China is a threat: US scholar

VietNamNet Bridge - This is the second article in a series written Hoang Huong during her trip to Hawaii (USA), Beijing and Hainan (China), Masinloc and Manila (the Philippines) and Singapore with journalists from 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss the East Sea (South China Sea) conflict, held by the Jefferson Fellowships program of the East-West Center (USA).

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Hoang Huong, Denny Roy, Sherry P. Broder, east sea, hoang sa, truong sa, china, south china sea conflict
The reef of Mischeft where China is conducting land reclaimation.

The three scholars mentioned in the article are Dr. Mr. Denny Roy, a senior expert on governance and security from the East-West Center (USA), Prof. Sherry P. Broder, a lecturer at the William S. Richardson Law School, University of Hawaii (USA) and Dr. Li Guoqiang, a researcher in the field of philosophy and social sciences from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Sharing the same view that China has been developing very strongly and this country now has great influence on global trade, the Chinese and American scholars’ perspective is different on the orientation and the way of development, as well as the attitude of China to the world in the process of economic development.

Referring to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which was signed by China and ASEAN countries in 2002, Mr. Li Guoqiang said that during the process of discussion and implementation, the concerned parties should try to reach common awareness and should not impose their will on others. However, two American scholars pointed out the actions that go against the good words of China.

Prof. Sherry P. Broder said that in the past few years, China has been involved in serious standoffs with its neighbors. She listed various events such as China’s dispute with the Philippine Coast Guard at the Scarborough Shoal began in 2012. In November 2013, China unexpectedly declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over a large portion of the East China Sea that overlaps portions of the South Korean and Japanese ADIZs. In 2014, China sent the HD-981 oil rig in waters disputed with Vietnam near the Paracel Islands.

“China has also used its economic power to influence developments and to punish its opponents in the East Sea and West Sea disputes. For instance, in 2012, China restricted Philippine fruit imports. In 2010, China restricted exports of rare earth minerals to Japan. China claimed that the action was for environmental protection purposes, but in 2014 the World Trade Organization concluded that China’s restrictions were discriminatory and violated its rules,” said Prof. Broder.

Dr. Denny Roy frankly pointed out: “China sends dual, perhaps contradictory, messages.  The first is ‘Don’t worry, we want peace and stability and trade that will be good for you.’  The second message is ‘We are increasingly powerful, so if you are wise you will treat China with deference and respect or you will suffer’.”

A reporter from New Zealand questioned why did China repeatedly state it observed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) but refused the arbitration case of the Philippines? Mr. Li Guoqiang explained quite confusingly: "The UNCLOS does not solve the territorial, dispute and military issues, just deal with the basic problems of the sea…"

Citing China’s respect of diplomatic measures among the three ways of settlement - military struggle, judicial arbitration and diplomacy – Mr. Li Guoqiang justified China’s attitude in the Philippines’ lawsuit as "justifiable and appropriate."

Prof. Broder said: “If the arbitration panel rules in favor of the Philippines, it will strengthen the position of the Philippines and probably encourage other countries in the region to bring claims to push back China’s claims. If China refuses to abide by the decision, it will erode China’s international standing and position as a global leader.”

"China is a threat"

Referring to the role of the US in the East Sea, particularly when the US recently sent the warship USS Fort Worth to patrol the East Sea, which was protested fiercely by China, Mr. Li Guoqiang said the US’s statement on the policy on the South China Sea was "unconstructive".

"The US is not the country concerned, but it has made a lot of actions to intervene in the South China Sea issue," he said.

From American view, Prof. Broder clearlysaid: “China has repeatedly promised that it means only peace. The Charter of the United Nations prohibits using force to settle territorial disputes. The escalating conflicts in the region could trigger a severe crisis, which would ultimately affect the entire world.”

“The US has continued to urge all claimants to follow the provisions of the 2002 DOC, in which the parties committed to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability. It is fair for other nations to evaluate the validity of what China says against its actions,” she said.

Dr. Denny Roy stressed that the rise of China is a threat. “A stronger China will more strongly demand Chinese security and prosperity.  Inevitably, this will reduce the freedom of action and in some cases the security of China’s neighbors.  In that sense the rise of China is a threat,” he said.

* Dr. Denny Roy taught Chinese studies, the history of Asia, and Southeast Asian politics at the Navy School of Monterey, California, in 1998 - 2000; researched on security - defense at the University of Canberra, Australia; taught political science at schools in Singapore and England before becoming a senior researcher of the East - West Research Centre in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. He is the author of many research works such as The Pacific War and Its Political Legacies; Taiwan: A Political Policy and China's Foreign Relations, and many articles in scientific - politics journals.

* Prof. Sherry P. Broder is a lecturer at the William S. Richardson Law School, University of Hawaiil, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. Her major teaching and research fields are is international law, ocean law, environmental law and human rights. Also, she is a media advisor and arbitrator for Hawaii’s government. She is the founder and executive director of the Jon Van Dyke Institute for International Law and Justice, which regularly organizes seminars and events related to the UNCLOS, the International Environmental Law and the International law on human rights.

* Dr. Li Guoqiang is a researcher in the field of philosophy and social sciences. He is working at the border research center of the CASS, China.

Hoang Huong

Hoang Huong, Denny Roy, Sherry P. Broder, east sea, hoang sa, truong sa, china, south china sea conflict