Tough talk from US military only undermines peace in Asia-Pacific

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016-5-31 23:48:01

The recent harsh rhetoric against China's actions in the South China Sea from the US military seems to show the country's determination to turn itself into a destructive force against peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region.

During his speech at the US Naval Academy on Friday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned Beijing that it was on a path to erect a "Great Wall of self-isolation."

In reasserting the right to freedom of navigation in international waters, Carter said the US will continue to "fly, sail and operate" where the law allows it, adding the Pentagon's best weaponry will be deployed to the Pacific region.

Also on Wednesday, Carter likened the US military's efforts in the Asia-Pacific region against a rising China to the 50-year Cold War standoff with the Soviet Union.

It's "going to be a long campaign of firmness, and gentle but strong pushback for probably quite a number of years," he added.

Advocating a US-China confrontation is nothing but a flagrant provocation against China's maritime security interests. Such rhetoric is also very dangerous and irresponsible, as it can only seriously undermine the foundation of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Though tensions have escalated in the region in recent years, no claimant state in the South China Sea disputes has actually threatened to resort to force to solve the issue.

Although some Chinese islands in the region have been illegally occupied by other nations, Beijing has always insisted on settling the disputes through peaceful means and has never made remarks such as "to deploy the best weapons to the region."

As a matter of fact, China hopes the South China Sea to be a sea of peace and has always remained open to dialogue and negotiations.

Thanks to Beijing's exercise of restraint and the concerted efforts of most countries in the region, the South China Sea situation has been generally peaceful.

Despite territorial rows between China and other claimants, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea has never been a problem.

Carter's remarks, however, will significantly stir up tensions in the South China Sea, as they reveal Washington's strategic intent to militarize the region and to contain a rising China.

They also thoroughly manifest a sitting US senior official's Cold War mentality against China and are considered by Chinese observers, particularly of military affairs, to be widely representative of the US strategy.

Though claiming the US rebalancing of Asia is not targeted at Beijing, Washington has been busy building a "Great Wall" of containment and encirclement around China by gathering allies and instigating conflicts between China and other Asian countries.

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

Turning a deaf ear to China's call for the US to keep its promise not to take sides in maritime disputes, the US has since October sent warships and military jets to deliberately violate China's territorial waters in the South China Sea.

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

However, muscle-flexing and arbitrary intervention will neither shake China's resolve to safeguard its sovereignty and maritime rights nor alter the historic fact that China has sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and adjacent waters.

The already complex situation in the South China Sea requires sobriety and restraint, not military deterrence or sharp rebukes.

The US needs to understand that such an approach will eventually jeopardize regional stability and hurt the interests of all countries involved. This approach might eventually lose support if the US goes on trying to muddy the waters of the South China Sea.

This is a commentary of the Xinhua News Agency.

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