Monday, March 14, 2016

Development Pacts Could Defuse #SouthChinaSea Tensions

The projects also would represent a major step toward the realization of China's Maritime Silk Road and one One Belt, One Road projects concepts of a more integrated Asian energy and trade economy. The projects also would mark a major step toward building the first regional interconnections for State Grid Corp of China's proposed Global Energy Grid.
Given the above, establishing JDAs in the South China Sea connected by building multilaterally-useful infrastructure solves several pressing regional political problems at once.
Perhaps most important, it saves face all around. It offers the opportunity for mutually-beneficial climb downs by all sides from increasingly aggressive displays of maritime nationalism in the South China Sea that could spark war through an accident at sea.
It achieves this by enabling China to claim it's dealing with territorial disputes in the South China Sea only bilaterally. At the same time, it enables smaller countries like Vietnam and the Philippines to claim precedents for cooperative behavior in the South China Sea.
The unattractive alternative that looms in the background, of course, is war.

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