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Special Review on S. China Sea ep.9: U.S. involvement in the South China Sea destroyed regional peace and stability


07-03-2016 12:48 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

Experts agree that US intervention in the South China Sea would embolden other claimant countries, and destroy peace and stability in the region. 

"That involvement of this outside powers into the region do make the situation much more vulnerable and volatile and unpredictable," said NGEOW Chow Bing, Deputy Director of Institute of China Studies, University of Malaya, Malaysia.

"It helps build this vicious cycle," said Li Mingjiang, Associate Professor of S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

"When we ask Americans do you view China as a military threat, most people say no," said Matt Decker, US Political scientist, CEO of DDP Consulting Group.

"Well, it definitely makes things complicated, that’s for sure. And make things worse. I think that’s true. That involvement of this outside powers into the region do make the situation much more vulnerable and volatile and unpredictable. What we need now is actually just to calmly and rationally finish the COC (Code of Conduct) negotiation and put down a framework for future conduct or behavior. And the COC (Code of Conduct) negotiation does not have US participation. It is between China and the ASEAN countries. That should proceed and that should be completed as soon as possible," said NGEOW Chow Bing.

"US intervention in the South China Sea, to some extent, complicates the whole issue, because, you know, it helps build this vicious cycle. But I think we need to understand, you know, how other people, other country understands the consequences, the meaning of US activities. When there are suspicions in other countries about US activity and you help build this vicious cycle, the more US intervenes, other countries may feel compelled to react and respond with power, with, you know, assertive measures as well, or counter measures. And also to some extent, the US intervention in South China Sea help embolden other claimant countries, which creates unnecessary results and again help build this vicious cycle between China and some other claimant states in the South China Sea," said Li Mingjiang.

"And politicians for two hundred years in the United States have promised things in their campaign, but governing is very different than campaigning, so we see that today in the same way that we saw it in the 1780s and 1790s in our first campaigns. And yes, politicians make judgments about where we are going to get votes. Yes, being tough on China at the moment is popular with American voters and it will get them votes. Hillary Clinton during her time of secretary of state and the famous pivot to Asia from the Obama administration. Donald Trump will be asked those questions, but that’s not going to happen and so probably late September or early October when the debates start. That’s clearly, you can expect a lot more of the same under Hillary Clinton. She was part of this administration. She was part of the idea of a pivot to Asia. She has a history of making statements in support of the other Southeast Asian nations that are part of the tensions with China. So when we ask the average Americans, you know, is China a threat, and Americans answer differently comparing to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. When I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I remember being absolutely fearful that the Soviet Union was going to drop nuclear bombs on us, you know, that was just a fear that we had as a society I certainly had as a child. When we ask Americans do you view China as a military threat, most people say no. But a pretty good percentage of Americans view China as friendly. They don’t see them as a military threat," said Matt Decker.

"From the American perspective, it is not all about the South China Sea issue, but about its own interest, so it cannot help resolve the disputes peacefully or maintain peace and stability in the region. It will only add fuel to existing problems. We are all familiar with a simple fact that is an individual or a country serves only his or its own interest, the larger interest will be compromised. It can be easily understood by all, and is a truth," said Su Xiaohui, Deputy Director of Department for International and Strategic Studies at China Institute of International Studies.

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