US should stop trying to make waves

Updated: 2014-08-13 07:41

By Wang Hui(China Daily)

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The call from US Secretary of State John Kerry for a freeze on so-called provocative acts in the South China Sea at a regional meeting held in Myanmar over the weekend is just another example of the United States' meddling in the disputes.

As some analysts have already pointed out, this seemingly reasonable move is intended to disrupt China's legitimate and normal drilling operations in its territorial waters. Those who are familiar with the US political lexicon will know that the US is pointing an accusing finger at China once again.

In fact, "provocative acts" is not the language that the US uses when it comes to the reckless behavior of the Philippines or Vietnam in the South China Sea. Although high-ranking US officials have repeatedly accused China of taking provocative acts each time the latter moves to safeguard its sovereignty and rights and interests in the waters.

A Reuters report quoted a US State Department official on Monday as saying the US will monitor the situation around the rocks, reefs and shoals in the South China Sea to see whether "de-escalatory steps" are being taken. It seems the world's sole superpower is determined to slip further in the wrong direction, which is not conducive to resolving the disputes in peace.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are fully capable of resolving the disputes on their own. The two sides have reached consensus on implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and held rounds of talks for the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct for these waters.

Despite a recent confrontation between Beijing and Hanoi over China's deployment of an oil rig in its own waters, the overall situation in the South China Sea remains stable. The US worry over maritime safety is unwarranted too as freedom of navigation has been fully guaranteed.

Under such a backdrop, the US proposal will only distract attention as well as further complicate the issue. This is particularly true considering that the US' meddling in the South China Sea in recent years has only led to escalation of tensions in the region.

Washington has been using multilateral platforms to stoke the South China Sea disputes. Its pivot to Asia strategy has emboldened countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam to take blatant moves.

Since the 1960s, some countries have illegally occupied Chinese islets and reefs in the South China Sea. In recent years, a few of them have built facilities on some of these in an attempt to reinforce their illegal presence there. Yet, the US has never called for a freeze on these blatant moves that have encroached upon China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

Hence, it is crystal clear that the US only wants to fish in troubled waters. By confusing right and wrong and throwing its weight behind countries such as the Philippines, Washington's real intention is to contain China's rise in the region and expand its own interests here.

The cool response from China and Southeast Asian countries to the US proposal should be a timely reminder to Washington that the region only welcomes a constructive role from the US.

As a country which portrays itself as a Pacific power, the US has always insisted it has a stake in the Asia-Pacific. It should be told that cultivating an atmosphere for resolving the South China Sea issue in peace caters to regional stability as well as its own interests in the region.

The author is a senior writer with China Daily.

(China Daily 08/13/2014 page8)