The differences between China and the US over the South China Sea issue have become a matter of concern and even anxiety. But some of the perceptions in the US and elsewhere about China’s policy and intentions in the area are misplaced. A pressing task is to understand the facts and China’s intentions correctly so as to avoid real danger and consequences as a result of misinterpretation and miscalculation.
No, this is false. The pressing task is to make clear to the People’s Republic of China, and to the nations rimming the South China Sea, the facts and intentions of the US.
One problem with false premises is that they contribute to timidity, in outcome if not directly.
The issues in the South China Sea revolve around territorial and maritime jurisdiction. China believes it is doing nothing more than maintaining and defending legitimate territorial claims and maritime rights.
And they’re getting away with those illegitimate claims, their Nine-Dash Line-based seizure and occupation of the South China Sea, at the direct expense of those littoral nations, our friends and allies, potential friends and allies, and our credibility and very operational capability in that Sea. That Sea that hosts shipping lanes that carry, annually, world trade worth trillions of dollars in goods and basic resources, including trillions of dollars that underlie the economies of Japan and the Philippines, as well as our own.