News / Asia

China-US Tensions Heat Up Over Disputed Sea

Shannon Van Sant

Chinese state media accuse the United States of inflaming tensions in the South China Sea as Secretary of State John Kerry wraps up his trip to the region during which the U.S. and China exhanged verbal blows over the resource-rich waterway. 

Both countries have lodged accusations over actions in the South China Sea, which is contested by China and several other Asian nations.  China’s state-run People’s Daily newspaper said the United States was emboldening its Asian neighbors in claims to the water way, which is rich in natural resources and one of the busiest shipping routes in Asia.  

The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, said “the U.S. position is making the Philippines confident of winning the South China Sea dispute.”  The China Daily newspaper said “the United States is fishing in troubled waters” and encouraging “countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam to take blatant moves.”

Rhetoric heats up

Xiaohe Cheng, a Professor of International Relations at Renmin University, said the South China Sea dispute is testing relations between China and the United States. 

"That’s the bad signs of China and U.S. relations, particularly when two countries try hard to build a so-called new model of country relations, and the rhetoric in Washington and Beijing against each other is heating up,” he noted. 

This week Washington accused Beijing of fomenting instability in Asia through its aggressive actions and proposed a voluntary freeze on provocations in the region.  

China refused to abide by the freeze and said the United States’ pivot to Asia is sowing instability.  More than 1,000 U.S. Marines are stationed in Australia, and that number is expected to grow to 2,500 by 2017.   Xiaohe Cheng explained how China views the U.S. actions. 

“The United States just inked new security deals with Australia, and the U.S. is attempting to establish a permanent military base in Australia.  And all of these words and acts have been perceived by Chinese as some kind of move to contain China,” Xiaohe Cheng said.

Growing influence

But China’s growing influence in the region has sparked tensions with its neighbors, prompting prominent members of the Communist Party of Vietnam to write a letter to Vietnamese leaders calling for reforms to diminish the country’s reliance on China.  Earlier this year the deployment of a billion-dollar Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea, in waters claimed by both countries, sparked violent protests in Vietnam.

Xiaohe Cheng said tensions still remain. “I think it’s probably too early to say the nightmare is over between China and Vietnam,” he said.

The State Department said it is calling for a de-escalation of tensions and the timely negotiation of a meaningful Code of Conduct for countries’ actions in the South China Sea.  China and ASEAN have been working on a Code of Conduct for more than a decade. 

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Comment Sorting
by: antonio muldong from: philippines
August 13, 2014 10:16 PM
Here we go againm whew! Another stupid remark from the chinese People's Daily. It says that the U.S. is emboldening Vietnam and the Philippines into making blatant moves in claiming some island groups in Asian waters. What a laugh! china is claiming ALL of the unfortunately named South china Sea--an area which is indisputably Not this shameless country's territory--and that is not blatant! Let me ask People's Daily "journalists", do you know English at all? From the way you write, your country's interest would be far better served if you wrote only in your own language. If you insist on writing for international consumption, get your English set properly. Believe me, it could hielp.

by: Peter from: USA
August 13, 2014 4:09 PM
The Chinese have all the money and power they need for global domination, and they want more, why not? So let them have the entire Pacific ocean should they want to. Just let them have it , to make them shut up. A Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu said "know your enemy know self", let's just see who they'll be dealing with by their ambition. When they get hurt don't come crying over the US shoulder. America has helped them enough to bring them out of a shabby situation. So be it, let then chose their own destiny.
In Response

by: mike from: USA
August 14, 2014 11:05 PM
Shooi everything you say might be true but it also happened long before you were born and beforwe your parents were born. You know or understand man makes mistakes but he is supposed toearn from these mistakes and not to keep reperateing the smae thing for hundreds of years. OK now you understand this rules out everything you say or it shows you are one dumb uneducated nickle worker. People showiong stupidity hundreds of years ago does not justify the CCP doing the same things today. A few years ago the CCP agreed to the laws defining nations borders to keep hostilities down. Today the CCP ignores what they agreed to then and steal land from weak nations, going to cause problems for them. These acts show the CCP is no smarter tthan nations more than one hundred years ago while the rest of the world has advanced and educated themselves. You also understand by what is reported world wide only a few people in China believe what the CCP says and NOBODY in the rest of the world believes them.
In Response

by: shooi tom from: usa
August 13, 2014 9:04 PM
Yes. After all, didn t the white people kill the natives and take
their land in N America (including Canada), S America, Hawaii,
Polynesia Islands, Australia, New Zealand......????? China
should get something.

by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
August 13, 2014 11:44 AM
Tension will continue to be high but under control. Neither country is free to deal with new problems. They have enough on their respective plates. China has to deal with a host of domestic issues, especially the power struggle and the discontent of Chinese under the economic pressure. US has to deal with a dysfunctional congress and Ukraine and Middle East.

by: william li from: canada
August 13, 2014 10:52 AM
America get out of Asia before you fixing the Iraq problem first! America only brings chaos everywhere around the world! look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Somali, Ukraine. Shame on you!

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