AMIDST the coronavirus pandemic, the United States and China have been engaged in a cat-and-mouse game in the South China Sea. The confrontation could be disastrous for the global economy should there be a miscalculation from either side.
The Chinese government occupies a higher moral ground and has legitimacy in the issue. The South China Sea is used for centuries by the Chinese people for trade. On the other hand, the US in a bid to stir trouble is extending military and financial support to countries which also stake a claim to sovereignty over the disputed waters.
What compels other countries to claim sovereignty? The South China Sea offers multiple economic benefits. Optimistic estimates state that the sea contains almost 211 billion barrels of oil, 190 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, 10 per cent of all the world’s fishery, while 30pc of world’s shipping trade is carried through the South China Sea.
In the light of the above, the other neighbouring countries in this dispute should sit down with Beijing to settle matters rather than become an unwitting tool of a country that has no business to meddle in the affairs of a far-off region.
Muhammad Bakhsh Bhanbhro
Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2020