What will it take to stop cycle of escalation in the South China Sea?

An analysis of the blog originally posted at http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/03/02/what-will-it-take-to-stop-cycle-of-escalation-in-the-south-china-sea/

Date of publication: March 2, 2016

South China Sea
South China Sea
(Photo credits: amti.csis.org)


Through Reuters’ blog page, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael H. Fuchs wrote his thoughts on the rising tension in Asia. He shared his views on the disputed South China Sea. In addition, he mentioned how his country has been handling the situation in response to its allies’ involvement in the row. Most important of all, he suggested a few things to answer the blog’s title—the focus of his writing.

Mr. Fuchs started his blog with a story on U.S. President Obama’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on September 2015. He relayed Xi’s vow that Beijing would not militarize its outposts in the Spratly Islands. But Beijing somewhat broke its promise when it put surface-to-air missiles on a Paracel outpost.

The blogger cited China’s other “provocative” moves, such as restrictive fishing rules and forceful expulsion of the Philippines from Scarborough Shoal. But it was Beijing’s massive land-reclamation project that concerns other countries. He expressed his fear that China has yet to do much more.

Mr. Fuchs believed that China’s “tactical” actions were a clear assertion of power in the region where few Southeast Asian nations have claims, too, on parts of the sea.

Thus, what will it take to stop the cycle of escalation in the South China Sea? Mr. Fuchs has these answers:

  • A resolution to the South China Sea disputes
  • A definition of what it means to “militarize” outposts in the South China Sea
  • An agreement among claimant countries citing what they can and cannot do in the area
  • A talk between China and America




As an American giving insight on the South China Sea dispute, Mr. Fuchs may appear biased against Beijing. But he is a great blogger. He can present valid sentiments rather than mere accusations. A government official working with the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Mr. Fuchs does his duties well. This quality is clear in the way he writes. His blog is compelling that readers could agree with his ideas on the matter.



I agree with the views the blogger expressed in his write-up, not because I’m a Filipino and my country is an ally of the United States. Even uninvolved countries believe that Beijing is violating international laws with its activities in the waters miles off mainland China. I have to approve the bloggers suggestions to end the rising tension in the disputed area. His proposals could lead to an acceptable judgement on the row among nations.


Technical side:

Mr. Fuchs uses simple words to make his write-up readable and graspable. Yet I find the title too long. If I were to change it, the headline would be, “Ways to Ease Tension in the South China Sea”. SEO wise, the content may not drive enough on-site traffic since it has no inbound links. It has links to contents on other sites though.


Definition of Terms

militarize – to put weapons and military forces in (an area); to give military quality or character to something

harbinger – a person or thing that shows something is going to happen soon, especially something bad

incremental – increasing by regular degrees or additions

tit-for-tat – something, especially something annoying or unpleasant, done to someone because that person has done the same thing to you








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