G7 should not complicate South China Sea issue through meddling

By Wang Xiaopeng and Liu Fei Source:Global Times Published: 2016-4-13 22:13:01

A statement on the South China Sea issued after the Hiroshima G7 foreign ministers' meeting on Monday appears to be yet another move by outsiders to fuel militarization of the region.

"We express our strong opposition to any intimidating, coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions," the statement said, without mentioning any nation involved or specifying precisely which tensions are matters of concern.

Curiously, neither Japan nor any other G7 member is a party to the disputes.

The statement is a blatant attempt at interference in a situation which is none of their direct concern, exposing the G7 bloc's transition from an observer of the situation to meddlesome mischief-maker.

It is hard to ignore increased activity by certain nations with only the most tenuous right to be considered "local." Many of these activities can hardly be considered acts of outright pacifism.

The US is reportedly planning to send vessels to "patrol" the South China Sea again, to ensure "freedom of navigation." Earlier this month, a Japanese submarine, a vessel with no legitimate function beyond "self-defense," showed up at a port in the Philippines for the first time in 15 years.

It is not difficult to construct an argument defining these acts as ploys against China, the largest littoral state of the South China Sea.

China believes in communication and dialogue. China is striving for a region characterized by peace, friendship and cooperation. Clearly these simple concepts are not at the top of certain nations' wish lists.

A solution to the issue is well within the reach of the claimants involved, but there are strong indications, not least this most recent G7 statement, that a peaceful, win-win outcome is not in the interests of many parties who are absolutely not directly involved. It is hard not to be suspicious of the behavior and comments of the G7 bloc. Exactly what is their objective?

With economies around the world stumbling and slowing, G7 meddling in political issues distracts attention from economic matters which are their direct and undisputed concern.

China's national defense policy is defensive in nature and opposed to any act that undermines security, stability and trust. But China will defend its sovereignty, and not just in the South China Sea, but wherever that sovereignty is threatened; such is the duty of any sovereign state. Those who seek trouble, may well land themselves in trouble.

Militarization of the South China Sea is nothing new. Ironically enough, it was from Hiroshima, a key base for the Imperial Japanese Navy during WWII, that Japan's battleships began their quest to occupy islands there as a bridgehead for its invasion of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

Bizarrely, it is precisely those nations who, along with China, suffered most from the evils of militarism during WWII, who today stoke the fires of tension.

In March, the Philippines allowed the US navy access to five bases near disputed waters under a renewed defense pact. If that is not considered militarizing the South China Sea, what is?

The G7 should focus its attention on world peace and the sustainable recovery of the global economy, leaving the solution of neighborhood matters to the good auspices of the neighbors involved.

The authors are writers with the Xinhua News Agency. The article first appeared on Xinhua. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion

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