Weeks ago, our team warned that there would be likely heightened tension between China and the United States. There were two main reasons for this. First, the State Visit to the US of Chinese President Xi Jinping received unexpected limited media coverage across the US and roughly led to no breakthrough at all, except China’s commitment to not cyber-spy for economic reasons which even high-ranking elected officials on the Hill questioned almost immediately.
Second, China is increasingly building up its presence both in world finance, with the AIIB and efforts to make Yuan global currency, and in geopolitics with the ongoing construction of military sites on and off – sometimes artificial – islands in the Pacific.
On the US side, the US Marine Corps announced the sending of 15% of its force to the Pacific and Admiral John Richardson, the US chief of naval operations, emphasized his country “will exercise freedom of navigation wherever international law allows,” namely in the China Sea where the Chinese government has constantly reclaimed sovereignty on a number of islands and reefs for decades.
In addition to the somehow disappointing Xi’s visit to the US, what the two countries’ media tell about the ongoing developments in the Pacific shows the Sino-American relationship has quickly weakened.