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article imageOp-Ed: Increasing tensions between China and US pose risk of conflict

By Ken Hanly     Jun 25, 2020 in Politics
Experts on US-China relations claim that as tensions between the two countries escalate specific incidents have a much greater chance of exploding into actual war. Experts claim that communication between the two governments needs to be strengthened.
Chinese Think Tank urges better communication
A report from China's National Institute for South China Seas, was more moderate in response to US actions compared to some recent government denunciations. The Institute warned that worsening of military ties would increase the possibility of armed conflict between the two countries. Wu Shicun head of the institute said at a media briefing: "Stable military relations ... must become the stabilising factor in bilateral relations." The institute warned that channels of communication should remain open such as a hotline set up way back in 2008 between the US and Chines defense departments.
US and Chinese ship nearly collided last September
Wu said: “I think the risks of conflict are rising, especially after the near-collision between the USS Decatur guided-missile destroyer and China’s destroyer the Lanzhou in September in the South China Sea." In September of 2018 the USS Decatur was performing what the US calls a "freedom of navigation" operation and it came within 41 meters (130 feet) of the Lanzhou close to the Gaven Reef which China claims as its territory. China accused the US of taking provocative action.
Communication links between China and the US are deteriorating
Wu noted that China and the US were engaged in rivalry on many fronts, and that there was political trust building up between the two. This had led to many intergovernmental communication channels simply shutting down. The institute reported that communication between the two countries had been in sharp decline singe 2018. The deterioration was hastened when two years ago the US withdrew an invitation to China to participate in the large scale multinational naval exercises known as Rim of the Pacific.
No sign that two countries interested in repairing relationships
The Trump administration has claimed it is in a great power competition with China. Trump has even spoken of entirely decoupling from China a move that would be disastrous for both countries. The US has increased the number of troops in the Asia-Pacific region to 375,000 and has 60 percent of US Navy ships in the region. Neither side wants an outright war between the two countries that could be disastrous for both sides but there seems little appetite for improving relations between the two countries a move that could benefit them both.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about China US relations, National Institute for South China Seas, Tensions between China and the US
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