Tuesday evening, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived
in Manila, conveying Washington’s interest in avoiding a
"confrontation" in the South China Sea,
following Beijing’s refusal to submit to the
judgment of the Hague arbitration court’s ruling that rejects
China’s claim to most of the waters in the region.
blasted the ruling and has steadfastly denied its findings, arguing,
as a majority of international legal scholars have, that
the court lacks jurisdiction over the country under a
treaty which requires both parties to a dispute to first
submit to being bound by the court’s decisions, what is
known as conditional jurisdiction.
has also expressed its growing disdain with United States
meddling in the region, part of the Obama Administration’s
"pivot towards Asia," with the express goal
of empowering China’s regional competitors to encircle
the regime. Chinese President Xi Jinping also warned this weekend
against Japan intervening in the territorial dispute, given
that Tokyo has no active claim to the waters.
calling for calm, US Secretary of State John Kerry was
reticent to forfeit the leverage garnered by the
international tribunal, claiming, "The decision itself is
binding, but we’re not trying to create a confrontation."
called on China and the Philippines to join in two-party
talks to try to establish a compromise, one that will
certainly leave Beijing with less regional control than they
believe themselves entitled to.
hope to see a process that will narrow the geographic scope
of the maritime disputes, set standards for behavior
in contested areas, lead to mutually acceptable solutions,
perhaps even a series of confidence-building steps," said
statement comes in the wake of Beijing accusations that the
US, Japan and Australia, all not parties to the dispute, are
“fanning the flames” of regional tensions by making a
joint statement on the South China Sea.
it is the time to test whether you are peacekeepers or
troublemakers," said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Kerry looks to simmer tensions before they erupt
into war, Loud
& Clear’s Brian Becker sat
down with author Patrick Lawrence and activist David Ewing
to discuss the situation.
Kerry says he supports bilateral talks – will they work?
think we are going to see a couple of things come out of
this meeting. Number one, we see Kerry come back and fight his corner
in what is a really deep divide among the foreign policy
people in Washington," explained Lawrence. "Manila’s
approach to the Hague in 2013 and everything that led up to
the decision a couple weeks ago, represented a sort of Clintonian,
confrontational stance towards the Chinese favored by Clinton
when she was Secretary of State and certainly will be favored
again if she wins the election, and the Pentagon, as was noted
by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter."
soon as the Hague decision was made, you saw immediately a sort
of scramble, a withdraw or a surrender of territory. No
sooner was a decision made than those who were supposed to be
its beneficiaries retreated," said Lawrence. "Well, the
decision didn’t really mean all that much and you are starting
to see that."
is learning that we are desperate to see America push its way
further into the Western Pacific and confront the Chinese and
stop them and so on. It is a distortion of the Asian objective,"
explained the author. "They want good relations with China,
but that doesn’t come from confrontation."
Kerry is expressing is certain partial recognition that once again
the Americans have overplayed their hand and now he has to go
back in and repair the damage."
the United States encourage the dispute between China and the
think that China, of course, wants good relations and they need
peace to build those relations. If it gets to a military
confrontation with the West then all bets are off, nobody can
tell what is going to happen, but it is clear that it is
going to be bad for the West and it will be very bad
for Chinese Socialism, too," said Ewing.
China has played this long game and tried to hold back this
coming confrontation that will take place sometime in the future
and Chinese diplomacy, I believe, is aimed that way and China expects
that at some time there will be some kind of confrontation,"
it will take place over Taiwan independence, take place over the
South China Sea islands, maybe it will take place over Japanese
aggression or what takes places in North Korea – nobody
more than just the political policy of the United States,
look at the military preparations that the US is making in the
Pacific where there is constant military pressure and a buildup
of forces in a way that surrounds the Pacific in a way
that constantly threatens," said Ewing.