South China Sea Policies Get Little Support

China is receiving mixed results in their effort to appoint friendly states to exclude the U.S. And its allies from the South China Sea dispute, underestimating the Chinese diplomacy despite its massive economic influence.

Beijing won a significant endorsement for the remarks by Russian Foreign Minister. Sergei Lavrov, last month that players from outside the region should not get involved.

The recent announcement of additional support from Brunei, Cambodia. Also Laos drew unusual criticism from senior diplomat Ong Keng Yong. Saying Beijing may try to split the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The regional alliance to which all four nations belong. China’s announcement was also questioning by Phay Siphan aCambodian government spokesman. Who says they had not reached a new agreement with China.

China noticing recent statements that show the international community understands. Also supports the Chinese government’s position on how to handle the South China Sea issue. As well as the arbitration case brought by the Philippines. China is refusing to join in the legal process of a case challenging the South China Sea territories before the United Nations Court of Arbitration. Also says they won’t accept the court’s ruling.

Russia’s support is particularly significant, both for China and the world at large, because of the growing appearance of an anti-U.S. and anti-Western united front, Yu said.

“This breeds a great potential danger of the world skidding to a formation of big power alliances of opposition, whereby China and Russia act together against a US.-led coalition of democracies,” Yu said.

However, the fact China, with the world’s second largest economy, has gained the vocal support of only a handful of largely undemocratic. Economically dependent states also shows the limits of its push for greater diplomatic influence. Jonathan Holslag says, a professor of international politics at the Free University of Brussels.

“Actually, it is striking how small the number Chinese supporters remains, given the enormous amounts of financial aid that China threw into the scale,” Holslag said. “It all shows the limits of China’s economic diplomacy.”

Although China has called repeatedly for outside states to stay neutral on the issue, it welcomes the expressions of support and sees no contradiction, said Li Guoqiang, a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences researcher and top government adviser on the South China Sea.

Russia and others are “expressing a political stance, they are not interfering in South China Sea matters. On the other hand, other countries are substantively taking a whole series of actions,” Li said at a Beijing forum on Tuesday.

The drive to enlist international backing comes. As China faces growing scrutiny over its claim to virtually the entire South China Sea along with its reefs and islands.

The U.S. has kept up steady pressure, sending ships. And planes to emphasize its rejection of China’s assertion that the newly created islands it has built atop coral reefs are entitled to territorial waters. Also other legal rights.

Washington and its allies, including Japan, say the massive reclamation projects, complete with airstrips. Even military installations, raise tensions in a strategically vital waterway home to rich fishing grounds. Also a potential wealth of undersea gas and oil, and through which $5 trillion in global trade passes each year.

Participants wave flowers towards North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (not pictured) as they pass through Kim Il-Sung square. Which was during a mass military parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party.

China has responded by accusing Washington of endangering peace and stability with its naval activities. On Friday, Beijing reaffirmed its sovereignty claim while issuing a new attack on the court case brought by Manila. Calling it illegitimate and vowing never to “accept, participate in, or acknowledge” any subsequent rulings.

“The case brought by the Philippines is nothing but a political farce under the cloak of law,” the Foreign Ministry’s Ouyang, told reporters. “It is a grave threat to regional peace and stability.”

The region could grow more tense if China begins reclamation work. As some speculate it might, on Scarborough Shoal, an uninhabited coral reef near the main Philippine island of Luzon. That Chinese government vessels seized in 2012 following a tense standoff with Filipino ships.

China’s Defense Ministry has not said whether such a plan exists. Although, has reiterated China’s ownership and right to develop the shoal however it sees fit.

Asked about future developments, Ouyang merely reiterated an earlier government statement that all reclamation work had concluded by the end of June last year.

“I believe you are very clear about the meaning of this remark,” he said without elaborating.

Sea Policies