Regional stability in the Asia Pacific region depends on consistent US challenges to Chinas excessive claims
[ Page 240-241 ]
Last, even though China presented its position in legal terms to counter and undermine the US and avoid international backlash, the main goal of Chinese coercive diplomacy is to compel the US to stop conducting surveillance activities near sensitive military areas. A review of Chinese writings reveal that it is displeased with US intelligence gathering more generally, even when the platforms are not located in China’s claimed EEZ.97 However, there are long-term implications of any US concessions on this issue. Yielding to pressure may affect China’s future expectations of the effectiveness of the use of military provocation vis-a` -vis the US, which may lead to increases in bilateral tensions and threats to regional security. In the words of Schelling, ‘to yield may be to signal that one can be expected to yield.’98 Furthermore, the regional allies and strategic partners that are hedging their bets against the possibility of US disengagement from the region may interpret compliance with Chinese demands as a lack of US resolve. This would affect the strategic calculations of regional players, especially on how to prioritize their relationships with the US and China.99 Concessions also give legitimacy to China’s EEZ position and potentially to some of China’s territorial claims, which would shift the status quo in a way that is harmful to regional stability. According to Peter Dutton, ‘China’s efforts to alter the balance of maritime rights are part of its overall anti-access strategy, and could have an impact on the perceived legitimacy of US operations in the region, especially in times of crisis.’100 To avoid this, the US needs to maintain its commitment to a strong regional presence and the preservation of freedom of the sea.
"Signaling and Military Provocation in Chinese National Security Strategy: A Closer Look at the Impeccable Incident
." The Journal of Strategic Studies
. Vol. 34, No. 2 (April 2011): 219-244. [ More (4 quotes) ]