(Global Times) 08:16, August 28, 2014
China and the US started a two-day meeting at the Pentagon on Wednesday to negotiate a code of conduct on the high seas, in the wake of a Chinese fighter jet intercepting a US spy plane near the Hainan Island. Although the meeting was set up before this incident, it is believed the near-miss will make a difference during the negotiations.
Given the fact that Washington’s determination to continue its short-range surveillance of China is as strong as China’s commitment to drive US planes away, whether the 2001 mid-air collision could recur has become a Sword of Damocles above their heads.
The new strategic trajectory of Asia-Pacific, namely China is growing stronger and a containment circle drawn by the US and its allies is taking shape, is changing the mindsets of both sides to define specific conflicts. If the 2001 incident happened again, the possibility of an all-out crisis between both sides will increase.
China’s rise is increasing the odds that China and the US are sliding into “mutual distrust.” A feasible way to avoid such a crisis is that both sides should reduce the chances that their vessels and planes engage in confrontation in international seas and airspace.
As of now, the confrontations usually happen in Chinese coastal waters and air spaces. The US takes it for granted, but China feels its core interests are being challenged.
There are two ways to address this kind of disputes: Washington withdraws its surveillance to an extent that China can accept, or China develops its surveillance technology and starts military reconnaissance near US territories. The latter option has become increasingly possible as China’s military technologies are advancing.
There is no doubt that Washington will find more evidence to prove that China and the US can only be adversaries, and it is possible that more conflicts will make both sides lose control of the situation. But China has no choice if Washington doesn’t restrain itself.
It seems that both China and the US are willing to build a strategic mutual trust, but the communication mechanisms are not working well.
The US says it has no plan to contain China, and China also says it has no intention to drive US out of Asia. But the US wants to maintain its absolute superiority in strength, and China is sparing no effort to bridge the gap.
Thus, it is hard for Washington and Beijing to reach a consensus on this issue, and they have to get used to each other.
But Washington must note that making troubles on China’s doorstep can only stir up China’s determination to defend its legitimate interests. In this regard, the US is much less determined than China.
China can put up a tough stand against the US in this short-range surveillance matter, and develop its capability to conduct such surveillance to the US as soon as possible, as long as China will not threaten the national security of the US.
Categories: Escalation / Destabilization Conflict