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.
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.
There has been a long-standing agreement between China and the Philippines on resolving their disputes in the South China Sea through friendly consultation and negotiation. From 1995 to 2011, there were at least 6 joint statements between the two countries repeatedly reaffirming negotiation as the means for settling their relevant disputes.
On June 12, 2017, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif flew to Jeddah to meet with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. He was reportedly bluntly asked by King Salman: “Are you with us or with Qatar?”
An article by James Holmes of the US Naval War College in The National Interest made several false allegations regarding China’s actions and ascribed nefarious motives to its declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea.
The current regional political constellation — in particular the trend of concentrating on domestic politics at the expense of regional matters — partially explains the weakening commitment to ASEAN across Southeast Asia. This contributes to an expectation for countries with strong regional agendas, like Vietnam, to step up.
The loss of the “Remain” vote in the referendum puts into question the multibillion dollar Sino-UK cooperation agreements signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK last year, in particular the Hinkley Point nuclear project.