South China sea tensions escalate due to external interference: Chinese diplomat

According to senior Chinese diplomat Sun Weidong, the primary security challenge in the South China Sea originates from external forces, notably the U.S., which has fostered regional confrontations and escalated military activities, undermining the rights of littoral nations.

In a recent statement, senior Chinese diplomat Sun Weidong emphasized that the escalating tensions in the South China Sea are primarily driven by external forces, with the United States playing a pivotal role. Sun Weidong asserted that these external actors are manipulating regional politics and promoting confrontations among various camps, thereby exacerbating disputes in this strategically critical area.

Sun’s remarks reflect China’s long-standing view that foreign interventions, particularly those by the U.S., are the root cause of instability in the South China Sea. The region is a major maritime crossroads, significant for international shipping, and rich in natural resources, making it a focal point for geopolitical contestation. Sun argued that external forces, under the guise of safeguarding “freedom of navigation,” have been advancing military deployments and conducting operations that heighten tensions and threaten regional peace.

The U.S. has consistently conducted freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea, asserting the principle of open and free access to international waters. These operations are often seen by Beijing as provocations and challenges to its territorial claims. The U.S. argues that these missions are necessary to counter China’s growing militarization of the region and to ensure that international maritime laws are respected.

Sun Weidong highlighted that such actions undermine the legitimate rights and interests of littoral countries, which have direct stakes in the South China Sea. According to Sun, these countries are increasingly drawn into a web of bloc politics and confrontations that do not serve their interests but rather align them with the broader geopolitical strategies of external powers.

China’s position on the South China Sea disputes has been that they should be resolved through bilateral negotiations and dialogue among the directly involved parties, without interference from non-regional actors. Beijing insists that such involvement only complicates matters and delays the peaceful resolution of conflicts. The Chinese government has called for regional countries to strengthen cooperation and seek mutually beneficial solutions through dialogue and existing regional frameworks, such as the ASEAN-led initiatives.