Harris is making waves in S.China Sea

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-4 0:43:01

Commander of US Pacific Command Harry Harris announced Wednesday in New Delhi that the US will conduct a joint military drill with India and Japan near the northern Philippines. That area is in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. Harris, on the one hand, reiterated freedom of navigation as a fundamental right of every country, and on the other hand, without mentioning names, criticized powerful countries for seeking to "bully smaller nations through intimidation and coercion." No one can remember how many warnings he has filed against China.

Assuming office in 2013, Harris happened to encounter the rise of tensions in the South China Sea, for which Washington takes significant responsibilities. During this period, the US military has displayed a more hawkish posture toward China, and Harris has almost become a poster boy, on various occasions and through different ways of China bashing, pitching the Pentagon's resolve to defend US hegemony in the West Pacific.

Pacific Commander is a high office in the US military, and also an important role in diplomacy. This position plays a decisive part in shaping US security policy toward China, and serves as a key link to connect China and the US. Harris has the power to steer US-China ties on the right track.

However, so far, Harris has not shown any sign of obligation to safeguard peace in the South China Sea. His China-bashing words could be more than what his predecessors said combined. Although China and the US are having a hard time in the South China Sea in recent years, Harris' performance could easily leave an impression that he is unfriendly to China. 

If the Commander keeps impressing the public that his soldiers are ready to make the South China Sea a frontline, and he leads the charge, the regional situation will get much worse. 

Not only should Harris defend US national interests, he should also know clearly what China's national interests are. He should not fan the flames of confrontation between both sides.

Joint military muscle-flexing is just a bluff. It is not easy to persuade New Delhi into this business, and countries like Japan and Australia have no guts to take real action in the South China Sea. We are afraid Harris and his troops will have to go it alone if he wants to make choppy waves in the South China Sea.

The US military boasts the strongest military prowess, but the South China Sea is close to China. If two nuclear powerhouses engage in a competition to test each other's willpower, the whole world will face the repercussions. Harris' words and deeds keep reminding us that we have to put more efforts into the building of islands in the South China Sea and deploying more weaponry. China has no alternative while dealing with Washington's growing military presence in the region.

This is not an arms race, and it shouldn't dominate the multi-layered Sino-US relations. Through these moves, China doesn't want to fall victim to US aggressions.

Posted in: Editorial

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