The South China Sea issue has become one of the major irritants in the China-US relations in recent years, over which the public opinion in the two countries are very critical of each other. There are even frictions in the sea between the two navies. The South China Sea seems like an outlet for the rivalry and confrontation that are building up of late between China and the US. As a result, the two sides seem to be reassessing each other’s intentions on a strategic level. The latest rhetoric is about “militarizing the South China Sea”, and on the part of the US, announcements to carry out “freedom of navigation operational assertions”. Hawkish voices are growing louder in both sides of the Pacific. Such frictions surrounding the South China Sea are leading to further strategic mistrust and hostility. The American scholar David M. Lampton was straightforward when he observed worriedly in reference to the existing situation, “A tipping point in the U.S.-China relations is upon us”. It is obvious that the South China Sea issue is a major catalyst for the troubled China-US relations, if not the key contributing factor.
Source: The National Interest