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Can China and US seize the chance for compromise at Strategic and Economic Dialogue?

2015-06-23 14:11:19       source:South China Morning Post

By Mark J. Valencia


In a sense, China's decision on an air defence identification zone in the South China Sea is in the hands of Washington and Tokyo.

The US is hosting high-level talks with China today and tomorrow to address their growing array of differences. The teams, led by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese state councillor Yang Jiechi , are set to discuss China's reclamation activities in the South China Sea and the possibility of Beijing declaring an air defence identification zone there. Here are a few things the teams might consider.

The zone decision depends most of all on whether China decides it needs it to protect its national security. In an ironic twist, that in turn depends on the military activities of the US. The major aerial threat to China's national security from the South China Sea is America's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights off the mainland coast.

Although the aircraft stay outside China's 12-nautical-mile territorial sea, these are not all passive intelligence collection activities. They include active probing, listening and even interference with Chinese military communications, as well as the tracking of its new nuclear submarines.

Read more: http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1824771/can-china-and-us-seize-chance-compromise-strategic-and