Washington’s ill-founded South China Sea scheme is full of lies

By Peng Guangqian Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-21 22:53:01

The US, which is perhaps concerned about its declining clout and suspicious of China's rise, has engaged in a number of petty actions in the South China Sea recently. The Pentagon even deployed its carrier strike groups to conduct "routine operations" in the region. The US is always putting a gloss on its brazen provocations in the South China Sea. It is necessary to recognize Washington's lies.

The US accuses China of militarizing the islands. In fact, given its overwhelming nuclear submarines, stealth fighter jets, massive warships and nuclear-powered carrier strike groups in Guam and Hawaii, Washington is the least qualified to criticize others of militarization.

If the South China Sea gets militarized, the US will be the chief culprit. It is the US intrusions as well as its joint military drills in the South China Sea that have sent the region into pandemonium. Apart from militarizing the South China Sea, Washington has established a military network around the Western Pacific Ocean. How dare the US accuse other nations of militarization?

US vessels have not only intruded into the adjacent waters around China's islands, but also brazenly invaded China's territorial waters. However, US officials justify the provocations as exercising the right to operate in "international waters."

This is absurd. The specific term "international waters" does not appear in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It is a shame for the US as a "nation ruled by law" to utter these words. The US should better wipe out its legal ignorance before making any assertions.

The Pentagon also uses "freedom of navigation" as an excuse to justify its provocations. The South China Sea is one of the busiest routes in the world. Statistics show that around 7,000 ships, on average, travel across the region every day. Except for pirates, there has never been any incident related to freedom of navigation so far. "Exercising freedom of navigation" is a sheer excuse fabricated by the US.

The Chinese people have inhabited the islands in the South China Sea for generations. Compared with other peoples, the Chinese people, aware of the significance of the South China Sea as a transportation hub, cherish and firmly safeguard the freedom of navigation in the region.

What the US wants is to deprive other nations of their right to freely navigate, and to justify its own intrusions in China's territorial waters. The international law cannot provide Washington with such "freedom."

Apart from sending its warships to stir up troubles in the South China Sea, the US has also played a guiding role in the arbitration case launched by the Philippines. Devoting manpower and money, Washington seems to be more enthusiastic than Manila about the case. Before the final rulings are announced, the White House has collided with its allies, for instance, Japan, to maneuver their hegemony in the public opinion, coercing China to unconditionally accept the final results.

Under the Article 298 of UNCLOS, a state may declare that it "does not accept any one or more" of the ways the law proposes to address disputes. Therefore, by not accepting the arbitration case, China is acting entirely in accordance with the law.

The US is neither a country within the region, nor a South China Sea claimant. Refusing to join UNCLOS, Washington has denied the rulings of the international court in the past. It is absurd that the US prattles about The Hague's ruling with a UNCLOS member like China.

The author is a Chinese military strategist. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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