US needs to discard containment fantasy

Updated: 2014-06-01 15:42


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BEIJING - US defense chief Chuck Hagel raised an important issue of regional stability at the Shangri-La Dialogue forum in Singapore on Saturday, yet his proposal for collective confrontation against China was hardly a solution.

Accusing China of destabilizing the region and throwing the US weight behind its allies in rallying up against China, Hagel put up a proposition that smacks of the Cold War containment mentality, only to reveal the US anxiety about and hostility toward China's rising influence.

The United States seems to be in a quandary about its China policy, frequently swaying between a dovish one that holds out an olive branch to the hawkish rhetoric of the Cold War mentality.

Hagel, concluding his speech with a pledge to continue cooperation with China, underlined the US understanding of where its fundamental interests lie. But its confrontational and threatening posture speaks the opposite.

A familiar bogeyman story, this time about an "evil China" trying to grab other countries' land and sea out of its own greed, was told in exaggerated detail by the US secretary of defense after his fellow Japanese ally sang "a lovely song of ode to peace" a day earlier.

With the zero-sum mentality and the utmost fear of losing its credibility and leadership among its allies, the United States acts as if the containment of China would be the solely effective means to protect its interests and maintain regional stability.

However, strengthened military alliance against China does not contribute to regional stability that the United States has touted for, but rather constitutes a provocative and hostile move that stirs up regional tension.

Stability in the Asia-Pacific region can be realized only when the United States and China join hands in building up a security structure that accommodates common interests and respects each other's legitimate rights.

It is time for the US to discard its containment fantasy, treat China equally and fairly, and start working constructively for true stability in the Asia-Pacific.

China, which has enjoyed fast development thanks to the peaceful regional environment from which the US has also benefited, has in return contributed to economic growth and social development in surrounding countries.

A prosperous and peace-loving China has proved itself to be a significant stabilizing factor and a driving force for growth in the region during the past years.

The US must work with China to overcome their differences and difficulties to reach common ground and focus on mutual benefits, for it is the only responsible and sensible choice if Washington stands truly for the long-term prosperity of its people and the peoples around the world.