UNITED STATES NAVAL STRATEGY IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA TO ENSURE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION
AIR WAR COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
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The United States Navy maintains a near constant presence within the South China Sea with ships either underway or based close by in Singapore, Guam and Japan. The Philippines and Vietnam are the two most active local foils against Chinas growing influence and aggressive activities in the South China Sea. This research paper uses a qualitative approach to argue that the US Navy strategy, in the South China Sea, must use a combination of confrontational and cooperative measures with the Chinese, while cooperating with the Philippine and Vietnamese governments to ensure continued freedom of safe navigation. To begin a summary of some of the significant events will be investigated to set a baseline of where China, the Philippines, Vietnam and the United States currently see themselves and perceive each other in the challenging South China Sea environment. Next, the national strategies, as formally documented, are discussed for the United States, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. The following section focuses on potential ways ahead for the US Navy in the South China Sea to include confrontation, cooperation, isolation, and building partnerships to resolve maritime and territorial disputes. Four recommendations emerge from this paper, which attempt to lay out an appropriate US Naval strategy for the South China Sea. The first recommendation is for the United States to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea UNCLOS. The second recommendation is for the US Navy to maintain both a confrontational and cooperative strategy in the South China Sea regarding China. The third recommendation is for the US Navy to build a closer relationship with the Vietnamese Navy. The final recommendation is for the US Navy to maintain its relationship with the Philippine Navy.
- Military Forces and Organizations