THE LEVANT NEWS EXCLUSIVE – By Muhammad Zamir Assadi* — The South China Sea significantly provides the access as sailing route and serves the one-third of the global trade and transportation by connecting the Singapore, Malacca Straits and the Straits of the Taiwan. Besides the immense richness in terms of oil and natural gas reserves beneath the Sea, the geopolitical importance of the South China Sea attracts the interests of the many countries in the region. The claims of ownership by many regional states over the uninhabited islands and the territories are also a cause of the resentment. Although the apparent triviality and the physical features have been a matter of passionate contest flanked by the region’s coastal states but the issues of convolution of jurisdiction created by United States is trying to make the South China Sea one of the most disputed areas.
Notably, the historical ownership of the territories and the further authorizations in the course of the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, China get an edge over others and holds a distinctive position besides the claims of other so-called bordering states. The Declaration on China’s Territorial Sea on 4 September 1958, maintained the breadth of the territorial sea of the People’s Republic of China 12 nautical miles whereas, the baseline composes the straight line that connects the coastal islands moreover, the Declaration also applies to the all territories of the People’s Republic of China including the Paracel and Spratly Islands. The Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea also affirms that a coastal state is allowed to reasonably define the breadth and limits of its territorial sea according to its economic development and national security.
The extra-regional interference particularly by the United States has been already an issue of unease for the region. Since the U.S., views of its Super Power status and the consideration as a Pacific-Power are some of the motives that thrust its regional allies towards the ambitions of collectively seeking an over-enhanced cooperation for the control of the areas around the South China Sea. The repeated proscriptions of the international law principally abide the U.S. and its allies to refrain from any interference in the affairs of the South China Sea, despite such essentials, the recent U.S. naval posture and the voyages within the territorial waters of China seriously violates the international code of conduct and gravely undermine the regional peace and stability goals. In spite of the China’s prevailing efforts to dissuade any possible confrontation, the U.S. forces on the pretexts of the Freedom of Navigation penetrated along with the naval destroyers by sailings within the 12 nautical miles of the China’s Xisha Islands. Such U.S. red herring is a professed self-proclamation of the authorization by the international law for safeguarding the public access to the international waters and airspace but these moves actually demoralize the efforts of regional peace and seriously put it on stakes.
Since its soft policies of reconciliation and the distinct natures of neutrality and mutual respect without interfering other’s internal issues China significantly plays the role of region’s political, economic and strategic stability. The unique features of its foreign policy enable it to seek the resolutions of critical issues through diplomatic and political means rather than aggressive designs and posing threats to other countries in the periphery. However, the arrogant moves of the U.S. naval maneuver pose serious threats to the China’s national sovereignty and security, imperil the regional peace and stability, and comprise a severe contravention with the international laws.
The U.S. efforts to push China towards an escalating conflict severely endanger the regional peace. By subduing the international laws and regulations, the Washington deliberately over-sights the universal obligations moreover; the current U.S. naval maneuver in China’s territorial waters is the comparable stride. The repeated U.S. attitudes of purposeful ignorance of the international laws, norms and the codes of conduct in the civilized world are the indications of the irresponsible nature of the U.S. policies. The posturing of the guided missile system by the U.S. Navy within the 12 nautical miles off the China’s Xisha Islands further add fuel to the chaotic situation and try to provoke and drag China into the course of confrontation and conflicts.
The recent dispatch of the U.S. Navy missile-destroyers within the 12 nautical miles blatantly ignores the China’s repeated outcry about violating its territorial integrity and threats its national sovereignty. The inherent paradox of the U.S. capricious budge submitting to the international laws ignores the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that abides all the states’ admission to the regulations on international waters therefore, the U.S. ambitions are obviously a replication of the circumventing the obligations of the international laws and regulations.
*Muhammad Zamir Assadi is a Pakistani journalist, and The Levant News correspondent in South Asia.