News / Asia

US Won't Bow to Chinese Concerns on Yellow Sea Exercises

The top American military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, says the United States will continue to conduct military exercises in the international waters of the Yellow Sea, in spite of strong objections from the Chinese government. The Pentagon confirmed last week that there will soon be joint U.S.-South Korean naval exercises in both the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, to the east, in response to North Korea's sinking of a South Korean Navy ship earlier this year.  Admiral Mullen arrived Tuesday to join the first ever joint meeting of the American and South Korean foreign and defense ministers.

China's foreign ministry spokesman has said U.S.-South Korean naval exercises in the Yellow Sea would raise tensions in the area and threaten Chinese vital interests, including its sovereignty, territorial integrity and economic development. Admiral Mullen told reporters on his aircraft that is not the goal of the maneuvers.

"Nobody, the United States and certainly those who live in the region, want to see any kind of conflict break out," he said.

The admiral echoed other U.S. officials who have said the exercises are a response to what he calls "completely unacceptable" North Korean behavior that is outside "international norms." He says the exercises are designed to improve capabilities and deter further North Korean aggression. And, the admiral says they will not be canceled because of China's concerns.

"The Yellow Sea, specifically, is an international body of water. And the United States always reserves the right to operate in those, in international waters. And certainly, I hear what the Chinese are saying with respect to that," he said. "But in fact we have exercised in the Yellow Sea for a long time and I fully expect that we'll do so in the future."

The Yellow Sea, also known as the West Sea, was the site of the sinking of the South Korean Naval vessel the Cheonan in March, and the deaths of the 46 sailors who were on board. An international investigation concluded that the ship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo, but North Korea has denied the charge.

At the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii, Northeast Asia analyst Denny Roy says the U.S.-South Korean decision to hold naval exercises in the area runs directly counter to China's world view. He says China's strong words about the planned exercises reflect increasing assertiveness about an issue its leaders see as extremely important to their country's future, ending U.S. military dominance in the Western Pacific and turning the area into a Chinese sphere of influence.

"I think ultimately the Chinese view of the Asia-Pacific region in which China is a great power doesn't have much room for the degree of American influence in that region that we see today," said Roy. "We may see ourselves on a collision course between Chinese perceived core interests and American perceived core interests. If the United States and China have a different interpretation as to what's to be permissible in a place where our spheres of influence in effect overlap, this not only is an issue that's not going to go away soon, but we may be seeing an intensification of it over the next few years."

Indeed, former Bush Administration official Stephen Yates says China cannot expect to impose its views on U.S. military activity in the Western Pacific, particularly considering that it is the only major supporter of the country creating the tension in the region - North Korea.

"China needs to see that there are strategic consequences for its support for North Korea. It doesn't really get a free pass in enabling North Korea economically and diplomatically and watering down sanctions and other kinds of efforts to punish North Korea for violating international agreements and upsetting the security environment in East Asia," said Yates. "And, it doesn't also get to dictate to our allies what they can or cannot do, in terms of supporting their sovereign territory and their rights."

Professor Clark Sorensen, chair of the Center for Korea Studies at the University of Washington, agrees, but he says the United States also has to be careful how it asserts its rights in the region.

"It's a big dilemma for the United States because, on the one hand, we want to avoid turning China into some kind of an enemy, but on the other hand, China has been facilitating North Korean behavior in ways that make it very difficult for the U.S. on the Korean Peninsula," said Sorensen.

Still, at the East-West Center, Roy says the United States and China have an interest in resolving their differences over regional security.

"Both sides do also have an equally strong interest in maintaining a constructive bilateral relationship," said Roy. "So one hopes that the overall consideration of the need for a constructive relationship acts as a moderating force on some of the arguments pushing toward more assertive activities in the bilateral relationship."

Admiral Mullen says that is why the United States wants to resume normal military relations with China, which the Chinese froze last year after the latest U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.

"I think that's very important ,in terms of our ability to understand each other, deal with the tough issues, agree in certain areas and agree to disagree in others, but at least having those conversations is really vital," he said.

China has given no indication it is ready to resume routine military relations and analysts say, if the U.S.-South Korean naval exercises proceed as expected, the prospect will likely be set back even further.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid