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US-China tussle over South China Sea

How US President Donald Trump will tackle Chinese claim of indisputable sovereignty  over South China Sea is yet to be seen but China’s core leader Xi Jinping aims at US abandoning the International waters so that Beijing can have supremacy over the Pacific.

Two great economies of the world are likely to clash over SCS as it is a thorny issue for China and the Trump administration cannot afford to loose American influence in the Pacific region of Asia.

Defence Secretary James Mattis stated that demilitarization  and Freedom of Navigation is the bottom line of US foreign policy in this region.

While China has nearly completed the process of militarizing the South China Sea by building structures on the reclaimed islands in both the Spratly and Paracel chains  to deploy surface to air missiles  and created structures  with retractable roofs on Subi,Mischief and Fiery cross reefs for fighter jets and bombers.

Actually, China had declared entire SCS under its jurisdiction and started transforming reefs into artificial islands with military runaways  and naval harbours  to assert its authority and influence in these areas.

Meanwhile China’s strategic manoeuvres progress Trump has not so far finalised his China’s policy but initially he warned China by blocking its access to disputed waters and even opposed  One-China policy but later on phone call with Xi, Trump agreed to negotiate on One-China but dispatched aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and a guided missile  destroyer to patrol the South China Sea terming it as a ‘routine operation’.

Beijing counters US saying that deploying necessary  and appropriate national defense facilities on its own territory is in line with exercising a right bestowed by International law to sovereign states.This means China will use all its resources ie diplomacy, military and economic pressure on US allies including Russia and others to safeguard its supremacy over SCS.Leaders of the Southeast Asian nations foreign ministers expressed grave concern over the militarization of the SCS.

Trump has to openly come out  with his foreign policy initiatives to win over the allies that may be yielded to Chinese aggression.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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