06 October 2018
The South China Sea endgame does not necessarily have to devolve into conflict, but rather, fester on as an avenue of tit-for-tat military moves and countermoves maintained under that threshold. It is delusional to expect strategic distrust to dissipate overnight. But an unfortunate mishap arising from inadvertent or accidental clashes between rival forces can indeed emerge quickly and without prior warning. Confidence-building mechanisms, not just at the strategic but operational levels, and professionalism of the servicepeople on the ground, would be the bulwark against such dire eventualities.
…Collin Koh is research fellow at the Maritime Security Programme, at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University based in Singapore
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Last updated on 08/10/2018