Tensions in the South China Sea will be an important part of high-level talks due to take place in Washington D.C. next week between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi. U.S. officials have underlined their commitment to maintaining dialogue with China regarding the territorial disputes, as well as the issue of cyber security, human rights and climate change.
Growing international concern over Chinese intentions
Dennis Richardson, the secretary of the Australian defense department, has also weighed in on the tensions in the region. “The land reclamation activity by China in the South China Sea has been at a pace and scale in the last two years beyond anything we have previously seen. It dwarfs what the other claimant states have done, and the size of the land reclamation does raise questions about its purpose,” he said.
Concerns are growing over Beijing’s plans in the South China Sea, and the fact remains that there is little that can be done to halt the work. China is becoming increasingly belligerent in the region as building work continues, and even told a U.S. surveillance plane to leave the airspace near the new islands a few weeks ago.
Some commentators believe that politicians in Beijing are testing Washington’s willingness to act in the region, and challenging U.S. primacy in Asia, where China has long believed that it deserves more respect and authority.