Obama is sowing discontent in S.China Sea

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-3 0:13:01

Speaking to a delegation of young Southeast Asian leaders, US President Barack Obama warned China on Monday over its actions in the South China Sea. "It may be that some of their claims are legitimate, but they shouldn't just try to establish that based on throwing elbows and pushing people out of the way," Obama said. Obama's remarks sounded moderate. However, he added fuel to the discontent against China among some Southeast Asian countries by continuing to portray an aggressive image of China. 

Vietnam has so far occupied 29 reefs in the Nansha Islands, the Philippines nine, while the Chinese mainland has only taken real control of eight. Both Hanoi and Manila have conducted construction activities on the reefs and islets in the region. China is by no means a radical player in the South China Sea disputes. It chooses to expand construction on reefs it has controlled rather than recapturing those illegally occupied by countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines, a well-intentioned move that both remunerates China's impaired rights and avoids intensifying the disputes.

China has stressed that the South China Sea disputes must be addressed through negotiations and peaceful means. It also has reiterated that the island facilities under construction are mainly for civil use and aimed to facilitate navigation and regional economic development. There are worries that China might turn those reefs into military outposts. However, they are not excuses to launch threatening actions toward China.

On May 9, 1999, claiming it had run aground, the Philippines illegally wrecked a warship on the Ren'ai reef in the Nansha Islands. Beijing has waited for 16 years and restrained itself from taking action in order to avoid escalating tensions. Would Washington be willing to wait for so long? Can it make a conclusion after seeing how the expanded islands will be used? The fact is that the US has provocatively flown navy surveillance planes near China's expanded reefs and islands. It's more like the US is "throwing elbows" toward China. 

In the past, countries including the Netherlands, the US, France and Britain built colonies in Southeast Asia. The region was also victim to Japanese invasion and American bombing. China's moderate and restrained approach stands out in a historical context. But Washington is measuring China with its strictest standards, labeling its any movement as offensive and heretical.

In addition to taking a biased stand, the US is fostering hostility between China and its neighboring countries, attempting to build a containment alliance against China. Washington's South China Sea policy is restricted by comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, as a result, it has to take an ambiguous China policy.

China will carry out the island-building plan to the full, which is also our response to Washington's capricious voices.

Posted in: Editorial

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