China’s rise, both geopolitically and economically, has presented real challenges for the United States of America (USA) in maintaining its global dominance. Thus, when President Xi Jinping announced his vision of a global “community of a shared future for mankind”, he also unequivocally announced China’s superior future role in this peaceful community when he stated that “A country with a history of more than 5,000 years has a lot to contribute to the rest of the world when it comes to peace and development” (Sharma 2018). President Xi also acknowledges the need for mutual respect and constructive bilateral cooperation between China and the USA. However, over the past few years, China’s actions in the South China Sea resulted in the degradation of the natural environment, despite the international legal protection of the oceans by the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, and the guidelines in the 1995 Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP). Similarly, the scientific advancement of outer space exploration has provided China and the USA, in particular, the opportunity to develop their strategic position in the international arena and have in the process created technological pollution in Earth’s orbit in spite of the guidelines to prevent space debris as outlined by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). Clearly, narrow self-interests and hegemonic competition dominate the relations between China and the USA at the expense of environmental governance.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2019.