The South China Sea is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean. It is located at the shores of the southeast of China (PRC), East of Vietnam, northeast of Malaysia, and in the east by the Islands of the northwestern Philippines and Taiwan. The South China Sea has tremendous importance regarding economics and geostrategic. About one-third of global trade passes through this maritime route, carrying over more than US$ 3.37 trillion each year. Huge natural resources especially oil and gas reserves are believed to lie under its seabed.
China is emerging as a new economic power in the world. Its economy is growing exponentially and importing its goods to all countries of the world that are also increasing day by day. So, South China Sea is very important for the People’s Republic of China for its imports and exports. Because China has the only option of the South China Sea for its maritime trade globally. 80% of China’s energy imports and 40% of total trade passes through this maritime route.
Several countries have made territorial claims over the South China Sea. While these disputes have been regarded as the most dangerous point of conflict in Asia. Major countries including China (PRC) and Taiwan (ROC), Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Brunei. While several conflicts have been noticed among China and the USA in the South China Sea because of the US naval presence in this sea. The US claims that the purpose of its presence is to help its Asian allies that have disputes with China. But, the fact is that America is in the South China Sea only to challenge China. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said, according to the AP. “America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law. We stand with the international community in defense of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any push to impose ‘might makes right’ in the South China Sea or the wider region.”
South China Sea is becoming a maritime battlefront between China and the US. There are many reasons for this but the main is the developing and growing economy of China that is challenging the US dominance over the world. Many events have been happened between China and the US in the South China Sea recently as China jammed the signals and communication of American jets flying over the South China Sea near Chinese defense installations. While the US has sent its two warships to the South China Sea after a day when China conducted a “carrier killer” missile test in August near disputed Islands. China and the USA are militarizing this South China Sea very rapidly. There are several reasons for this militarization by both powers. This sea is very important for China as billion dollars trade of China pass through this maritime route to Asian countries, Africa and Europe. And it’s very important for China to make this route secure for their global trade. While American is here only to challenge China, considering his competitor in the economy.
Why is the USA challenging China in the South China Sea from an economic point of view?
Because China is becoming the emerging power of the world. While the whole world is using the American dollar as international currency which has kept America strong. But, China and Russia have introduced a new regional form named “Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)” which has six members including Pakistan. SCO has decided to use regional currency (Chinese Yuan) for trade between SCO member countries. While China is already trading with many Asian countries in Yuan instead of dollars and China has wishes to trade with many other countries in “Yuan” instead of Dollar which is a challenging situation for the US economy.
Another thing that “Hidden Cold War” has been started between China and America over the economy. America has imposed many taxes on Chinese goods and in response, China also imposing taxes on American goods. America has banned the Chinese company “Huawei” but China did not take any step in response to this American action. While America closed the Chinese consulate in Houston. China also ordered to close the American embassy in the south-western city of Chengdu in a tit for tat move. America continuously blames China’s overspread of Covid-19, and is losing its influence in its owned made military alliance North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as over the whole world too.
The recent issue happened in the near past when America requested Security Nation to impose economic sanctions on Iran but American allies country of NATO especially the UK and France has rejected this request of America because America had separated itself from the joint agreement with Iran. In the presidential elections of the US in 2016, Donald Trump raised the slogan of “Make America Great Again”. The only reason for this slogan is that the American economy has weakened due to spending of huge budgets in various wars including Afghanistan and Iraq. So, America is trying to stand again but does not want any competitor against him. Thus, creating problems for the emerging economy of China in different areas especially in the South China Sea. This maritime front can prove to be extremely dangerous for the countries of this region in the upcoming months.
This write-up was contributed by Ahmad Qayyum who can be reached at @ahmadaq_95b
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