South China Sea: Expert warns Beijing about ‘US influence’
The South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a think tank that focuses on the security issues around the contested region, told Newsweek there were risks of a potential clash. It also highlighted the chances of an “unexpected” clash between the two powerful nations amid heightened tensions.
The organisation said: “We still believe that the risk of conflict is rising.
“Though less mentioned in media reports recently, there have always been several encounters of various kinds from the two sides every single day.”
It added: “If the US and China couldn’t find substantive crisis management measures, the risk of an accident or unexpected conflict would still be high.”
Hu Bo, the Director of the Center for Maritime Strategy Research, previously raised concerns over a potential conflict between Washington and Beijing.
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He said: “Although the US has been trying to decouple from China in other areas, they are still closely connected.
“The chances of a large-scale conflict happening are small.
“But a medium or small-scale conflict is possible, such as two warships hitting each other or occasional crossfire since the two countries’ warships and aircraft encounter each other.”
Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, called on other nations to co-operate to counter against China’s dominance.
Mr Wu said: “If one of the most critical junctures of the first island chain is not in the hands of the like-minded countries, we can imagine what this is going to create in the global strategic picture.
“We definitely need to think about how we prevent it from happening.
“The like-minded countries need to come together, and we will be strong together.”
The minister told allies including the US, Japan, Australia and European powers that if Taiwan was to “fall prey to China” it would boost Beijing’s reach into the Pacific region.
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Tensions between China and the US have escalated alarmingly over recent months as both nations ramped up their military presence in the disputed waters.
China has already built military bases of several atolls in the region.
The US Navy released a report warning China and Russia are the “two most significant threats to this era of global peace and prosperity”.
The document, Advantage at Sea, said it is Beijing not Moscow which poses the biggest risk.
It said: “We prioritise competition with China due to its growing economic and military strength, increasing aggressiveness, and demonstrate intent to dominate its regional waters and remake the international order in its favour.
“Until China chooses to act as a responsible stakeholder rather than brandish its power to further its authoritarian interests, it represents the most comprehensive threats to the United States, our allies, and all nations supporting a free and open system.
“China has implemented a strategy and revisionist approach that aims at the heart of the United States’ maritime power.
“It seeks to corrode international maritime governance, deny access to traditional logistical hubs, inhibit freedom of the seas, control use of key chokepoints, deter our engagement in regional disputes, and displace the United States as the preferred partner in countries around the world.”
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