Why Conflict In The South China Sea Matters


Andrew Pavlovic, School Newspaper Treasurer

While most people can identify the words “south,” “China,” and “sea,” when they are combined together to describe one geographic area, too few Americans understand the seriousness of the region.

“I have to be honest, until a student last year (Michael Picardi) explained in detail about the events in the South China Sea, I was unaware as well,” said social studies teacher Mr. Simone. “And I consider myself to be a well-informed citizen.”

The South China Sea has been in the news for a while recently, and very few people know why. When you boil it down, the following facts are very important:

* It is an area of water between China, Vietnam and the Philippines. There are islands there as well.
* China has been making territorial claims in the Sea, which the United Nations does not recognize.
* China has been making artificial islands in the Sea, and turning them into military bases, which could have nuclear missiles deployed onto them, in striking distance of Hawaii.
* Several countries in the region want to oppose China’s territorial claims but do not have the strength to do so.

“The conflict in the South China Sea is currently one of the most multifaceted yet underrated global geopolitical issues,” said senior Sophia Ramcharitar.

For the last couple of months, the actions of China have led to many diplomatic and economic issues for the United States. Despite the concerns from many countries, China continues to send military personnel into waters it does not own. China is probably trying to gain more power due to the potential for fishing and oil in the region. The United Nations Security Council, which China is a permanent member of, is concerned about this action.

“The international community should pay closer attention to the infringements on national sovereignty and reinforce its commitment to the principles of international jurisdiction,” said Ramcharitar. “While the numerous territorial disputes in the region directly affect Asian-Pacific nations, the outcomes of such conflicts can have significant implications for global resource sharing.”

There is no question that the Trump Administration will be faced with this issue as a very important part of American foreign policy. President Trump recently stated that he will support the One-China policy, a doctrine that recognizes the government of China and not that of Taiwan. It will be interesting to see how this decision impacts the conflict in the South China Sea.

“If the conflicts in the South China Sea are brought to platforms such as the International Court of Justice, this institutions that have been labeled ineffective by world leaders can regain much needed credibility in their capabilities to settle other conflicts,” said Ramcharitar.

This prominent, but little-known issue, will not be going away any time soon. The Shield plans on covered any events in the future.