|Wassup, Chinese landgrabbers? Guess who looks like visiting you soon..|
It seems like the day of reckoning in the South China Sea may be getting closer as a result. With US regional allies clamoring for support, the time nears when US Navy warships may be paying China's reclamation efforts a visit, raising the likelihood of armed clashes:
After repeated and unheeded warnings to China to halt its massive reclamation works in the South China Sea, the U.S. is contemplating an option fraught with danger: limited, but direct, military action.PRC officialdom is not fond of the idea, naturally:
By sending U.S. warplanes over artificial islands that China is building, and sailing naval vessels close by—an option now under consideration, according to U.S. officials in Washington—America could end up being sucked more deeply into an increasingly heated territorial dispute between China and its neighbors, say regional security experts.
If such action fails to deter China, America will face a hard choice: back down and damage its credibility with friends and allies in the region, or escalate with the risk of being drawn into open conflict with China.
China immediately suggested that America would be crossing a line if it goes ahead with the plan. “Do you think we would support that move?” asked Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. “Freedom of navigation definitely does not mean the military vessel or aircraft of a foreign country can willfully enter the territorial waters or airspace of another country.”If I were a Marxist, I'd say it's a contest playing out in Southeast Asia among rival imperialists--the United States and China. When dealing with them, I'd say Southeast Asians cannot possibly have friends among these two, only interests. And, the problem for so very long is that Southeast Asian nations have differing interests with regard to both, allowing China especially to capitalize on the regional discord.
Her comments reinforced a view that America and China may be on a collision course. There’s very little prospect that China will stop ballooning the specks of territory it controls in the Spratly Islands. Much of the work has already been completed, but there is still more to do.
Sending American warships to China's assorted landgrabs should be informative at the very least. The PRC's subsequent actions will be "revealed preferences" in the tradeoff between economy and security. While US naval might is still supreme, a show of force may be just the ticket.
UPDATE: US Foreign Secretary visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing did not do much to reduce tensions over this matter. It remains entirely possible that the United States' Seventh Fleet will be paying China's land-grabbing activities a visit real soon.