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North Korea and The South China Sea: What’s Next?

A China in the World Podcast

Given the increasingly complex security environment in the Asia-Pacific, it is critical for the United States and China to deepen cooperation on promoting regional stability. In this podcast, Paul Haenle and Admiral Gary Roughead, former Chief of Naval Operations and one of only two admirals to have commanded both the Pacific and Atlantic fleets, examine U.S.-China military relations, potential U.S. policy responses to the tribunal ruling in the South China Sea, and North Korea’s latest nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Roughead argues that while conflict in the South China Sea is not imminent, the region lacks the necessary mechanisms for deescalating accidental clashes, the risk of which have risen with recent increased activity. He also comments on North Korea’s continued nuclear weapons testing, noting that the country’s recent submarine-based ballistic missile test is an especially problematic and serious development. Roughead says these tests indicate that the potential of North Korea to threaten the region and the United States has moved into a new domain. He recommends enhanced regional intelligence sharing and overall maritime awareness to address North Korea’s advancing nuclear capabilities. Roughead also discusses the unique relationship between China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, arguing that nations do not want to choose sides between the United States and China but rather seek favorable relations with both powers.