US becoming nothing more than troublemaker

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/22 1:58:39

The US military revealed to Reuters that its guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur on Friday conducted a so-called freedom of navigation mission in the South China Sea. The US military mentioned China's Yongxing and Zhongjian islands, and said the Chinese mainland, the island of Taiwan and Vietnam all claim ownership of the Xisha Islands. It said the destroyer did not come within 12 nautical miles of the islands.

According to China's Ministry of National Defense, a guided-missile destroyer and a guided-missile frigate were dispatched to identify and expel the US vessel.

All Western media have noted that the US maneuver was conducted during Philippine President Duterte's state visit to China in which bilateral relations have been restored with the signing of a series of cooperative agreements. This was a provocation by the US, flagrantly telling the world that it doesn't want to see peace in the South China Sea, and that it wants waves there. If no one helps it, it will make them itself.

China as early as 1996 announced that the territorial waters surrounding Xisha Islands belong to it alone. Unlike the Nansha Islands, the Xisha Islands are under full Chinese control and Beijing doesn't recognize any territorial disputes there. A US warship coming to the Xisha Islands can be viewed as a way to escalate provocations.

The Philippines has started to shelve its disagreements with China and restore friendly relations, and has announced the end of its joint military patrols and exercises with the US. Duterte has talked of "separation" from the US, which will severely impact the US's strategy. The Pentagon dispatching warships to patrol at this moment is a clear response to Duterte's visit to China, sending signals to the region that it will maintain its presence and continue trying to exert influence.

They chose the Xisha Islands this time, probably with the intention to arouse the interest of Vietnam and test its reaction. After Duterte has repeatedly ridiculed Washington, US ships going to China-Philippines disputed waters will be fruitless, therefore the US has decided to change direction.

We hope that Vietnam will see through the US's intentions and not fall into their trap. Duterte has said the US military is stationed in the Philippines only out of its own interests and he has decided to leave the road of conflict that the US has forced the Philippines to take, which shows that he and many of his compatriots are fed up with the US profiting from South China Sea tensions at their expense.

Recently, China and Vietnam have also started to control disputes and push for better bilateral ties. As China-Philippine ties improve, the geopolitical situation in the South China Sea has changed, which is good for the whole region. While the US is not willing to accept this change, as long as China, Vietnam and the Philippines stick to their own interests and put cooperation first, a US warship sailing in the South China Sea will have no effect.

Many critics have overestimated Washington's tolerance. It has started not to care about its image as a "world leader," but is becoming nothing more than a troublemaker.

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