Anxiety drives China manipulation theory in US warship collision probe

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/27 23:18:40

After the USS John S. McCain collided with a commercial ship on August 21, Western media recently cited US navy officers as saying that the review of the accident would include the possibility of cyber intrusion or sabotage. These media outlets then pointed their fingers at China. Among the Western journalists based in Beijing, some are speculating about the possibility that China manipulated this collision.

Such speculative reporting severely violates journalistic professionalism and is politically irresponsible. They lead people in a direction where no authoritative conclusion is drawn and affect how the public views this incident. The way that these media put values above the facts is striking.

That China would have the will and ability to make US warships and commercial vessels collide in international sea lanes is like a science fiction story. The media outlets which made up such stories are bigoted ideologically. The tone reflects the anxiety of the US which is not able to prevent this mysterious collision. The management of the US Navy seems terrible, and the professionalism of naval officers has also been met with doubts. Accusations that China was behind this collision can help ease pressure on the US Navy and fit into Western political correctness.

The Chinese public has suspicions over the US as well. For instance, during the SARS epidemic that struck Beijing in 2003, some Chinese people wondered if it was a biological war launched by the US against China. But such speculation only remained at the grass-roots level and no mainstream Chinese media reported it.

Nowadays, China is too powerful to ignore. That is perhaps why some mainstream Western media linked the collision to China to gain attention.

Worryingly, the investigators into this collision may be misled by such speculative reports and recklessly try to prove such absurd sayings. Consequently, what they get will not be scientific conclusions but geopolitical opinions.

Such speculation sounds ludicrous to Chinese, almost as absurd as the suspicion that the crash was caused by a trick of a qigong master. It is hoped that the US investigators won't be affected by the theory.

Washington needs the bravery to face up to the real reason behind its warship colliding with a commercial vessel and make adjustments accordingly to avoid similar accidents from happening again. Spreading speculation that China is behind it will only delay the US adopting necessary corrective actions and erode Washington's determination.

With the most advanced information technology and cyber warfare capability, the Pentagon is clear that it's impossible a third party can manipulate two ships into a collision.

The US needs to curb its obsession with controlling the Asia-Pacific maritime space, which has led to fatigue in its patrols. It's a plain reason but should be the basic logic for the US Navy to strengthen security. What's more important for the Pentagon is to turn this logic into detailed remedial actions.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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