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Countering Chinese Aggression in South China Sea



  Mar 13, 2024

Chinese Aggression in the South China Sea and Countermeasures


 
What actions has China taken in the South China Sea?

In 2023, China intensified its presence in the South China Sea, deploying the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) and maritime militia more aggressively, especially around areas like the Second Thomas Shoal, challenging the sovereignty of the Philippines and other nations over their exclusive economic zones (EEZs).


How has the Philippines responded to Chinese aggression?

The Philippines, under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., adopted a more assertive posture, launching an assertive transparency campaign to publicize Chinese acts of intimidation in near real time, increasing patrols by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and enhancing defense cooperation with the United States and other allies.


What incidents exemplify the increased tension in the region?

Notable incidents include physical encounters between Philippine and Chinese ships, Chinese vessels firing water cannons and ramming into PCG vessels, and China deploying a significant number of vessels to prevent Philippine resupply missions to the Second Thomas Shoal.


How have the United States and other allies supported the Philippines?

The United States has increased its defense cooperation with the Philippines, granting temporary rotational access to more bases and participating in joint military exercises. The Philippines has also conducted joint exercises with Australia and held trilateral defense talks with the US and Japan, among other engagements.


What are the implications of China’s actions for regional security?

Increased Chinese aggression may escalate tensions in the West Philippine Sea, potentially leading to a more militarized region and affecting regional stability. It also challenges the principle of free navigation in international waters, a cornerstone of international maritime law.


What steps are being taken to address the disputes in the South China Sea diplomatically?

Efforts to negotiate a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea have been ongoing under Indonesia’s leadership as ASEAN Chair, with ASEAN and China making progress towards finalizing a COC. However, the pace of negotiations has been a point of frustration for nations like the Philippines.


What might happen if tensions continue to escalate?

If tensions continue to rise, it could lead to increased militarization in the region, with potential for direct confrontations. This scenario underscores the importance of diplomatic efforts and international cooperation to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea.


How does China justify its actions in the South China Sea?

China claims sovereignty over large portions of the South China Sea, including areas that overlap with the EEZs of other nations, based on historical claims. These claims are contested by neighboring countries and have not been recognized internationally, particularly following the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s 2016 ruling against China’s claims.


What can the international community do to mitigate tensions?

The international community can support diplomatic efforts for a peaceful resolution, uphold the principles of international maritime law, and ensure freedom of navigation. Engaging China through multilateral platforms and dialogues to address concerns and find a mutually acceptable solution is crucial for long-term stability in the region.


SRIRAM’s


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