A closer look shows that the SCS is also linked – thanks to trade – to the Strait of Malacca – a vital strait coveted by the superpowers and by China itself. The strait connects the SCS with the Indian Ocean. CHINA’S ECONOMIC SECURITY The first step to a possible long-term compromise in the SCS is to understand why China has acted like it did over a sea that affects its territorial integrity. While Beijing is seeking the consolidation of its security perimeter, it is also encroaching on the rights of claimant countries that hail from the Asean region. In its attempt to protect its own territorial integrity, China has wreaked havoc in the area, establishing itself as the undisputed, but controversial military power. Yet it is the economic aspects surrounding the conflict that have far too often been overlooked. The crisis has the potential to disrupt the trade that transits via the SCS. With a conflict that may endure for a longer time than expected and no concrete resolution in sight, a greater sense of responsibility must prevail among the warring factions. As the second-largest economy in the world, and with over 60 percent of its trade in value travelling by sea, China’s economic security is closely tied to the SCS, according to chinapower.csis.org. With the economic impact taken into consideration, Asean and China must find some common grounds that will allow them to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict. It is not only about the security of the thousands of vessels crossing the SCS and the territorial integrity of the parties involved, but also the livelihoods of the people who depend on this shipping lane. But should Asean members ignore the importance of the economic needs of the rising Chinese nation? If Asean can find common ground on the economic importance of the SCS with Beijing, it will open the door for major economic prospects in the most militarised seas in the world. This may turn the tide in the problematic Asean-China relationship.
AINUDDIN KIBZAI Current Affairs-2020 ESHAAL KIBZAI IBIBZAI2 295 A PERMANENT SOLUTION Former Malaysian Foreign Minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar delivered a keynote address at an event in Kuala Lumpur in 2016, discussing the PCA ruling and the need to find alternative solutions to the problem. “Asean should use the economic potentials in the SCS to deal with China on the issue. Economic exploitation of the disputed seas could help settle the issue,” he said. To achieve that, Mr. Syed Hamid said Asean should find common grounds as an organization. He added that it should set aside the differences among the member countries over the thorny SCS issue. This, he said, would help the organization overcome the dispute with China in the resource-rich sea.
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- Summer '12
- Dr. James
- Economics, People's Republic of China, BRI