US’ frequent military moves only escalate South China Sea tensions

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016-5-31 0:03:01

The US' increasingly frequent military moves in the South China Sea, which are in violation of international law and are carried out despite  protests from China, only escalate tensions in the region.

In recent years, the US has insisted on conducting military operations across the South China Sea, with some senior US officials making statements saying that such moves will be even more frequent in the future.

Some Western media outlets on Sunday called the recent US military moves in the South China Sea the "new normal" in spite of continuous opposition from China.

A former US defense official was quoted by media reports as saying the maneuvers fall under "freedom of navigation" and that the US is "following the rules."

By conducting frequent moves in the South China Sea, Washington is deliberately blurring the distinction between commercial navigation and military operation in the region.

But such unlawful moves by the US can never serve to cover up its gross violation of other countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity, or whitewash its excessive ambition of maintaining a dominant presence in the region.

In the name of "freedom of navigation or overflight," Washington repeatedly shows its force as a global sheriff, neglecting the fact that the South China Sea area had enjoyed decades of peace and commercial prosperity before the 1970s.

The "Freedom of Navigation (FON)" program, launched in 1979 under the Jimmy Carter administration, seeks to legitimize the US' undeserved interests around the world using its military supremacy.

Furthermore, Washington has always pointed the finger at China, saying the Asian country's development in the South China Sea flares regional tensions. But such accusations don't hold water.

In fact, despite the complicated territorial rows between China and some of its neighbors, China has exercised restraint and joined in counsel with other related parties in order to peacefully settle disputes.

As an advocate of freedom of navigation, China also views the South China Sea as vital to global trade and its own development, and consequently has no reason to unsettle the region.

Ma Zhaoxu, China's permanent representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, said on Friday that the South China Sea issue must be resolved peacefully through constructive and meaningful negotiations with neighboring countries.

"To uphold freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea is not only an obligation under the international laws. It is also in line with China's own interests, as well as the interests of all countries in the region," Ma said.

It is advisable for the US, an outside party, to halt its interference in the South China Sea.

Moreover, Uncle Sam's play of political brinkmanship in the South China Sea should come to an end for the sake of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the hard-won mutual trust with China.

The article is a commentary from the Xinhua News Agency. Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion

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