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Scholar: China’s Restraint Will not Resolve Dispute over South China Sea

On July 20, 2011, Nanfang Daily reported on comments that Zhao Kejin, an associate professor at Tsinghua University, made regarding the South China Sea issue. Zhao argued that China should make a strategic commitment to defend the South China Sea. Zhao explained Deng Xiaoping’s strategic vision established in the 1980s: "Sovereignty rests with China; set aside disputes; and engage in joint development.” Zhao stated, “’Sovereignty rests with China’ is the principle and premise; ‘setting aside disputes’ is a tactic and a method; and ‘joint development’ is the goal and the direction.”

As other countries test the waters in the South China Sea, “China’s strategic communities are divided. Some people think we should exercise restraint and continue to buy time for strategic opportunities for China’s modernization. Others hold that China should take a tough stance and do not even rule out the possibility of using force. In fact, neither of these two views grasps the fundamental issue of the South China Sea. The ultimate South China Sea dispute is whether the parties deny the consensus that ‘regardless of any disputes or whether we engage in joint development, sovereignty rests with China.’” For those who attempt to challenge China’s sovereignty over the South China Sea, “regardless of which party it is, China should take a clear stance and should not rule out any options, including the use of force and war to defend its sovereignty.”

Source: Nanfang Daily, July 20, 2011