Stirring up a storm [By Jiao Haiyang/China.org.cn]
On March 15, Lt. Gen. Burton Field, the commander of U.S. Forces Japan, gave a press conference in Tokyo, demanding China to respect the freedom of navigation and take responsible actions in the South China Sea. It is actually not a responsible action that a senior commander of the U.S. armed forces targeted China once again by taking the “freedom of navigation of the South China Sea” issue as an excuse.
What is a responsible action? Are the actions of the United States sailing its warships to the South China Sea, frequently holding military drills clearly against China with the countries around the sea and trying to form a military alliance with them responsible actions? Are the actions of the United States forcing Asian countries to take side between the United States and China and even deliberately smearing normal cooperation between China and its surrounding countries responsible actions?
The current South China Sea is calm and peaceful, and all countries, including the United States, can fully enjoy the freedom of navigation there. The U.S. commander has ignored a fundamental fact that the rapid economic development of the Asia-Pacific Region was and is closely connected with the freedom of navigation of the South China Sea. The rapidly expanding trade between the United States and the Asia-Pacific Region is also closely connected with the freedom of navigation of the sea.
However, while enjoying the freedom of navigation of the South China Sea, the United States also keeps making troubles and repeatedly throws out the “freedom of navigation of the South China Sea” issue. The United States is deliberately blurring the issue of the freedom of navigation and the issue of territorial sovereignty and is deliberately creating a type of public opinion to pave the way for implementing its strategy.
In fact, the so-called “freedom of navigation of the South China Sea” issue appeared after Washington claimed that the territorial dispute regarding islands of the South China Sea was associated with the United States' national interests. The issue is also heating up as the new U.S. military strategy is inclining to the Asia-Pacific Region. This topic actually has nothing to do with the freedom of navigation and is just a step taken by the United States to implement its “returning to Asia” strategy.
U.S. ships do not meet any trouble in the South China Sea, but those who always try to contain China have created a trouble for themselves. The trouble is that since they always focus on coping with any potential challengers to the supremacy of the United States in the Asia-Pacific Region, they have no problem to take any irresponsible actions and create tensions. The United States must understand that the Cold War has ended and it goes against the historical trend to form a “group,” “network” or “alliance” in the Asia-Pacific Region to confront China. Forced to take side with the United States or China is one thing that Asian countries do not hope to see.
If the United States wants to be responsible, it should study the development trend of the Asia-Pacific Region more, do more things promoting the regional development and consider more for the common development, but should not always think how to expand its team and how to make member countries of the team serve U.S. strategic interests better.
Strengthening the mutual trust by common development and creating a peaceful atmosphere to solve the disputes of the South China Sea are the consistent standpoint of China. In as early as 1980s, China had proposed the fundamental principle of “putting aside disputes and developing it jointly” for peacefully solving the disputes of the South China Sea. The principle proposed by China accords with the long-term interests of all related countries and is also a guarantee for the safe navigation of the South China Sea. For many years, China has stuck to this principle both in word and deed. Facts have proven that China is a responsible country for the peace and security of the South China Sea.
Currently, the South China Sea situation has eased, and related countries must maintain sharp vigilance against the United States' action of making troubles and prevent the South China Sea issue from disturbing the overall situation of the regional cooperation and development. It is a common interest of China and the countries around the South China Sea.