Sanctions on China Possible for South China Sea Actions: USA

Published: July 15, 2020

A top US diplomat has criticized the expansionary tactics played by China in the South China Sea and has also threatened it with possible sanctions in the coming months. The USA has long been protesting against the coercion politics played by Beijing in the region where it claims around 90 per cent of the total area though other countries such as Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam are also equal shareholders in this region.

Background of the South China Sea Issue

The islands in the South China Sea were controlled by Japan during World War II and after its defeat; the control had to be relinquished by Japan, through the Treaty of San Francisco. However, the ownership rights of the islands were not decided clearly. Since 1951, China has been claiming several of these islands. Now, the dispute involves the islands, reefs, banks etc. of the South China Sea and other countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are also party to it. During the last few years, China has established its bases in the region though they have always maintained that it is only for peaceful purposes.

Due to the importance of the region in global trade (An estimated amount of $3.37 trillion of global trade passes through this region every year), the US is also concerned about it. It has vehemently protested against any alleged attempt by China to create a monopoly over the region. However, this is the first time that the US has come out with the threat of sanctions against China over this issue.