China knows too well that it won’t happen.