US Stirs Up the South China Sea With an Eye to Containing China

At the beginning of the week, two U.S. bombers brushed aside warnings about flying near China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea, the move coming close behind a similar operation conducted by U.S. naval vessels at the end of last month. The United States in recent weeks has repeatedly committed these provocations and egged on other nations to challenge Chinese sovereignty over the South China Sea issue. Evidently, the meat and bones of the so-called “pivot to Asia” strategy is nothing other than a bid to contain China through political, economic and even military means in the hopes of maintaining the United States’ global hegemony by checking the pace of China’s rise. On the issue of the South China Sea, China has been an unwavering proponent of utilizing multilateral negotiations to resolve disputes peacefully, and safeguard the peace and stability of the region. Using underhanded methods to stir the pot and recruit other nations around the South China Sea to latch onto the bandwagon to contain China in order to satisfy the demands of its own hegemonic ideology suggests that it is in fact the United States, not China, that represents the greatest threat to peace and stability in the region, and that this behavior must be unmasked and stopped.

As many know, during Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States, the two nations reached a consensus on “maintaining constructive communication” on the South China Sea issue. The Obama administration further promised to begin positive interaction, manage differences of opinion and step up cooperation. However, the words had barely been uttered before the United States deployed naval vessels too close — within 12 nautical miles — of China’s Spratly Islands at the end of last month under the banner of maintaining “freedom of navigation and flight.” This was intended to show China that the United States does not recognize Chinese sovereignty over the islands. Soon afterward, the United States again, under a similar pretense, dispatched two B-52 bombers that ignored repeated verbal warnings about flying by China’s artificially constructed islands in brazen defiance of China’s sovereign rights, threatening China’s security interests. And it did not stop there; the United States went on to once again encourage Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and other nations to challenge China over the South China Sea issue in multilateral international forums and malign China’s entirely proper and ordinary island construction operations in a propagation of the “China threat theory.” The Obama administration has discarded its position and promises on the issue, using political, military and other means to draw attention to the situation and inflate the levels of tension and complexity inherent therein.

The primary reason behind the United States’ actions is that it sees the South China Sea as a key link within the “pivot to Asia” strategy, and therefore intends to manipulate events through radicalizing the dispute and creating a standoff situation, thereby making its presence felt in the region. Additionally, it is supporting, encouraging and fomenting dissatisfaction and even hostility toward China among neighboring nations that covet China’s assets in the South China Sea, mobilizing these neighbors to further involve themselves in the dispute and do the grunt work in surrounding and checking China. The arrival of U.S. naval vessels and aircraft in recent weeks is simply the concrete manifestation of the United States’ strategic intentions.

In all of this, the alpha and omega in China’s South China Sea policy has been to maintain peace and stability in the region. China has consistently insisted upon bilateral or multilateral negotiations to resolve disputes, thereby working together to protect the interests of nations that border upon the maritime region. Unfortunately, the United States has left the peace that China and other nations have been working toward in tatters in pursuit of its own selfish interests, putting its knack for mess-making to work in repeatedly spoiling any atmosphere conducive to rational and pragmatic talks and throwing a multitude of variables into the mix, proving itself to be the most dangerous element in the South China Sea. Regional nations are under the impression that with U.S. support they can freely challenge China, an assumption in which they are gravely mistaken. China has the ability, resolve and confidence to maintain its territorial integrity and its military capabilities with regard to protecting its national security interests. These should not be underestimated in light of its rising strength across all facets of the nation. If the United States and its pawns continue to follow this mistaken path of cultivating chaos in the South China Sea, they will find their efforts amount to little in the end.

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1 Comment

  1. Makes perfect sense to me.

    Those who pay attention have witnessed the expansionary ambitions of the US, recruiting ostensibly for NATO as much of the former Soviet territory as possible. And we have seen Russia finally put its foot down to stop the attempt to recruit Ukraine, smack up against Russia’s border. Of course, we in the West have pretty much swallowed the propaganda about Putin’s evil grab of the Crimea – remaining ignorant, of course, of the strategic Russian bases on that peninsula, and about the overwhelming majority opinion of the inhabitants in support of Russia.

    So why should we not now be deeply suspicious enough to regard the “Pacific pivot,” a euphemism for “containing China” – as if anything short of major military measures, not even the TPP, an anti-China alliance masquerading as an investors’ rights contract, which itself masquerades as a trade agreement, could even begin to contain it. In short, this piece published in Hong Kong paints such a familiar picture of American neoconservatism’s “full spectrum dominance” – an ideology fully embraced by Obama and his likely successor – that it would be impossible to refute it. Anyone who doubts it should do a much closer reading of Hillary’s “America’s Pacific Century,” published in Foreign Policy 4 years ago.

    As a consequence, I have some sympathy for China’s effort to protect its vulnerable eastern shore by building itself a base offshore among the uninhabitable islands in the South China Sea. I just wish it would live up to this article’s image of China as “an unwavering proponent of utilizing multilateral negotiations to resolve disputes peacefully, and safeguard the peace and stability of the region” by actually negotiating with the small nations of the region, ostensibly on whose behalf the US is “protecting” by aggravating China.

    It should also be noted that those nations do what a lot of less powerful states do as a survival strategy, i.e., they play the big guys against one another. Instead of making things even worse for those small nations in the region, the US should rather, rigorously promote diplomacy between China and those nations – and that includes Japan, by the way, which Washington has pushed into violating its constitutionally entrenched pacifism in preparation to become part of an American military endgame.

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