mandag 27. april 2020

As the world focuses on Covid-19, is China exploiting the distraction in the South China Sea? Only if you believe US propaganda

A swell of China bashing over its behaviour in the South China Sea during the Covid-19 pandemic has become evident of late. Yes, China has continued its activities in the area. But so have other claimant countries and their contractors. More importantly, so has China’s No 1 accuser and strategic competitor – the United States. As one prominent China critic put it: “A storyline has developed over the last few weeks suggesting that China is taking advantage of global distraction during the pandemic to increase its assertiveness in the South China Sea … [But] China hasn’t changed its behaviour at all in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

He added: “If anything has changed, it is that continuing [these activities] in the middle of a pandemic leaves observers more scandalised than they otherwise might be.” It is unrealistic to expect China to suspend its activities while others proceeded apace. Criticising it for not doing so is to set up a straw man.