With Tensions Rising, Asia Should Not Delay Settling South China Sea Disputes

The US military is challenging China’s claims to 90 percent of the South China Sea that includes some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. “The unpredictability of the American presidential election now heightens the risk because inevitably it will come with ramped-up anti-China campaign rhetoric,” reports BBC journalist Humphrey Hawksley. The United States and countries in Asia are divided internally over whether intervention is the correct approach considering that the nations of East Asia are tightly interconnected through trade and economic ties, and the country that instigates conflict could expect condemnation. The governments of the region could unite and take control of the matter. Hawksley notes that “A deal struck between Washington and Beijing could trample on East Asia’s more nuanced interests that might be forgotten amid horse-trading on a basket of global issues.” He points to the region’s expanding institutions and networks, and concludes that Asian leaders would display global responsibility by resolving the conflicts over maritime borders quickly, fairly and on their own, without depending on the United States as referee or enforcer. – YaleGlobal

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