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As US-China tensions rise, what is the outlook on the South China Sea dispute in 2020-21?

As US-China tensions rise what is the outlook on the South China Sea dispute in 202021Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, tensions in the South China Sea have surged. This is mainly the result of China’s continued assertiveness coupled with the sharp deterioration in US-China relations over a variety of issues including the South China Sea itself.

Actions undertaken by Beijing to assert its jurisdictional claims, and demonstrate that the pandemic has not undermined its political resolve or the operational readiness of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), have been counterproductive.

Vietnam’s Perceptions and Strategies toward China’s Belt and Road Initiative Expansion

Vietnams Perceptions and Strategies towardAbstract

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which was launched by Xi Jinping in 2013 seemingly draws a great picture of mutual development with a lot of promises in term of financial and technological supports to infrastructure development projects in a large number of countries. Such promises sound good to many countries including Vietnam, a developing country who is in its capital thirst. However, Vietnam’s reaction to this Initiative in particular and to China’s strategic intentions in general is not easy to understand. Vietnam’s perceptions on the BRI have varied across many different social spectra. Based on those common understandings, Vietnam’s strategies toward China and its BRI are a mixture of seemingly contradictory policies which show either their supports (bandwagonig strategy) or denials (balancing strategy) or both simultaneously. However, it is in fact hedging strategy which is a flexible combination of both bandwagoning and balancing strategies is working comprehensively in various spheres.

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China’s increased aggression in the South China Sea

Chinas increased aggression in the South China SeaAccording to the US’ Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia – Reed Werner, since mid-March 2020 when the US’ aircraft carrier returned to Guam, China’s fighter jets have “harassed” the US’ reconnaissance aircraft in the South China Sea for at least nine times. At sea, an escort vessel from China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier fleet operated in an “unsafe and unprofessional way” near the US’ destroyer USS Mustin in the South China Sea in April 2020. The abovementioned activities have concerned states in the region and beyond, especially when the Sino-US relations still remain tense due to a wide range of issues from economic, trade, to cyber security and pandemic and neither China nor US showed any sign of decreasing their military presence in the South China Sea.

The US promotes the rule of law and the enforcement of the South China Sea Arbitration Ruling

Beijing promotesRecently, public opinion has paid much attention to the US-China strategic competition in the South China Sea, demonstrated through intense military exercises by both sides. However, all the US’ moves over the past month in the South China Sea show that the United States is strongly promoting law enforcement, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Arbitration Ruling dated July 12, 2016 on the South China Sea. Specifically,

1. On June 1, 2020, the United States sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, protesting China’s demands and aggressive actions in the South China Sea. This letter was signed by Ms. Kelly Craft, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. The letter emphasized: “Specifically, the United States objects to China’s claim to “historic rights” in the South China Sea,” and “the United States notes in this regard that the Tribunal unanimously concluded in its ruling, which is final and binding on China and the Philippines under Article 296 of the UNCLOS, that China’s claim to historic rights is incompatible with the UNCLOS.”

Beijing – The one who is playing victim game

Beijing The one who is playing victim gameOn August 4, 2020, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI) ran an article titled “The situation of Vietnamese Fishing Vessels’ Illegal Activities in the South China Sea” on Wechat. The article provides data of 702 Vietnamese fishing vessels that entered China’s close waters in July 2020, of which 91 fishing vessels operated “illegally” in China’s internal and territorial waters, a sharp increase compared to the 75 ships in June 2020.

It is ridiculous to look at the title of the post because it is the thieves that are shouting. The whole world knows that China is using its fishing vessels as a third force to carry out intrusion, violate the waters of neighboring countries, and carry out the plot of monopolization of the South China Sea. More than that, even in the East China Sea, Chinese fishing vessels also constantly encroach on the Japan’s waters and are chased away by Japan Coast Guard.

China’s strategy of economic self-reliance, under label of ‘dual circulation’

China has been the chief beneficiary of the globalisation of the world economy which began accelerating since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s. This phase of relatively free movement of capital and technology and goods and services enabled China to transform itself into a low-cost manufacturing hub for the world. It became an export powerhouse leveraging its access to the large consuming markets of the US, Europe and Japan. Thanks to its brand of state capitalism and managed markets, China emerged relatively unscathed from the global financial and economic crisis (GFEC) of 2007-8 while the advanced capitalist economies of the West faced prolonged disruption and stagnation. The Western consensus behind globalisation has been eroded as competition from China has sharpened. There is a rise in protectionist sentiments in the West, a greater scrutiny of inward investment particularly for acquisitions in the high-tech sector, and growing sensitivity over loss of intellectual property to Chinese firms.

Philippines pushes deals with Chinese company blacklisted by US

Philippines pushes deals with Chinese company blacklisted by USMANILA -- The Philippines will push ahead with infrastructure projects backed by Chinese companies that have been blacklisted by the U.S., President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson said on Tuesday.

State-owned China Communications Construction Company has faced fresh scrutiny in the Philippines after its subsidiaries were among those sanctioned by Washington last week for their role in Beijing's reclamation and militarization of disputed areas of the South China Sea.

A CCCC consortium, which includes CCCC Dredging Group, one of the companies that have been sanctioned, is teaming up with MacroAsia, controlled by Philippine billionaire Lucio Tan, for a $10 billion Sangley airport project in the province of Cavite, south of Manila.

How Will Trump or Biden End the Trade War With China?

How Will Trump or Biden End the Trade War With ChinaAmid a global pandemic and a summer of natural disasters and social unrest in the United States, it might be easy to forget that the country is still locked in a destructive trade war with China. Not that China itself is far from the minds of the two major U.S. presidential candidates, especially President Donald Trump. During last week’s Republican National Convention, Trump not surprisingly went full throttle on bashing China in his acceptance speech, going as far to say that “China would own the United States” if his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, won the election.

And Trump has recently backed up his words with action: He issued an executive order banning TikTok and slapped sanctions on companies helping China build artificial islands in the contested South China Sea. But the trade war itself has received scant attention, which is unfortunate since the tariffs and other trade restrictions have arguably done more direct damage to Americans than Chinese video-sharing apps and man-made islands thousands of miles away.

So the big question is how Trump or Biden will end it. Or even if they can.

Does The U.S. ‘Have Hand’ Over China?

Does The US Have Hand Over ChinaJerry Seinfeld told us in the good ole 1990s, “We all want the hand. Hand is tough to get. You’ve got to get hand right from the opening.”

For those who never saw that episode of the Seinfeld sitcom, having upper hand can be very important in a relationship. It’s like being a buyer who can walk away, versus the seller who cannot.

The U.S. has the upper hand in its ongoing trade war with China.

Why Trump no longer talks about the trade deficit with China

Why Trump no longer talks about the trade deficit with ChinaAs Donald Trump gears up for the final stretch of the presidential race following the Republican convention, a glaring contrast with his 2016 campaign is his silence on the US trade deficit with China.

Mr Trump took aim at China during the convention over everything from its responsibility for coronavirus to its human rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang. But as the November election grows closer, the president has become conspicuously quiet on trade.

During the 2016 campaign, Mr Trump pledged to get much tougher on trade with China, which he accused of “raping” the US. After launching a trade war with Beijing, he secured a limited trade deal in January. But that agreement looks wobbly and the trade deficit remains stubbornly high.

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