South China Sea issue is litmus test for Sino-U.S. relationship: Opinion

(From Caixin online)

By He Yafei

China has made it clear it will defend its sovereignty, but it also believes it and the United States have the wisdom to build a bright future together

American officials were recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying the U.S. military will send warships and fighter jets to the South China Sea as a show of its concern over maritime safety. They said U.S. warships would come within 12 nautical miles of where China is building artificial islands.

The claims have set off a major storm in the international community, with some questioning the intentions of the United States, while others are worried the move will trigger military conflict between China and the United States.

Beijing has expressed its grave concerns, and an exchange of words between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a press conference is also intriguing. Kerry was recently in Beijing to make preparations for President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States in September. He asked China to show restraint over the South China Sea dispute and to seek to resolve the problem via peaceful means. In response, Wang said China’s resolve for safeguarding its sovereignty over the islands and reefs in the South China Sea is as strong as rock.

The Sino-U.S. relationship is the most important of all bilateral ties in the 21st century. It is so important that it not only has a bearing on the well-being of the two peoples, but also impacts the dynamics of international politics in the new century and the transformation of the world order. World peace and development hinge upon whether China and the United States can maintain steady relations.

There is a lot of misunderstanding between the two countries right now. If this is translated into containment policies, hope for a “new type of major-country relationship” between China and the United States will burst like a bubble and bilateral ties will slide downhill. That is why it is so important for the two countries to deal with the South China Sea issue. Read more




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