1) Not to make waves in South China Sea
China’s official news agency, Xinhua, warns the US…it is no time to “make waves” in the disputed South China Sea—in response to the announcement from U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta that up to 60% of the Navy warships could be shifted to Asia-Pacific region by 2020.
From Xinhua’s commentary titled “Not to make waves in South China Sea”… (quotes)
Beijing’s South China Sea policy is consistent. Although China has seen its political, economic and military strengths growing markedly, fabricating new claims is not in its blood. The Chinese government is committed to seeking a peaceful solution to the disputes, as vindicated by China’s recent history of dispute settlement.
It is China’s genuine wish to turn South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, and the prospect is widely shared across the region and the world at large. Before that dream comes true, it serves the best interests of all concerned that they, as Beijing has proposed, shelve differences and pursue joint development.
(end of quotes)
2) East Sea (Vietnam)/West Sea (Philippines)/South China Sea (China)
This region is important for the oil reserves in the deep ocean, the fisheries and as well as its usage as a passageway for trillions of oil for the world.
China has claimed the sea almost entirely as its own. In doing so, it has effectively violated Vietnam and Philippines’ territories and ignores rules from UNCLOS even though it’s a member of.
Protests from Vietnam and Philippines have been pretty much ignored by China.
China has refused to take the disputes to international court, and instead preferred to resolve the matters bilaterally—knowing/hoping that it can bully the smaller countries into agreements to its desire.
The Chinese government is committed to seeking a peaceful solution to the disputes, as vindicated by China’s recent history of dispute settlement.
China warships intimidated Philippines in the Scarborough Shoal and its navy was put in state of preparedness for war. Only after Philippines did not back down, China decided to withdraw and to announce temporary fishing ban.
China detained 21 Vietnamese fishermen fishing in Vietnam water over a month earlier this year despite protests from Vietnam.
Before that dream comes true, it serves the best interests of all concerned that they, as Beijing has proposed, shelve differences and pursue joint development.
This is like big bully claiming the cookies of a smaller class mate and then offering to share the cookies with him.
3) U.S. faces defense budget cut while Beijing has increased its defense spending
Although Secretary Panetta guaranteed that the plan to shift more U.S warships to the region even with defense cut, the plan is not easy to carry out as the U.S may need to cut defense further next year. Under Obama administration, the annual deficit has been over a trillion a year. And spending will need to cut. Among the cuts, the defense budget cut is estimated over $487 billion over the next ten years.
This year, China increased its defense spending 11% as reported by the government—in reality, the increase could me much higher. China’s first carrier will be put into operation by the end of the year while it’s building 2 additional carriers.
Interestingly, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has criticized the defense cut by the Obama administration. He wants to increase Navy ship building and modernize Air Force (air) crafts. To offset these costs, Romney wants to cut civilian staffs in Pentagon, increase efficiencies, etc.