Key Cooperative Research Institute for Policy Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the P.R.C (2022-2024)

Qi Huaigao,“Sino-U.S. Maritime Competition in the Western Pacific and Its Influence”


Qi Huaigao, “Sino-U.S. Maritime Competition in the Western Pacific and Its Influence,”

Wuhan University Journal (Philosophy & Social Science), Vol. 72, No. 3 (May 2019), pp. 5-15.

Abstract: Sino-US maritime competition in the Western Pacific (WP) is reflected in three aspects nowadays. The first aspect is geo-military competition in which both China and the United States are actively deploying naval forces and have achieved a military balance in the sea area near the fist Island Chain of the WP. The second aspect is geo-economic competition, which concentrates on the maritime connectivity in the WP. China has initiated a “commercial ports chain”whereas the US has established a “military bases chain.” The third aspect is geo-political competition.  China’s maritime claims have been seriously challenged by the American Freedom of Navigation operations (FONOPs) in the seas around China. The US FONOPs claims to maintain international law of the sea, but is actually to seek geo-political interests. Sino-US threefold maritime competition in the WP has exerted complex influences on the construction of Chinese navy and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road as well as on China’s sovereignty. First, China will make efforts to build a first-class navy, which can exclude the US fleets from parts of the WP; but at the same time, China should choose a limited and regional development way in developing the sea power. Second, Chinese companies can invite the US companies to construct and operate the ports in the WP by building 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the Road) together; and China needs to construct a certain number of overseas port bases along the Road. Third, China will continue to oppose the US FONOPs, which threatened China’s sovereignty and security interests; at the same time, China could revise its Law of Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone on the“innocent passage” clause.