Expert: U.S. won't retreat from South China Sea easily

中美南海博弈不会平息,美国不会轻易撤离

Source
China Military Online
Editor
Li Jiayao
Time
2017-11-20

最近,美国总统特朗普亚洲行备受国际社会瞩目。在南海议题方面,相比中国与东盟处理南海事务方面的凝心聚力,中国与越南、中国与菲律宾保持着双边关系发展势头方面的良好互动,美国作为南海区域外力量,其对南海局势的把控能力已不如以前,在很多方面似乎也力不从心。一些观察人士甚至据此断言,美国在南海“大势已去”。果真如此吗?笔者以为,事情远非这么简单。

BEIJING, Nov 14 (ChinaMil) -- U.S. President Donald Trump's recent tour of Asia attracted close attention in the international community.

China and ASEAN are making united efforts to properly deal with the South China Sea issue, and China has maintained sound bilateral relations with Vietnam and the Philippines.

In comparison, the U.S., a country outside the South China Sea region, has much less control over the situation and seems powerless in many aspects.

Some observers said that the U.S. "has lost it" in the South China Sea. Is it true?

首先,美国不甘于也不会轻易“撤出”南海。

First, the U.S. won't retreat from the South China Sea easily.

有别于奥巴马政府将南海作为其实施“亚太再平衡”战略的重要抓手,特朗普政府在南海问题上的调门和聚焦度有所降低,这一方面是因应于其“美国优先”的施政总纲,另一方面是国际热点问题的转换,朝核、伊核问题等被摆在了白宫椭圆形办公室最醒目的位置,总体上体现了新的美国决策层在战略思维和取向方面的偏好。但这并不等于美国要将在东南亚多年苦心经营而获取的权力拱手相让,尤其是让中国顺势来填补这一权力空缺。

Unlike the Obama administration, which took the South China Sea as an important pivot of its Asia-Pacific Rebalancing strategy, the Trump government is less focused on that region partly because of its "American Priority" strategy and partly because of the shift in international hotspots as the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and Iran nuclear issue are high on the agenda of the Oval Office.

This reflects the inclination of America's new decision makers in strategic thinking and direction, but it doesn't mean America will easily give up the power it has established in Southeast Asia over long period, particularly if that power will be taken over by China.

特朗普政府最近提出的极具雄心的“印度洋-太平洋”概念,既像是之前的“亚太再平衡”战略的扩大版,也像是美国“印太战略”正式推出前的试水。南海素有亚洲“地中海”之称,作为连接印度洋和太平洋的海上要冲,堪称印太地缘大棋盘上的“棋眼”。美国要推进新的亚洲战略,岂可能对这一区域失去影响力乃至掌控力?美军一而再地变本加厉实施所谓南海“航行自由”行动就是明证。

The Trump administration recently put forth the ambitious "Indian Ocean-Pacific Ocean" concept, which is like an extended version of the previous "Asia-Pacific Rebalancing" strategy and a test before the formal presentation of the "Indo-Pacific Strategy".

Known as the Mediterranean Sea in Asia, the South China Sea is a critical juncture that connects the Indian Ocean with the Pacific Ocean and is like a stronghold on the Indo-Pacific geopolitical chessboard.

How could the U.S. lose the influence or control of this region if it is to promote a new Asian strategy? This is evidenced by the American military's enhanced operations for the so-called "freedom of navigation" in the South China Sea.

其次,美国在地缘博弈方面纵横捭阖、辗转腾挪的能力有目共睹。

Second, America's ability to maneuver in the geopolitical game is clear to all.

诚然,美国当前在南海区域“失势”不少,但我们切不可因此就低估美国战略反思和自我修复的能力。类似的例子自二战以来不胜枚举,很值得总结和借鉴。

It may have lost some control in the South China Sea region, but we should in no way underestimate its ability of strategic self-reflection and self-recovery. There are many pertinent examples since the WWII that we can refer to and draw on.

此前,奥巴马政府崇尚“巧实力”战略,借在南海大打纷争牌不断“消费”中国,一时间自以为计。殊不知最后却用力过猛,硬碰硬“死磕”中国,其注定要为自身战略战术上的偏执和自命不凡付出代价。现如今,特朗普政府实施“战略收缩”,将目光更多投向国内,把解决国内问题作为施政优先选项,这未尝不是一种美国版的“韬光养晦”和“休养生息”?假以时日,当美国自身“元气恢复”,不排除在南海卷土重来,“制造”出更大的波澜。

The Obama government pursued the "deft power" strategy and hyped up the South China Sea disputes to "consume" China. It thought that was a clever move, but out-smarted itself and paid a price for its strategic and tactical stubbornness and arrogance.

The White House today implemented "strategic contraction" and prioritized solving issues at home. Isn't that an American version of "hiding and recovering its capabilities and biding its time"? When America has recovered, it's possible that it will come back to the South China Sea and make bigger waves.

最后,美国在南海有着可资利用的长期“劫才”。

At last, the U.S. has a "kozai" in the South China Sea that it can use for a long time.

有鉴于南海争议的复杂性以及有关声索国权利主张之间的结构性矛盾,短期内寄望于彻底解决南海问题并不现实,其注定是一个长期的解决过程,其间的波折、反复在所难免。某种程度上,这也就意味着美国在南海有着长期的、低成本的筹码进行“打劫”。因此,中美南海博弈要风物长宜放眼量,切不要被一时的态势所左右,我们经略南海依然任重而道远。

The South China Sea disputes are complicated, and the assertions of relevant claimants have structural conflicts, so it's unrealistic to thoroughly solve the issue in the short term. It's bound to be a long process with many twists and turns.

In a way, that means the U.S. has long-term and low-cost chips to "hijack" the South China Sea issue. Therefore, we must adopt a long-term view about the South China Sea game between China and the U.S. and not be swayed by temporary and short-term situations. The way to solve the South China Sea issue is long and hard.

 

(作者是海南师范大学海上丝绸之路研究院研究员)

The author is Liu Feng, a researcher with the Maritime Silk Road Institute of Hainan Normal University.

 

 

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