Oceans plays decisive role in any country security, economic & political outlook. Very emerging Power in the world tried their best to build formidable Naval Power to materialised it’s vast strategic interest in the world.
Alfred Mayer Maham a US navel strategist once quoted “those who dominate the world oceans will dominate the world” .European Colonial Powers pursued the same strategy,Britain Italy, France, Germany, Portugal Spain etc dominated the world through its cumlsy Naval postures . The Royal navy was incredibly strong before WW2 Britain had more aircraft carrier’s then US posses today
.Access to international water bodies always been a key element of conflict among nations. Svez Canal,( Svez Canal nationalisition & coercive action of France Britain & Israel against Egypt ) Panama Canal, ( newly constructed Canal by Chinese firms in Latin America which may trigger China US confrontation in Latin American region ) straight of Hurmoz,( sole reason of tension among Iran US & her allies in person gulf ) Straight if Malacca,( a narrow strip which is immensely important for international trade & navigation )Straight of Eden ( one of vital reason of Yemen civil war internal & External Powers want to dominate that important chock point ) .
After the end of WW2 in 1947 China asserted her Claim under eleven dash demarcation over whole of South China sea’ two of them were given to the north communist Vietnam as a good well diplomatic gesture. China nine dash assertive policy in South China sea triggered regional antagonism among surrounding states’ Taiwan, Brunei, Philippine, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore & Malaysia .
Strategically, economically,militarily South China region is going to be a future battle field of Power Politics, from 1930 to 1990 Europe, West & Eastern Europe was the epicentre of Power politics but now its Indian ocean, South China see which would be a main theatre of Power show in near Future.
Why China .?
China a growing economic & military power in the world has contestants policy regarding SCS, China claim over SCS is always been, aggressive, repulsive against other claimants states. China want to Dominate that ocean by means of its lucrative strategic importance. 60% China trade, 80% oil imports, & world one third commercial vessels passes through SCS more than 5 trillion worth trade conducting via SCS through a narrow belt Straight of Malacca.
Importance of South China sea.
Economically : South China is just like an artery in human body, one of the important & busiest ocean in the world . World emerging economies laying around SCS,Japan, S Korea, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore & Philippine. All of major Powers has immense economic & Strategic interest in SCS .SCS which posses huge hydrocarbons resources worth of trillions dollar’s, tapped ,untapped oil & Gas resources are the major factors of collective volatility among Claimants states. There is also huge potential of fisheries industry a valid source of earning & food .All the regional countries in SCS posses less amount of hydrocarbons resources, oil & gas always been a reason of conflict in the world. Oil is the devil’s tears where there is oil there will be conflict, great game.
Strategically, SCS is equally important to all of major players, its geostrategic location is always been a reason of conflict. Paracel & Spratly islands are strategically very important. China blatantly constructing artificial island’s which she can use for military purpose to operate its military manoeuvring.
Politically : US under wooing mechanism force countries inside & outside of the region to build multilateral encounter strategic against China . US enjoying friendly relations with all of Claimant’s state in South China sea, SCS is the main reason of current US Vietnam bilateral romanticism a former foe of United in the region. Under Trump administration US tilt toward South China region is broadly evolving against China rapid aggressive posture in SCS .US indo Pacific strategy has underpinned to contain China influence. US quadrilateral partnership with regional Navel Powers, Australia,Japan, India is only meant to subvert China military influence in SCS & Indian ocean.
US navel Might is not unchallengeable now which was first time challenged by Former Soviet union in 1970 once & briefly with impressive blue water Navy with its huge cost. To some historian disintegration of USSR was among the factor that brought USSR collapse less then two decades later. When the cold war ended most the these expensive acquired fleet was left to rust, abandoned in the Arctic’s bases. US which carries 10 nuclear Aircraft carrier’s, with hundreds of destroyers & warships. US Naval budget is higher than Chines total military budget. US also enjoying their allies naval support in SCS region. Washington massive military Aid & security partnership With Japan, S korea Taiwan indicate US frustration for SCS on the price of Beijing growing Military posture. IF China successfully Dominated SCS it will have perilous consequences on Japan ,Taiwan, S Korea economic & security interest. That will also fend of US military presence in SCS. India, Australia Naval Manoeuvrability will be in the gutter.
Challenges for regional Security :
SCS & Indian ocean is going to become a battle field for different reasons, US which almost spend Trillion of dollars on its Naval power, their imperial desire & status quo wouldn’t be healed after possible military stand up against China. US Ronald Reagan, George Washington Aircraft carrier occasionally take their part in patrolling mission to make Free moment of navigation sure of one US nuclear Aircraft carrier is already stationed in Japan. In case of military clash China Sink two of them it means ten thousands Crew’s casualties & billion dollars worth loss to US .
SCS region is full of military confrontation China Japan territorial dispute on Sinkako island (Japan controls ) China Taiwan issue, US military Support to tiny Taiwan state & growing China anger.
US new Indo Pacific policy might increase Chinese military junctures . Under BRI project China maritime policy, desires for new Naval basses in the region, Military bases in Myanmar, Sri Lanka ,& Djibouti Aggravate China future ambitions. China successfully fasten their regional foes in economic, trade connectivity China trade with Japan, India, Vietnam , Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia is bigger in value then US trade with these friendly states.
China & US trying to manipulate it’s existing influence in the region with different tactics & strategies. The only way forward is to change the behaviour of Claimant’s, their approach to SCS .There wouldn’t be another tragedy like Pearl Harbour all of concerns actor’s must adopt restraint policy toward SCS they must respect Int .law &;UNCOLS.
In the long run maintaining peace & Harmony in SCS all regional actors must shunned their mutually discords & political rivalries, extra regional players particularly EU can play it’s magnificent role to halt any possible tragedy in that region. US & China is the real game Changer.
Qaiser Mahmood undergraduate’ student of international relations, International Islamic University Islamabad. The views and opinions in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Millat Times.