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Should there be a check on China's growing military dictatorship in South China Sea?

Should there be a check on China's growing military dictatorship in South China Sea?
South China Sea is part of Pacific Ocean and is considered rich in natural resources. It also holds a significant geo-political advantage for China and hence, China wishes to exert its numero uno status on this water body. Off late, China has started acting tough and is aggressive over the territorial claim over the sea. It has warned other countries, like Vietnam, to stop any activity in the sea and to seek its permission over any exploration program taken up by these countries. No wonders other countries in the East are simmering with anger and express their outrage on the alleged dictatorial attitude adopted by the dragon.

Reasons in favor of China
  • Chinese might – China is a superpower and is also very aggressive in its dealings, while many countries claim the ownership of this water body; it is China that has made its business to drive other countries out of the stretch. And what has added salt to the injury is the fact that, the countries like Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam etc that share their boundaries with the sea, the Chinese simply refuse to listen to their grievances while going hung-ho over their claims. That China has military and economic might has also propelled others to keep quiet in the region and it serves Chinese interests well.
  • Inflexible attitude – Chinese refuse to budge from their stand and even after multiple back channel diplomacy stints the status eventually remains status quo. There are many examples to clear this strategy; it has single handedly carved numerous territorial claims on Taiwan, Tibet Aksai Chin, Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and now South China Sea. The Chinese strategy is to wear the enemy down with consultations and numerous talks but remain unbinding in its resolve.
  • Resources – Chinese want the best pie, the ‘Me and only Me’ approach makes it difficult to deal with Chinese. Countries like Malyasia and forums like ASEAN have already softened their approach to make dialogue possible. But Chinese wish to have sole ownership in the area and milk them to their own benefit hence; it is in China’s own interest that it drives other players out.
Reasons against China
  • Might will wither diplomatic advantage - Frequent use of military might will dry goodwill in international community. China has been under extreme scrutiny over its dalliance with North Korea, Pakistan and Iran, the failed states of the polity. It has also pilfered intelligence over nuclear weapons with many countries and even in recent US elections both the candidates have voiced their concerns over growing and aggressive China.
  • Popularity decline - China is viewed with suspicion and chasm, and that is its own doing. Even Pakistan, its main partner, has seen angry demonstrations against Chinese intervention in its internal affairs.
uploaded Rayhan Uz Zaman
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