AEI outlines new U.S. strategy for South China Sea
A leading U.S. think tank has outlined a five point strategy for the United States to deal with the growing threat of conflict in the South China Sea. Or how to stop the South China Sea becoming a Chinese lake
The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a highly influential Washington D.C. based think tank, has outlined a five point strategy for dealing with the growing threat of conflict in the South China Sea.
Authored by AEI scholars Dan Blumenthal and Michael Auslin, and Research Fellow Michael Mazza, the report said the U.S. should adopt the following approach. (NB: These are excerpts)
1) Demonstrate Diplomatic Leadership:
"Diplomatic efforts should aim at achieving an initial political settlement on territorial disposition and the use of resources in the South China Sea. The initiative should also engage China, but if it refuses to participate in a way conducive to a truly peaceful resolution, the parties should work around Beijing toward a solution.
"Beijing cannot have a veto. At the same time, the United States should also engage in intense bilateral diplomacy with Beijing in an effort to halt its destabilizing activities and bring it to the negotiating table on terms agreeable to Washington and its regional friends and allies."
2) Include a Hard-Power Component:
"The United States should be prepared to back up diplomatic and multilateral security initiatives with the use of military power and other coercive tools."
3) Engage in Multilateral Security Cooperation:
"The United States should encourage regional players to engage in cooperative security efforts. Joint maritime patrols, composed of US and Southeast Asian nations, would be foremost among these activities and would ensure that no country faces intimidation or threat in isolation. Japan, India, and Australia should be invited to participate."
4) Acknowledge the Global Challenge:
"As in other regions, one country is attempting to forcefully change the long-standing territorial status quo in a direct challenge to world order. Alongside its diplomacy backed by power, Washington must counter Beijing’s arguments defending Chinese activities if it is to win the debate in the court of international public opinion. In parallel, the United States should be making its case to NATO allies..."
5) Remember US Priorities:
"The United States should aim to pursue a resolution of the maritime territorial disputes that is peaceful, not a result of Chinese bullying, and consistent with vital US interests in the sea -- notably, that it remains part of the global commons rather than becoming a Chinese lake."
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