The Asia-Pacific region is in danger of being destabilised by the growing rivalry between China and the United States as we reported yesterday.
At the opening ceremony of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that as long as both the parties resolve differences on the basis of mutual respect and equality, relations between China and the United States can avoid serious complications. It was a typically Chiese veiled warning to the US to stop provoking China.
The president pointed out that major powers having some differences with each other is normal, but at the Asian security summit taking place concurrently in Singapore, US Defense Minister, Ashton Carter, accused China of “expansive and unprecedented action” in the South China Sea.
According to Carter, China’s steps to create artificial areas in some parts of the South China Sea threaten security in the Asia-Pacific region. While US Secretary of Defense acknowledged that other states also engage in such action, however, according to Carter, “Beijing is destabilizing the situation.”
The interaction of two factors, “competition” and “cooperation” in relations between Beijing and Washington is increasing tensions throughout the region.
Sino-US relations are subject to rapidly changing and difficult to predict dynamics of international relations in the region as a whole. The United States is clearly trying to manipulate the situation in the South China Sea region to contain China by strengthening old ties and trying to create new military alliances (and recolonising Philippines according to some regional pundits.)
US attempts to shift regional burden on its allies can only achieve limited results. In terms of military capacity the abilities of Japan, Thailand and other states not allied to Beijing are weak. South Korea spends more on the policy of maneuvering between US and China than it does on defence.
A containment policy to neutralise the threat from China in the foreseeable future will become more of a burden for the United States, given that the Americans have not managed to reduce their involvement in regional security in other regions of the world. In the meantime China, Russia and Iran are operating an economic strategy that is undermining the status of the US dollar as global reserve currency.
In the next few years, the US may be faced with having to make a difficult choice; deciding on whether their presence in the middle east or south east Asia is more advantageous to them.
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