Path:Sino-US›› China News>> Opinion››
South China Sea dispute will not lead to China-US war

US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, May 17, 2015. Photo: AP

Despite US plan of sending military aircraft and ships close to the Nansha Islands where China is accelerating its land reclamation efforts, a China-US military conflict is unlikely to happen in the disputed South China Sea, as it is detrimental to the common interests of both countries in the region.

The US is just waging a media war against China by allowing a CNN reporter to board a surveillance flight to film Chinese island-development activities in the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea. The construction of artificial islands and lighthouses on the islands is seen as a military threat by the neighboring countries, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, which also have claims over the islands.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said that the Pentagon will send warplanes and navy ships to within 12 nautical miles of the Nansha Islands to show American objection to China's territorial claim and raise public awareness about the challenge posed by China's land reclamation work. The potential US military dispatch triggered an immediate, resolute response from China, which again said that it has indisputable sovereignty over the territory in the South China Sea.

The war of words between the US and China over Chinese activities in the Nansha Islands reflects the normal trend of international relations, Gu Xuewu, a professor of political science at the University of Bonn in Germany, said in a Phoenix TV program, stressing that such a verbal battle is not likely to turn into a shooting war as the two countries have intertwined economic interests. "A war is not in the interests of both countries," the professor said.

The US and China are each other's second biggest trade partner. In 2014, China-US trade volume reached more than $550 billion. Beijing has surpassed Japan to be the biggest holder of US government bond.

Some analysts said that the surveillance flight over the contested waters near the Nansha Islands shows US disappointment on its Southeast Asian allies' inability to contain China amid growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, with some even arguing that the US is taking the opportunity to promote arms sales to the region.

Actually, the US has no territorial dispute with China in the East China Sea and South China Sea, and has long stirred up regional tensions behind the scenes by abetting its allies, including Japan and the Philippines, to provoke China, especially at a time when it is implementing the pivot to Asia strategy, which takes aim at containing China amid Chinese growing clout in the region.

"The broad Pacific Ocean is vast enough to accommodate both China and the United States as major powers," Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a meeting with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry on May 17. Xi's remark was reported by many foreign media outlets and was interpreted as a common aspiration of easing tensions in the South China Sea. Xi told Kerry that China and the US should deal with the island dispute in a way that will not harm the bilateral relations.

Xi told Kerry that he hoped to develop his personal relationship with US President Barack Obama and to bring China-US relations to a new level along a track of a new model of major power relationship, which can facilitate the settlement of an array of international issues that concern the US, such as the Iran issue, the North Korean nuclear issue, climate change and nuclear disarmament.

Kerry's trip to Beijing was aimed at preparing for the annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue next month in Washington and Xi's state visit to the US in September. Therefore, it is necessary for the two sides to properly control their differences and sensitive issues as well as assess each other's strategic intentions objectively and rationally.

Technically speaking, a series of international confidence-building mechanisms can help reduce potential risks caused by the China-US standoffs at sea involving military, law enforcement and civilian vessels. For example, the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) is vital for avoiding threats, misjudgments and maritime contingencies caused by unintended encounters at sea.

Explore Hunan Promote Hunan
Related Stories
Share this page
Touched Sympathetic Bored Angry Amused Sad Happy No comment
About us

Rhythm Media Group is a multi-media company, operating a US-based Chinese daily newspaper, The China Press, and the paper's website - (which has mobile-app version), as well as a Beijing-based English website The group boasts 15 branch offices across the US, and a number of cultural centers focusing on culture-related business in the North America, Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Launched in September 2012, the is designed to serve as a bridge between China and the US, and to keep its readership inside or outside China better informed by providing news and insights on China's current affairs, culture, life, business, people and sports.

Our Partners

About us - Contact us - Copyright - Terms of use - Privacy policy

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved