China plays long game in South China Sea

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-5-14 0:48:01

US Secretary of State John Kerry blamed China for being "provocative" and "aggressive" in the Xisha Islands. But in the meantime, he also reaffirmed that Washington wouldn't pick sides on sovereignty issues. This Vietnam War veteran has now become a double-dealer.

Hanoi and Manila must have been  intensely inspired when the word "provocative" came out of Kerry's mouth. Like being injected with adrenaline, Vietnam keeps messing around these days. It is reported that Vietnamese ships and Chinese ships fired water cannons at each other, and the operations of some Chinese companies in Vietnam have also been harassed. Vietnam is attempting to make the dispute messier so more pressures will be imposed on China.

Hanoi and Manila's smug thinking only reflects their blinkered vision. Short-lived remarks from Kerry will hardly make a difference in the competition between China and the US. Washington's bias in the South China Sea is becoming increasingly obvious as China is growing stronger. So Kerry's attitude is no surprise to China.

Words cannot convince the US to treat China on an equal footing and respect China's rise. Both Washington and Beijing need foresight to manage their bilateral relations in the 21st century.

China's national strength has grown in recent years, and the US still has many measures to balance China's rise. Such a strategic game will meet more challenges as well as opportunities in the future, and both sides expect a peaceful ending instead of an internecine outcome.

China's dispute with Vietnam in Xisha is not on the verge of a war as it seems. China has absolute authority and control in this area, and no matter how much trouble Hanoi provokes, China will never lose dominance.

The Philippines has also burned its fingers as it keeps making trouble in the South China Sea in recent years. And Washington has failed its promise to provide solid support to Manila in this case.

Washington's ability and investment in the South China Sea cannot satisfy Hanoi and Manila's ambition to grab more territory from China. In order to maximize its interests, Uncle Sam uses the "rebalancing to Asia" strategy to seduce Hanoi and Manila as its pawns.

It's Vietnam's time for disillusionment. It shouldn't cherish the wishful thinking that China will make small compromises for a big picture.

The South China Sea is a chessboard where China and the US are real players. China needs to use diplomatic wisdom and boldness to face any possible challenges.

Provocations from the Philippines and Vietnam do not deserve China flying into a rage. China's national feelings should be able to bear such small disturbances.

China has every means to stop Hanoi and Manila's provocations. With  rising maritime frictions, Chinese society will experience surging patriotism. But it should be a rational sentiment.

Posted in: Editorial

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