Carter eroding foundation of peace in Asia-Pacific

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-5-30 1:13:01

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Friday issued another sharp rebuke of China's actions in the South China Sea by warning Beijing that it is on a path to build a "great wall of self-isolation." He said the Pentagon's best weapons, including stealthy F-35 fighters, P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and newest surface warfare ships, will be deployed to the Pacific theater.

When addressing the US Naval War College on Wednesday, Carter compared the current US strategic posture toward China to that of the 50-year Cold War standoff with the Soviet Union. He predicted that the Chinese and US actions and reactions in the South China Sea will cease when the "internal logic of" China and its society will eventually dictate a change.

High-level US officials have successively advocated for confrontation with Beijing. It has become a feature of current Sino-US relations and the South China Sea situation. As Chinese senior officials have never made such remarks, the US military seems to have become a destructive force in bilateral relations.

The nature of the Sino-US relations will to a large extent determine the state of international relations in the 21st century. By pointing finger at China with a bluffing posture, senior US officials are eroding the foundation of peace in the Asia-Pacific.

There are longstanding divergences among the South China Sea claimants. But despite an escalation in tensions in the past few years, all parties have refrained from resorting to military action. As the biggest regional power, China has never warned Vietnam or the Philippines that it will deploy the cutting-edge weapons to the South China Sea.

On the contrary, China has been stressing on resolving disputes peacefully. Maintaining peace in the South China Sea is the common wish of all regional stakeholders.

The US intervention is pushing the militarization of the South China Sea disputes. The Pentagon has not only sent its warships and fighters but also publicly expressed its intention to contain China's rise in the waters.

Carter's words have been the most threatening China has heard since the end of the Cold War. They confirm some Chinese people's worries about the worst-case scenario in the Sino-US relationship, in which Washington may translate its intention to counter China into real actions.

The Pentagon may be willing to see confrontation between China and the US. But the US cannot overawe China wielding military stick.

The People's Liberation Army can offset US' advantage of equipment in the South China Sea with its size and proximity and we are confident about countering the threat from the US. Although a military contention will be harmful to China, we cannot retreat in face of US coercion.

China must accelerate its pace to build modern defense capabilities. It should let the US know that if it launches military attacks targeting China in the South China Sea, the US will suffer unbearable consequences. China must enhance its ability to deter the US and increase the US' strategic risks of military threat against China.

Newspaper headline: Carter eroding basis of regional peace

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