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Clique-building bad for region: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2021-08-02 19:51
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Although US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said during her recent official visit to China that the US does not seek to contain China's development, the message she and other high-ranking US officials have conveyed elsewhere in the region belies that claim.

The United States has been conducting unusually intensive diplomacy on China's periphery recently with the apparent aim of driving a wedge between these countries and China and even forming an encirclement to contain China's rise and development. Countries in the region should guard against becoming expendable chess pieces in the US' geopolitical playbook.

During his visit to Southeast Asia last month, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hyped the outdated "China threat" theory and sought to vilify China over an array of issues. Speaking at a forum in Singapore, Austin mounted unwarranted attacks on China over the South China Sea, Taiwan and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Austin then used his visits to Vietnam and the Philippines to continue the US agenda to draw regional countries into a coalition to contain China. While pledging the US' support to beef up Vietnam's security capabilities at sea, Austin also increased the pressure on Manila to restore a key military pact which provides the basis for the US military to conduct naval exercises and war drills in its territorial waters.

Likewise, during his visit to India last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken touted the common regional security interests of the Quad — the quasi-military alliance the US has formed with India, Australia and Japan — and which it is widely perceived as wanting to expand into an Asian NATO.

As such, it is crystal clear that the US is devoting both energy and political assets to the Asia-Pacific region and seeking to push forward its Indo-Pacific strategy by means of various cliques.

The US Indo-Pacific strategy is a self-serving product of its Cold War mentality which runs counter to the common regional aspirations of peace, stability and development, and hinders the joint efforts of countries in the region to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

China and countries in the region have stood together through thick and thin. China has always provided countries with selfless help when needed, and sought to set a good example of mutual assistance and solidarity.

By rejecting the US' attempts to sow the seeds of division, the region can continue to uphold the good-neighborliness that has served it so well. Regional countries should continue to carry forward the Asian values of mutual respect and a consensual approach, and not let the US' enticements and coercion in its desire for dominion lead them astray.

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