Since all members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have deep economic connections with China, including those like Vietnam and the Philippines which have conflicting claims in the South China Sea, they are unlikely to support an escalation of conflict between Beijing and Washington over these claims, according to the article. Sun Jianguo, the head of People’s Liberation Army’s delegation to the recent Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore said China will try its best to maintain peaceful and friendly relationship with Southeast Asian states.
Beijing is seeking to prevent the Southeast Asian states from forming a military alliance with the United States through its establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). At the same time, China will want to improve its relationship with the United States as its influence expands to the Middle East and Central Asia with its “Belt and Road” trade initiatives.
To return a favor for helping to achieve peace and stability in Central Asia, the United States may make a concession to China’s land reclamation activity in the South China Sea, the paper said, arguing that China is using the deficiencies of the United States to take advantage of the states of Southeast Asia. It urged the Japanese government to pay attention to see if the United States will change its attitude regarding Japan’s dispute with China in the East China Sea over the Senkaku islands, as they are known to Japan. China and Taiwan also claim the islands, calling them Diaoyu and Diaoyutai respectively.
Full article: Japanese paper fears US compromise over South China Sea (Want China Times)