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Mark J. Valencia:
By Mark J. Valencia - 24 Aug 2018
A US Navy Poseidon 8-A flew over or “near” four of China’s occupied features in the South China Sea. A radio voice identifying itself as “the Chinese military” requested the plane to “leave immediately and keep off to avoid any misunderstanding.”
By Mark J. Valencia - 17 Aug 2018
By Mark J. Valencia - 15 Aug 2018
In the run up to US Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ first visit to China from June 27-28, 2018, he said: “I want to go in without poisoning the well and do a lot of listening.” Well he certainly got an earful regarding the South China Sea.
A recent poll purports to show that there is a huge domestic opposition to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “soft” approach to China supposedly gathering steam.
The war of words and tit-for-tat provocative actions of China and the US regarding the South China Sea could spiral out of control. Thus, it is a good time for analysts and decision makers to step back and distinguish between hope (the possible) and reality (the probable).
Over the past few years, bashing China for its policy and actions in the South China Sea has become quite common in the US foreign policy community. More recently, the criticism has become ever more strident and dangerous.
In a recent posting in The Diplomat, Tuan N. Pham denies that realpolitik can triumph or has triumphed over moralpolitik and urges the US not to “back down” in the South China Sea.
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.
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.