0340 GMT January 18, 2018
James George Jatars made the remarks in a Tuesday interview with Press TV while discussing the US Navy’s resumption of the so-called Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) in the volatile sea.
US Pacific Fleet Commander Scott Swift insisted at a briefing in Singapore on Monday that there is "no change in policy” towards the region under the administration of President Donald Trump; therefore, the US would restart the FONOPs to challenge China’s claim of exclusive access.
China claims most of the strategic waterway, through which trillions of dollars in trade pass annually. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims with Beijing.
“There’s no particular reason why the United States should be vindicating the claims of any country in the South China Sea, which really does not concern us,” said the Washington-based analyst.
Jatras added that countries engaged in the dispute “can work out their concerns with the Chinese without being pushed by Washington to assume a more belligerent stance.”
Jatras noted that “any patrols in the South China Sea for the purpose of freedom of navigation or other pretexts… really have nothing to do with the American national interests.”
In such operations, American ships or planes go near “disputed” Chinese features to test the claims to exclusive access.
The US insistence to continue the operation demonstrates “how much America policy, even under the new administration, is simply on auto-pilot,” he said.
“We keep doing the same thing we’d been doing for years and years without any reconsideration of what the purposes and goals of the US foreign policy are.”