Can America be lured to China’s side?

China and the United States agreed to boost military ties and counter-terrorism cooperation, but can China somehow lure the US on its side in maritime disputes or it is probably not very realistic prospect, and why? Read few comments.

Bernt Berger, Senior Research Fellow/Head of Asia Program, Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP)

The US and China are confronted with an ambiguous relationship. On the one hand they need each other in trade relations and cooperation on a range of regional issues in South, Central and East Asia.

The territorial disputes are a major obstacle in the relationship because the US feels obliged to maintain traditional alliances and obligations. The question is how far countries such as the Philippines or Vietnam can go in order to retain US support. As China, Japan as strong nationalist domestic responses and the US does surely not want to be drawn into this kind of conflict.

In thus far the “pivot to Asia” rhetoric needs to be more clearly defined. This will not be easy without provoking responses in the region. Especially Japan does seemingly not want to rely on it ties with the US alone and has begun to rethink its constitutional commitment to self-defense. The Chinese government has, by contrast, repeatedly emphasized the negative consequences of an US-China stand-off and called for reestablishing the relationship of the two countries on equal footing with clearly defined parameters.

In order to avoid the fueling of existing conflicts and arms dynamics in the region, the question for the US is not with whom to side. Such a decision would not be in line with the requirements of a status quo power. Rather if the US wants maintain credibility in the region it will have to make unmistakably clear clearly what its position and role in the region will be.

Kerry BrownExecutive Director, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney

It is highly unlikely, largely because the US are treaty allies of Japan and the Philippines who are involved in the disputes, so would place its allegiance with them as supporters of global rules based tendencies, rather than China. But it would not want to be manipulated into defending, in particular, Japan over these issues, and has consistently said that it takes no stance on the historic basis of the various claims, but supports their being dealt with according to international law and peacefully. If Abe or anyone else therefore tries to steer the US towards supporting them in more aggressive stances, then it is likely the US will resist.

Zhiqun ZhuAssociate Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Bucknell University

I do not think China will or can lure the US to its side regarding maritime disputes.  The US and China have different interests here.  Also, since several US allies are involved in the disputes with China, the US will definitely side with its allies instead of China.


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