06 March 2018
In the wake of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to Washington, there has been renewed pressure for Australia to undertake assertive freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea. It has also been suggested that France and the United Kingdom should undertake joint patrols in the South China Sea to push back against China.
These suggestions reduce a complex and messy situation into a simple ‘good and bad’ dichotomy with China cast as the ‘bad guy’. When the United States and other extra-regional countries characterise China in this way, they conveniently overlook the fact that by their standards, there are other ‘bad guys’ around the South China Sea. Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam have all claimed restrictions on the freedoms of navigation not unlike those imposed by China.
… Sam Bateman is Professorial Research Fellow at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, University of Wollongong, and Advisor to the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 07/03/2018