‘Winner-take-all’ tack won’t solve sea rows

Admiral Samuel Locklear

Admiral Samuel Locklear

The US military’s commander in the Pacific on Friday called for compromise in Asia’s worsening maritime territorial rows, cautioning against a “winner-take-all” strategy that some nations fear China is pursuing.

US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Samuel Locklear said the region had become the
world’s “most militarized” amid rapid economic growth, deepening the importance of dialogue to ensure the disputes did not lead to armed conflict.

“What’s going to underline that most important is a commitment to the rule of law, a commitment to international forums to solve problems and to solve disputes,” Locklear told a World Economic Forum meeting in Manila.

“You can’t have a winner-take-all attitude. It will require compromise. It will require dialogue.”

Locklear was speaking about the various territorial disputes in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea to Manila) and East China Sea that have endured for decades but worsened in recent years amid perceived rising Chinese assertiveness.

China claims most of the South China Sea, even waters close to the shores of its neighbors and more than 1,000 kilometers from the nearest major Chinese landmass.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, as well as Taiwan, claim parts of the sea, which is home to some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and believed to contain huge deposits of oil and gas.

The disputes have for decades been regarded as a potential trigger for military conflict, and those concerns have risen amid the rising tensions between China and some of its neighbors, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam.

China sent a deep-water oil drilling rig into contested waters in the sea this month, sparking violent protests in Vietnam in which at least four Chinese were reported killed.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said on Wednesday that China’s decision to deploy the oil rig had “seriously threatened peace.”

Locklear also defended US efforts to build up security alliances in Asia, including with countries having territorial disputes with China, following criticism by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

He said these alliances, some going back to the end of World War II, had “generally underwritten security” in the region.

“Things that we’ve done here have helped our economy, have helped the global economy and I would say it have helped China as [they]had helped everybody in this region as well,” Locklear added.

Xi voiced concern also on Wednesday at a Chinese-run security forum in Shanghai over the United States deepening its military alliances in Asia, indicating China felt it was being targeted.

“To beef up an entrenched or military alliance targeted at a third party is not conducive to maintaining common security,” Xi told regional security forum.


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  1. What Chinese Gov is doing now reflects its narrowminded policy and greedy mindset. Its leaders are self convinced that they are doing the right things regarless of other contries” opposition Their evidence shows week and unlawful under in this world where the rules of law are praised, and in fact they coulden”t make any approriate explanation for their claim over the whole sea. The nine dashed line is something that probably one of their reckless leaders had accidentally added to the map and and probably it was his sudden wish to have such large area to help feed their crowd, reduce the burden that the gov have made through militariztion. China’d better learn the lesson from past Germany if their gov is made to really serve their citizems. And China should understand that a lonely power is nothing but a loser.

  2. CHINA IS TARGETED BECAUSE IT IS THREATENING…. the policy of ‘the powerful winner takes all’ is what China is following. China is a very glaring example of an all time bully. China knows they are big now and an economic giant, so it does what they want to do without consultation on any world body or from any of its neighboring country.. Power comes from a barrel of the gun, as Mao tse Tung always says.

  3. We’re hoping that all this things will solved in a peaceful and diplomatic way..A high tech defence weapons it’s not a good way to fixed an issue. .how we considered a good leader and graduated any bachelor degree courses if you failed to handle this..Just follow the rules and all leaders should respect it..

  4. China aggressive stand is to completely control the sealanes navigation under its control everything you see is made in China. So next time all Coastguard you will see patrolling the Spratleys will be all China. China is unfazed of America because of its Billion dollars credit to China. America is completely broke.

  5. In a democratic country like the US, has a mindset of freedom of association, for any country in the world, can join with then as an ally, if they want to, and that is their prerogative. Similarly if these smaller countries in SEA want to be allied with America, that is their own business, regardless of their own intention, and motivation. Now if China, objects to this, perhaps China needs to ask themselves a question, WHY? these alliances are surging, is it because they are being targeted or is it because it is related to their aggressive territorial activities that cause these smaller countries to have anxiety, afraid, that China, is peeling away the territory that belongs to them. In short Chinas activities in SEA is driving their neighbors into the arms of USA for protection. Can anybody blame them? no. China, if you want to, be friendly to your neighbors, help them demarcate/delineate their territories based on UNCLOS, by doing so, you will gain their trust and confidence, they will forget about any alliances, then China becomes their big brother with its sole intention to improve the livelihood of all, instead of being perceived as an enemy to take away all their territories.