Greetings and Good Day,
“Birds flyin’ high, you know how I feel…It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me.
And I’m feelin’ good. Fish in the sea,… Sleep in peace when day is done: that’s what I mean,
And this old world is a new world and a bold world for me…” from the Lyrics of Feeling Good.
Undoubtedly it is paramount of our age, to come up with a perspective of the upcoming, a dimension of certitude in ever unstable surroundings.
How can the global citizens perceive a new dawn from the old world, especially when all the G-3 nations ( US, China, Russia) are going through a path of minor growth and concentrating their resources to phasing up their defenses ?
While it can be easily accepted that four topics (Nuclear deal with Iran, Shifting boundaries in The Middle East, Russian strategic vision and its ramifications into Donbas, the Chinese centennial rise and primacy) are attracting most of the attention of experts in world affairs, it is a fact that the Spratlys Islands gained significant momentum ahead, presently.
If it is true that all claimant nations to the Spratlys committed major malpractices, it is also true that none of these nations was capable to transform a liability into an opportunity.
What is catchy is the US evolving stand vis a’ vis the Chinese rise in general and versus its own historic neutral position in the SCS in particular. The US is concerned to protect the freedom of navigation and of the seas from one side, and now that China is dredging and building runways for two airports, a situation might be gathering from another side. There is growing fear about international sea trade, where strategic positioning of assets will contemplate a rude perception in international relations.
The US as a world leader, couldn’t come up with counseling to the contenders, beyond courtesy calls to compromise and negotiate, and China neither could advance a solution or a conversation on that matter.
However for a leadership of engineers that is China, it has more to lose from a standstill and a deteriorating climate in world affairs that can impact its “One belt, one road” silky vision. Hence the initiative to a peaceful solution is only Chinese.
From the prism of national interests, China has a lot to gain when it will manage the SCS tensions in a successful way.
Scenarios can be many, but one in particular, can offer shared sovereignty of the Spratlys, coupled to a concept of co-administration, where claimant nations will create an international consortium ( shares can be held by governments) to generate revenue from Islands with mostly shallow waters.
China and Vietnam bilateral trade may well exceed 70 billion dollars in 2015, if it keeps the trend of 2014, and here questions arise about the importance of the bamboo network in securing further trade increases.
It is known that revenue can come from Oil, fish and natural gas, and the concept is to make the Islands one economic zone for all, “Terra Omnes” , where helipads and drone pads, can deliver goods on board of ships, and/or marina’s can offer safety to yachts roaming the seas.
Imagine a rig offshore linked to an Island, fueling research assets for weather, fauna, undersea resources, maritime security and much more.
How China will create opportunities in the Spratlys, will unavoidably influence the Permanent Court of Arbitration, moving in unexplored legal territory, and by extension the Paracels and the Senkakus outstanding issues, much to the advantage of the Chinese peaceful rise, harmony and unity.
In nautical miles there are 625 from Sanya in Hainan to the Mischief reef in the Spratlys, yet there are 363 from Sanya to Nha Trang .
How can founding partners to the AIIB start their work, in the middle of a diatribe of the Islands?
China needs to rely on port facilities worldwide from Pakistan to Namibia and from Djibouti to Sudan to ensure maritime safety, but it also needs to assure the rest of the world about the true mechanism of sharing and togetherness, by new norms, conduct and attitude it will cleverly and successfully mentor.
Global trade will benefit a lot from two airports, whenever the principle of proximity to Vietnam and Taipei, will be the incentive for China to create opportunities.
“….unless and until we offer a description or critique by directly uncover-ing or realizing the dominant paradigms upon which this age relies, then our description or critique will be no more than a description or critique at the same logical level as the age.” Page 4 , Introduction, Rethinking Chinese Jurisprudence and Exploring its Future; Deng Zhenglai