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China's strategy for development of resources in S. China Sea (2)

(People's Daily Online)

08:47, September 19, 2012

As the policy of "safeguarding sovereignty and shelving disputes" has been marginalized, the principle of "joint development" has naturally failed to be implemented effectively or produce any tangible results.

In fact, disputes over oil and gas in the South China Sea have become an international issue due to the intervention of the United States and some other outside powers. In such a complex, sensitive, and potentially explosive situation, the use of military force may only bring losses to all parties involved, so the Chinese government will continue to use smart strategies to settle the disputes.

China should focus on developing its oil and gas resources independently, while still seeking to conduct "joint development" in disputed sea areas with related countries.

The United States has taken firm steps to "return to Asia," making it unrealistic to expect the superpower to stay out of the South China Sea issue. However, China can still deal with or even counterbalance the United States through certain measures, including joining forces with Russia and enhancing cooperation with U.S. oil companies in developing oil resources in the South China Sea to increase common interests with the United States.

Striking down enemies one by one is China's core strategy for dealing with the other five countries that each claim parts of the South China Sea. As Indonesia and Brunei's sovereignty claims have little overlap with China's nine-dotted line, and the two countries have not issued any clear territorial claims, China can increase investment and support for the two countries.

As for Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia, China can impose economic sanctions against them and restrict imports from the three countries through a variety of trade measures. If China can bring huge economic losses to these risk takers and weaken the leadership of their ruling parties, these countries will definitely return to the negotiating table. The real victory in safeguarding territorial waters and natural resources is not defeating enemies, but intimidating them into not initiating a vicious game with China over oil and gas resources in the South China Sea in the first place.

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