US rhetoric over South China Sea serves only to advance its own agenda

By Luo Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2016/7/3 23:13:00

The world has seen increasing chaos in recent years - wars and conflicts, deadly shootings, terrorist attacks, waves of refugees, deteriorating poverty and divided societies. Though we hold our best intentions close to heart, crisis seems to unfold one after another.

The so-called South China Sea arbitration, which is expected to produce a verdict on July 12, is yet another global deformity.

International law is being exploited and distorted to meet the private interests of certain groups or countries.

It is an old trick that has been used time and time again: destructive actions motivated by special interests were carried out disguised in politically correct, justifiable, or even glorified slogans.

Guided by the shiny concept of the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere," Imperial Japan, in alliance with Nazi Germany, invaded and occupied a dozen Asian countries during WWII, costing tens of millions of lives including Japanese.

Former US president George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to crack down on "weapons of mass destruction," which turned out to be imaginary, but cost several trillion dollars and half a million lives in Iraq over an eight-year period.

The beneficiaries were ambitious politicians, militarists and the military-industrial complex that former US president Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against in 1961 - all opportunists not working in the interest of the people.

Glorified slogans surround territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where tensions created in the name of "freedom of navigation" and "international law" provide self-validation for the presence of US military forces and lubricate the profitable arms business.

Meanwhile, tensions or even potential conflict in the Asia-Pacific will bring extra perks to some politicians in Washington and Manila, as they could divert public attention from domestic problems such as gun violence, corruption and poverty.

However, any misjudgment that leads to confrontation in the South China Sea will inevitably hurt the friendly relations and the intertwined business ties among the peoples of China, the US and the Philippines. Special interest groups would be the sole profiteers at the cost of the peoples' well-being.

The Pentagon could not wait to send two of its aircraft carriers, three guided missile destroyers and more other vessels to the South China Sea, burning American taxpayers' money to serve the interests of US elites.

The move by the Philippines to bring its territorial claim to an arbitral tribunal in The Hague reeks of political maneuvering.

The temporary court disregarded formal agreements among regional countries to settle disputes through peaceful and direct negotiation.

The tribunal's decision to hear the Philippines' case and exercise jurisdiction which it does not hold on territorial issue is a violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and an abuse of power.

The result from a court without jurisdiction and impartiality will bear no binding force but instead humiliate international law. The arbitration has disrupted the peaceful dialogue mechanism already in place in the region and aggravated tensions between Beijing and Manila.

Even worse, it is creating divisions among ASEAN, undermining years of hard-won progress to integrate the region for common development.

Despite China's non-participation in the arbitration, it will not give up seeking peaceful negotiation with the directly concerned parties to solve disputes in the South China Sea.

It is in everyone's core interests that the Philippines returns to direct consultations with China to jointly address their differences and safeguard regional peace for a win-win future.

The author is a writer with the Xinhua News Agency. Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion.

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