Washington PR campaign against Beijing on South China Sea is ill-intentioned

By Fei Liena and Hao Weiwei Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/6/20 0:13:01

The South China Sea could be a tranquil sea with inherent freedom of navigation, but some countries with ulterior motives have launched publicity campaigns to deliberately play up the South China Sea issue in support of their hegemonist military moves.

Let's first take a look at an example. In February, China's missile deployment in South China Sea's Xisha area started to be hyped up. On February 16, the Fox News reported that China had deployed HQ-9 anti-aircraft missiles on Yongxing Island. On February 17, the Secretary of State, a White House spokesman and chief of the Pacific Command all criticized China for what they called "militarization" of the South China Sea.

On the same day, the Japanese government also expressed "grave concern" over China's actions. Afterward, the US Center for Strategic and International Studies released a set of satellite photos, claiming China was setting up high frequency radar facilities on the South China Sea, echoing the so-called "China threat" claim.

In media reports on the South China Sea issue, China has often been described as a restless empire "bullying" smaller countries, "militarizing" the South China Sea, sabotaging "freedom of navigation," challenging international law, and seeking hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.

The farce, led by the US and supported by its allies, was intentioned to make China the scapegoat for the tense situation in the South China Sea.

Uncle Sam and its friends are good at staging biased media publicity campaigns, confusing different concepts and applying double standards. They often choose to ignore the fact that the Philippines and other countries have illegally occupied Chinese islands in the South China Sea and deployed radar facilities, planes, artillery pieces and missiles there. Yet, they tag "militarization" on China for doing lawful construction work on its own islands.

When asked whether sending large naval ships and military planes to the region means militarization at a press briefing, US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner gave a funny answer by saying the practice was "basically freedom of navigation."

Publicity campaigns against China on the South China Sea issue originate from the presumption of China's guilt that everything China does in the South China Sea must be wrong.

This logic reminds people of the so-called "power's original sin." Concluding from their own history of expansion, Western countries take it for granted that once China becomes powerful, it will surely seek to dominate.

According to Zheng Yongnian, director of East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore, the US has misjudged China's intentions and role in the Asia-Pacific region on the basis of its own history of expansion and power politics rather than China's diplomatic performance in the region.

The increasingly obvious trend is that the US has been mobilizing political, economic, military and diplomatic resources to "come back to the Asia-Pacific," and to contain China. Among the US maneuvers, staging a biased publicity campaign over the South China Sea issue is a clever trick with low input and substantial returns.

By employing the South China Sea issue, US politicians intended to humiliate and attack China and force China to make some "difficult choices" to concede.

However, their wishful thinking of using publicity campaigns to press China to compromise and concede on fundamental issues such as territorial integrity is nothing but a pipe dream.

A straight foot is not afraid of a crooked shoe. Time will reveal China's goodwill and endeavors to promote the peaceful development of the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, some countries' ulterior motives will also be brought to light in time.

The authors are writers with the Xinhua News Agency. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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