By Liu Rui/Global Times
Since July, US politicians such as President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have frequently mentioned on various public occasions the issue of free and safe navigation in South China Sea.
They claim that maintaining free navigation in the South China Sea is in the US national interest and oppose any actions obstructive to free navigation. If one listens to them, the South China Sea no longer seems calm and tranquil.
But there is no threat to free navigation in the South China Sea. Maintaining free navigation and ensuring a smooth trade flow is in line with the globalization era, which has already become an international consensus.
Those who act against free navigation, such as pirates and maritime terrorists, have become the enemy of all, as the traditional legal description of pirates goes, and are opposed by every nation.
The South China Sea is one of the world's busiest shipping channels with more than 40,000 vessels per year passing through.
If there were really problems, how could so many ships sail through the South China Sea frequently, safely and smoothly?
The answer is self-evident. The US is beating the drum on an issue which doesn't really exist.
Behind its high-sounding words, what exactly are US intentions?
The first aim is to maintain US military hegemony in Asia-Pacific region. The US has been sending a variety of military surveillance ships, observation boats and survey ships to launch probes and collect national information in the South China Sea for years. It seriously threatens the security and interests of surrounding countries and undermines regional peace and stability.
Facing international opposition, the US deliberately altered the concept and then created the pseudo-proposition of free navigation in the South China Sea, trying to shape international public opinion and force littoral countries and regions to accept its increasing military detection activities.
The freedom of navigation which the US claims to protect is actually the freedom of the US military to threaten other countries.
The US is also seeking a fulcrum for its new Asia-Pacific strategy. The US government is pursuing a return to Asia. If it intends to return with a mutually beneficial attitude and open mind, this is fair enough. If it is self-conceited, intolerant to others and trapped in a Cold War mentality, it inevitably will start forming cliques.
The US is also trying to contain China through the use of the South China Sea issue.
The US has acquired many benefits from friendly cooperation with China. But China's goodwill has not received good returns from the US.
Based on a Cold War zero-sum mind-set, the US cannot tolerate the reasonable growth of China's national strength and regional influence.
It falsely claims that China will challenge US global hegemony in the future and believes that China will implement an "Asian Monroe Doctrine" while the US is too busy to look after East Asia.
In advocating that free and safe navigation in South China Sea is threatened, the US is creating a false impression of a worrying situation of South China Sea to the international community. It boosts the "China threat theory" claimed by some Western politicians, distances the relations between China and Southeast Asian countries and creates new leverage to contain China's development.
Thus, the speculation of the US over the issue of free navigation in South China Sea is in the name of a public good but for the sake of private interests. The US has no justifiable reasons to interfere the South China Sea by simply using the free navigation issue.
The author is a member of the China Institute of International Studies. email@example.com