Chinese Think Tank sees Very Small Prospect for War between US and China over South China Sea
The Institute for China-American Studies (ICAS), the only Chinese think tank with an office in Washington D.C., believes there's only a "very small chance" the U.S. and China will go to war over the South China Sea while describing U.S. military activity in the region as "more energetic."
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The state-supported think tank also said Japan, which is ramping-up military spending to better thwart China's claim to own its Senkaku Islands, "provides strong support to the U.S. in the South China Sea."
The ICAS study, "Report on the Military of the United States of America in the Asia-Pacific Region," also said naval drills by the U.S. Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Navy were "obviously targeted at China."
The three navies, which together are more powerful than the entire People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), carried out their first naval exercise in July 2015 in the waters off Australia. Another drill was held last April in the Java Sea.
The report further noted the certain deployment of the U.S. anti-missile system called THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) in South Korea in late 2017 will directly undermine the strategic security interests of China.
The report said this small prospect for war also holds for the adjacent areas of the South China Sea, which means the area around the Senkakus and Scarborough Shoal in the Philippines, "where U.S. military activity has never been more energetic.
"It's very possible for President-elect Donald Trump to deploy more vessels in the South China Sea," said Dr. Wu Shicun, ICAS president.
Dr. Wu also noted only a "very small chance" of military conflict in the region but warned China might establish an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea "if the U.S. continues to intensify patrols and low-altitude spying in the region."
"With the Obama administration advancing its strategic pivot and rebalancing toward the Asia Pacific, increased military spending, strengthened alliances and partnerships, and expanded scope of military activity are attestations of the apparent expansion and fast track bolstering of American military presence in the region," according to the report.