Australian warships take part in the United States, Japan and Australia joint sea exercises on July 21
The report claims that Australian warships did not enter the 12 nautical miles of Spratly Islands. The Australian Department of Defense said in a statement that unplanned interactions with foreign warships throughout the deployment process were conducted in a safe and professional manner, activities during deployment are part of the annual routine activities of Australian defense forces throughout the Indo Pacific region. The report also mentioned that a similar navigation activity of the Australian Navy in the South China Sea last year was also closely watched by the Chinese military. Japans Maritime Self Defense Force announced on its official social media account on July 21 that Japans Maritime Self Defense Force was in the South China Sea with the US Navys Reagan aircraft carrier battle group and the Australian Navys amphibious assault ship Canberra And the Western Pacific.
According to the scene pictures released by the Japan Maritime Self defense force, as many as 9 ships formed a large formation on the surface. During this period, the US aircraft carrier Reagan sent out 12 carrier based fighters to fly over the warship formation.
Australian warships take part in the United States, Japan and Australia joint sea exercises on July 21
The time for China to swallow ones anger is over! Expert: the South China Sea is ready to brush the gun and go wrong
On July 17, the U.S. Navy carriers Reagan and Nimitz once again conducted a dual carrier exercise in the South China Sea, the second time in half a month that the two aircraft carriers had conducted in the South China Sea. On July 13, U.S. Secretary of state pompeio issued the so-called South China Sea statement, re mentioning the South China Sea arbitration resolution four years ago, and publicly stated his anti China position on the South China Sea issue.
In view of the frequent malicious acts of the United States in the South China Sea, the observer network recently interviewed Wu Shicun, President of the China South China Sea Research Institute, and invited him to express his views on the motives and influence of the United States in handling the South China Sea issue and the overall situation of Sino US relations.
Wu Shicun, President of South China Sea Research Institute
Observer: since July, the United States has been in constant action in the South China Sea. With the increasing pressure on epidemic prevention and control in the United States and the upsurge of racist protests, the United States still wants to intervene in the South China Sea issue. Why should it do so?
Wu Shicun: the reason why the United States continues to increase its military and diplomatic actions in the South China Sea is that its deep-rooted purpose is to contain Chinas development. He is not happy to see that China is likely to become the dominant country in the South China Sea in the future, and he is not happy to see the stable development of China ASEAN relations.
It should be said that the United States has not relaxed the use of the South China Sea issue to restrain Chinas development. Since 2010, especially since the implementation of its return to the Asia Pacific and rebalancing strategies, the United States has been taking provocative military actions in the South China Sea. Although the United States claims that it does not hold a position on the issue of territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea, in fact, the United States not only actively intervenes in the South China Sea affairs, but also chooses a side station in the South China Sea dispute. The so-called border station means that the United States will support any country that challenges or confronts China on the South China Sea issue. The Huangyan Island confrontation incident between China and the Philippines in 2012, the South China Sea arbitration case initiated by the Philippines in 2013, and the 981 drilling platform incident between China and Vietnam in 2014 prove that the US State Department has repeatedly issued official position documents, accusing China and supporting other dispute states.
What is puzzling is that since the outbreak of the new outbreak, the US military operations in the South China Sea have increased rather than decreased. So far, the United States has carried out five operations on freedom of navigation against China in the South China Sea this year, four in 2017, six in 2018 and eight in 2019. In addition, since this year, the U.S. military has conducted nearly 2000 close in reconnaissance operations against China from the air.
The background that the United States continues to increase its military and diplomatic investment in the South China Sea is that the decline and deterioration of Sino US relations have extended or spilled over to the field of political security from the fields of trade and science and technology. The relationship between China and the United States has evolved from field confrontation to all-round confrontation. Therefore, the South China Sea issue is just an important game point for China and the United States in the field of security. The South China Sea issue has touched on the US maritime hegemony in the Western Pacific region, which is why the United States has not relaxed its military activities in the South China Sea because of the epidemic situation and has not taken provocative actions against China because of the relaxation of the epidemic situation.
Observer: do you think the United States has considered shifting domestic pressure?
Wu Shicun: ordinary people in the United States may not be concerned about the recent series of provocative actions by the trump administration against China in the South China Sea.
Observer: pompeio recently moved out of the Philippines South China Sea arbitration case, which was awarded in 2016. How do you evaluate the result of the South China Sea arbitration case? Is there any political pressure on this legal award? Why did pompeio suddenly bring up the result of supporting the South China Sea arbitration case at this time? Do you think there is anything special about this time point?
Wu Shicun: the South China Sea arbitration case in the Philippines was originally directed by the United States. The Philippines is just a puppet. Aquino III was used by the Americans to file the arbitration case. The United States planned, directed and even decided that the United States helped to package. Therefore, the ruling totally denied Chinas legitimate and legitimate rights and claims in the South China Sea, which was entirely out of the strategic interests of the United States.
It has been four years since the arbitration award was published, but the United States has never accepted Chinas position that it does not recognize the award, nor has it accepted or agreed that China regards the South China Sea arbitration as a piece of waste paper, and even tried to promote the revival of the award in various ways. For three consecutive years in 2016, 2017 and 2018, the foreign ministers of the United States, Japan and Australia issued a joint statement during the series of ASEAN foreign ministers meetings. The core content of the statement is to require China to abide by the so-called ruling and accept the relevant contents of the ruling.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the US Secretary of state suddenly issued a statement on July 13, focusing on the contents of the arbitration award and reiterating the award.
Another important consideration for the United States to raise the arbitration award again at this time is the Philippine factor. The United States cannot accept the consensus reached by the duterte government of the Philippines and China to resolve the South China Sea issue through bilateral negotiations without taking the ruling as the basis. At present, duterte has entered the late period of his administration, and the pro american and Anti China forces in the Philippines should be said to be in the ebb and flow. Therefore, the United States re initiated the arbitration award not only to remind the international community, but also to support the pro american and Anti China forces in the Philippines.
In February this year, the duterte government announced that it would terminate the Philippine us agreement on visiting troops, but on June 1 it announced the suspension of the Philippines us agreement on visiting troops. It can be seen that after duterte entered the late period of his administration, the pressure from the United States and the pro american forces in the Philippines gradually strengthened.
Observer.com: you mentioned in your previous interview that the US South China Sea policy has been evolving. After the Meiji reef incident in 1995, the United States has changed from neutrality to limited involvement. Hillary Clintons speech at a series of ASEAN foreign ministers meetings in October 2010 marked the change of us South China Sea policy to active intervention. Pompeios statement marks the complete abandonment of neutrality and complete cooperation with China with a countermeasure. To what extent do you think the United States, which is against China today, will actively intervene in the South China Sea? Will the United States have any concerns?
Wu Shicun: the cards that the United States can play in the South China Sea have basically been played, and they cant play any new tricks. In the next step, in addition to continuing to carry out joint military exercises with allies and partners both inside and outside the region, the United States may have some new actions.
First, the United States may increase its military bases in the South China Sea. For example, in addition to the existing Philippine and Singapore military bases, the United States may also use Vietnam as an important military base for its deployment and operations in the front of the South China Sea by means of port visits.
Second, the deployment and interaction of the US Coast Guard in the South China Sea may be normalized. The United States has now deployed two coast guard ships at its base in Japan, under the unified command of the seventh fleet. In the future, the US Coast Guard will enter the South China Sea more frequently, and may even carry out so-called law enforcement in the disputed areas of the South China Sea. However, according to the international practice and common international practice, the coast guard of coastal countries only enforces the law in its own exclusive economic zone. The United States is not a coastal country in the South China Sea, so its so-called law enforcement can only be acting by trespassing.
The US navigation freedom action in the South China Sea has been normalized now. In addition to continuing to increase the frequency and extending the scope of operation to the waters near Paracel Islands, Spratly Islands and Huangyan Island, what is new has not been achieved by adopting double ships and other actions.
Once upon a time, senior U.S. generals made wild claims that they would take military actions against China controlled Nansha Islands and reefs, such as blowing up the expanded islands and reefs by force. However, I dont think the U.S. military will dare to take rash actions at present. If the United States takes this step, it is tantamount to provoking war.
From this attempt to stir up relations between China and other countries in the South China Sea by openly supporting the positions and propositions of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia in the South China Sea, it can also be seen that the United States has been unable to make new moves in the South China Sea.
Observer: you mentioned in your previous interview that although the real idea of the United States is not to stand on the side of Southeast Asian countries, there are still cards for Americans. What are the U.S. cards in the South China Sea you mentioned?
Wu Shicun: the United States can play cards in the South China Sea mainly in the following aspects:
First, draw on other countries outside the region, especially its allies, to form a so-called paramilitary group to carry out joint cruises in the South China Sea. It is costly and unsustainable for the United States to carry out exclusive freedom of navigation in the South China Sea for a long time. Therefore, the United States has been promoting more allies and partners to join in to share the task, while ensuring that the military pressure on China will not be reduced. Although Japan, Australia, Britain and even India have not formally accepted the request of the United States, but under the coercion and inducement of the United States, and these countries also have their own interests in the South China Sea, it is impossible to exclude the possibility of participating in the cruise of the United States in the South China Sea.
Second, the coast guard should be deployed regularly in the South China Sea. The United States has always believed that Chinas maritime police and maritime militia in the South China Sea are paramilitary forces. These gray areas lead to the asymmetry in the power balance between the United States and China in the South China Sea. Therefore, the United States hopes to deploy the coast guard to the South China Sea to enforce the law.. In the event of maritime tensions between China and other dispute states in the South China Sea, the United States may take the opportunity to provide support to claim states such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia to intervene in the South China Sea conflict.
Third, the United States will conduct more frequent and diverse means of navigation against China in the South China Sea.
Observer: from your explanation, I feel that the United States may take more actions. And this month, the United States sent two aircraft carriers, the Reagan and Nimitz, to exercise in the South China Sea. For the United States, which is still suffering from severe epidemic situation, what is the special significance of sending two aircraft carriers to the South China Sea?
Wu Shicun: after six years, at the beginning of this month, the U.S. military carried out two aircraft carrier exercises in the South China Sea in a week. There are three main meanings behind it
First, in a sense, this is a retaliatory rebound of US military operations in the South China Sea. Affected by the new crown epidemic, from March to May this year, three U.S. aircraft carriers went to Guam to implement overall isolation. For a time, the United States had no aircraft carriers in the Western Pacific. Once it has recovered from the epidemic, the United States would like to make up for the lack of previous actions through intensive dual carrier exercises.
Second, after being hit hard by the epidemic, the United States needs to show its super strong military strength to show its allies in the region that the United States is still the only superpower in the world, and still has the ability to resist Chinas threat and provide security protection for its allies and partners in the region. At the same time, the United States is still willing to provide security protection if necessary.
The United States sent out two aircraft carriers to exercise in the South China Sea
Observer: what do you think China can do in the face of the U.S. strong action?
Wu Shicun: of course, China does not lack corresponding countermeasures against the US military display. The United States is also well aware of this, so it is impossible for its two aircraft carriers to take military actions against China rashly.
First, we must maintain our composure and not be confused or anxious. China, in particular, can not follow the United States, can not be his rhythm, can not dance with the United States, this is the most important. The United States will not have too many new tactics in substantive actions in the South China Sea.
Second, we should steadily promote our own capacity building. The reason why the United States dares to flaunt its power in the South China Sea and even in China is that Chinas deterrent power in the South China Sea is not enough to deter the unilateral provocation of the United States. Therefore, China should integrate the existing maritime forces, focus on the changes of the future Maritime War patterns, prepare for the deterioration of the South China Sea situation, and strive to form a deterrent force through capacity-building, so as to achieve the goal of subduing the people without fighting.
Third, we should continue to accelerate China ASEAN consultation on the code of conduct in the South China Sea so that peace and stability in the South China Sea can be based on a rule-based order.
Fourth, it is very important to stabilize China ASEAN relations. The United States is not happy to see the good development of China ASEAN relations. In the first half of this year, ASEAN has surpassed the EU as Chinas largest trading partner. At the same time, China has maintained the status of ASEANs largest trading partner for 11 consecutive years. The steady improvement of China ASEAN relations is an important guarantee to prevent the United States from stirring up the South China Sea, which will help to stabilize the situation in the South China Sea.
Observer: there are two more questions about ASEAN countries. Although ASEAN countries may know clearly that the United States is not their true ally, will some of the claiming countries still take this opportunity to pretend to be a pawn of the United States in order to take advantage of China?
Wu Shicun: the statement of US Secretary of state pompeio actually sends a wrong signal to the countries in the South China Sea region. Some countries may mistakenly think that the United States will support them on some issues. The pompeio point reached Wanan Beach (between China and Vietnam), some islands and reefs under the actual control of the Philippines (between China and the Philippines), and even talked about Nankang, Beikang, Zengmu (between China and Malaysia), Bruneis exclusive economic zone, and Natuna islands in Indonesia. Pompeio supports these countries on these issues. Then some countries may mistakenly think that if they take unilateral and provocative actions in these areas, the United States will support them and they may take risks.
I think that some countries may make a wrong judgment, thinking that because of the support of the United States, they will take provocative actions and China will not take strong counter-measures. I think this is the problem that the US pompeio statement may lead to some unstable factors in the South China Sea.
Observer: in recent years, what consensus has China reached with ASEAN countries, especially with claim states like Vietnam and the Philippines, in the South China Sea dispute? What other issues have not been discussed for the time being?
Wu Shicun: there are many consensus. On the one hand, a number of bilateral consultation mechanisms have been established. The bilateral government consultation mechanism between China and Vietnam has been established since the 1990s, and China and Malaysia are also discussing the establishment of a bilateral intergovernmental consultation mechanism. The bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue between China and the Philippines has been established in 2017 (bilateral mechanism), and there have been five vice ministerial level meetings of the consultation mechanism on the South China Sea issue at the government level between China and the Philippines. Therefore, consensus is greater than divergence, which we must see. The reason why there is no major chaos in the South China Sea is that China and some other countries have maintained a certain degree of restraint. Some unilateral actions can be suspended or shelved through diplomatic channels. These mechanisms have played a positive role.
On the other hand, there are many consensus at the multilateral level. For example, the doc signed in 2002 did not take any action that might complicate the situation in the South China Sea, and so on. Everyone also exercised restraint and abided by the doc, creating a good external environment for the guidelines consultation.
I think this is the most stable and positive factor: the effective operation of bilateral mechanisms and the consensus of multilateral mechanisms.
It is also natural that there are differences, because the South China Sea issue involves islands and reefs territorial disputes and demarcation disputes, which are difficult to resolve in a short period of time. Therefore, it is unrealistic to say that there are no or no problems with the differences at all. Problems continue, and may become a normal. However, it is also possible to manage the crisis and promote cooperation in low sensitive areas if possible.
Wu Shicun: after the South China Sea arbitration award was made, the official attitude of the Philippines has not actually indicated that it has abandoned the arbitration award. We didnt implement it, and the Philippines didnt say it didnt comply. Because we dont accept the claims and actions based on the arbitration award, dutertes government just wanted to improve the relationship between China and the Philippines. He knew that Chinas attitude was not negotiable and could not be negotiated. The consultation on the South China Sea issue between China and the Philippines was not based on the arbitral award, or put aside the award for the time being. Duterte came to Beijing for an internship President Ping will not mention it. Duterte only said that when China and the Philippines discussed the South China Sea issue, they put aside the award, but he never said that he would abandon the arbitration award or that he would not abide by it.
In fact, in the past four years since the award was issued, the Philippines has made a lot of actions in this regard, and even has to amend the constitution to incorporate the arbitration award into the future national territory of the Philippines. In fact, it is trying to implement the arbitration award through domestic legislation. Therefore, it is natural that duterte has been constantly moving around the arbitration award since this period of time, because the arbitration award is completely beneficial to the Philippines and totally unfavorable to China, that is, it has accepted the Philippines claims and demands and denied Chinas legitimate interests and claims in the South China Sea. So none of the Filipino politicians dare to give up the arbitration award easily.
Observer.com: if we put the South China Sea issue within the framework of Sino US relations, Sino US relations have fallen into a low ebb since the trade war. In the near future, the United States has discredited Chinas anti epidemic and imposed sanctions on Huawei. From science and technology to military, has the United States launched a diplomatic strategy to resist Chinas rise? How should China respond?
Wu Shicun: I dont think we should have any illusions about Sino US relations, because the United States identified China as a strategic competitor in its 2017 national security strategy report, and we can see that China and the United States are between each other - although we cant call it the new cold war, in the Sino US relations, the confrontation and competition are dominant, rather than the bilateral relations between China and the United States Later, some scholars said that it was a competition and cooperation relationship, that is, competition and cooperation. I think that Sino US relations have now entered a stage of competition and confrontation. This time, I define it as all-round confrontation, because there is no field in which China and the United States can cooperate.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, this has never happened. Basically, all consultation mechanisms between governments have been suspended. No mechanism is still functioning and can conduct effective dialogue and communication according to the original agenda.
There are some mechanisms for us to tell Americans that it is time to start a dialogue, or if we want to talk to Americans about something, Americans simply ignore it. Therefore, the Americans have identified China as a comprehensive strategic competitor. We should not have any illusions about the United States. If trump wins the general election this year, China still needs to be prepared for the further deterioration of Sino US relations in the next four years.
If Biden, the Democratic Party, is in power, we still need to assess the direction of Sino US relations. However, the United States regards China as a strategic competitor, which will not change, and the United States will not stop its continued pressure on China. One of my assessment of future Sino US relations is: get rid of illusions and prepare for struggle.
Observer: the last question is for netizens. With the situation in the South China Sea heating up, there are already views on the Internet that there is bound to be a war between China and the United States, and the breakthrough point is likely to be in the South China Sea. In the recent tense situation in the South China Sea, is it possible for both sides to brush their guns and fire off?
Wu Shicun: I think the strategic decision-making levels of China and the United States are not ready for a war in the South China Sea, and the relations between the two countries can not bear to fight a war in the South China Sea. Under the conditions of modern war, both China and the United States are nuclear powers. I dont think anyone will easily shoot the first shot.
As long as a war is provoked, I think it will be disastrous for regional peace and stability and for Sino US relations, which is why we should try to test each others bottom line. At present, the United States is not very clear about Chinas bottom line in the South China Sea - its warships are also pushing forward - it wants to see where Chinas bottom line is. What can be touched and what cant be touched is not clear to Americans.
As scholars, we often say that China should show Americans the bottom line. Not long ago, I had an online conversation with Americans on the second track. I also discussed that (China and the United States) must show each others bottom line, and I wont touch what cant be touched. Because no one would like to see another plane collision incident between China and the United States in the South China Sea in 2001, which led to a great retrogression in the relations between the two countries.
However, based on the development and evolution of the current situation in the South China Sea, I believe that the possibility of brush off the gun and go wrong is higher than before
Second, there are warships frequently moving in and out of the United States, as well as coast guard ships. We also have coast guard ships. However, there is no crisis control mechanism between coast guards. The sea air accidental encounter rule only applies to naval and air aircraft. The crisis management and control mechanism for coast guard ships has not been established. The US coast guard comes to the South China Sea, and the Chinese coast guard enforces the law in the South China Sea. Once the two sides meet, what rules will they abide by? Once the operation is not standard, collision may occur.
Therefore, in this sense, it is more and more possible for China and the United States to brush off their guns and go astray in the South China Sea. If the US military activities in the South China Sea are more frequent, China will take corresponding countermeasures, such as tracking identification, warning and driving away. The more frequent and more US troops come, the greater the probability of gun brushing and misfiring. (observer network)