South China Sea arbitration to set direction of tripartite relations
The United States, China and Russia are playing important roles in the ever-changing international situation since the start of the 21st century. The talked with Yin Feng, Center for China and Globalization (CCG) researcher and chief editor of a periodical Chief Strategy Officer. Here are his main views on the China-US-Russia relations and the South China Sea issue.  
The strategic game between China and the US has played during the long period of 2001 to 2016, with the counterbalance between the US and Russia and cooperation between Russia and China being terminal events. This July, the Warsaw Summit and South China Sea arbitration will decide how the relations among the three major players would develop.  
Looking back, the year 2001 ushered in a new historical period. The current strategic game among major powers and the restructuring of global order are nothing but results of the historical events of that year. Specifically, the September 11 terrorist attacks and China’s admission into the WTO lifted the curtain on an era when the national strength of the US began to decline while China rose to prominence and is catching up with the world’s leading power. 
In 2008, the global financialcrisis hammered the US economy, adversely affecting its comprehensive national power. China doubled its efforts to catch up between 2008 and 2012, aiming to surpass the No.1 economy. Meanwhile, the US became vigilant about the possibility of being overrun by China. So, in 2009, Hillary Clinton put forward the strategy to rebalance to Asia.   
From 2009 to 2012, the strategic counterbalancing between China and the US had been simmering and then was shaped, with strategic mistrust toward each other growing. The Sino-Japanese and Sino-Philippines frictions, with the intensification of China-US confrontations, led to disputes between the two top world economies. 
Considering future interests, the US stepped up its military deployment in the South China Sea in 2015. In October the same year, American warships forced their way within 12 nautical miles of South China Sea islands and reefs claimed by China, signaling its posture to be ready to jump into the territorial disputes. The South China Sea has become the ostensible arena for the two countries to compete with each other. This period has witnessed China to challenge the US simultaneously in fields including international governance, finance, trade, homeland security and cyber security.   
In reality, among the relations between China, the US and Russia, due to Russia’s second-class status, China and the US will play key role in deciding the future international order. Under these circumstances, no matter which party Russia would choose to stand by, strength of the party would be solidified. 

(The article is translated by Rebecca Lin.)

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