Source:Global Times Published: 2015-10-30 0:33:01
The USS Lassen's patrol near the Nansha Islands in the South China Sea kicked off direct rivalries between China and the US in the region. This is where the two compete for interests and rules.
China has built an airstrip several thousand meters' long on an island that is under China's control. The newly added territory pushed the outpost of Chinese territory toward the frontier of Nansha. This is a strategic extension.
China did this in accordance with international law. These inhabitable islands can boost the economic development of the South China Sea region. China has reiterated these islands are for civilian use. However, when China's core interests are challenged, these islands can serve a military role. Such potential unnerves countries such as the US.
The US has no solutions to prevent China from land construction, because such obstruction does not work in the sense of international law. The position of China's land-building is where different strategic points converge. The US and Japan would have calculated that the Strait of Malacca is within the radius of Chinese aircraft above the reefs. However, such calculations have no grounds in international law.
Through Lassen's patrol, the US has comforted its allies in the region as well as saved its own face. However, it did not exert any influence on China's land-building. China has been firm in its moves, and the next step for the US may be bargaining with China over the usage of those lands.
Generally, the US did not pick the right point to spar with China. In the issue of land construction, China has overwhelming advantages over the US, as China has legitimacy to construct land and it is illegitimate for the US to obstruct this.
Meanwhile, China boasts powerful engineering capacity and strategic determination. The US has no cards to play except sending its patrol ships. If the US keeps up these patrols, it will only provide reasons for China to speed up its actions. China's advantages cannot be challenged by US patrols.
If there are people who consider the rivalry as a quarrel between China and the US, it is the Americans that should be annoyed by this contest. Chinese people don't have to be irritated by US actions.
If the US Navy repeatedly appears around the Nansha Islands, it will only ensure that these islands will have a strategic military role. China's land construction will continue. The process, like a movie, may be full of surprises, but the end is fixed.