Op-Ed Contributors

Time to counter US ploys

By Li Bing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-29 07:50
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Instigating Southeast Asian nations over the South China Sea issue is a gambit aimed at containing China's rise

The South China Sea is a body of water with rich natural resources and is of strategic significance to China in a geopolitical sense.

The current standstill in resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea is being exploited as needed pretext for outside interference.

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At the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Forum held in Vietnam on July 23, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that resolving the South China Sea issue was "pivotal to regional stability" and suggested an international mechanism to settle the dispute.

The United States is the largest external power hampering a peaceful settlement of the South China Sea issue.

The Obama administration adjusted Washington's Southeast Asian policy in an attempt to cozy up to ASEAN countries. The US is trying to strengthen its influence in the region so as to contain China by interfering with the ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

Washington has strengthened its military cooperation in the region, stealthily instigated and supported some local countries to scramble for the Nansha Islands, and has dispatched naval vessels to China's exclusive economic zone to conduct illegal surveys.

Resolving the South China Sea issue is of great significance for China's peaceful development. As far as national security is concerned, full control over the waters could enable the Chinese navy to better protect its seas. It is also helpful in maintaining security in the Asia-Pacific region.

By trying to internationalize the South China Sea issue, the US wants to put off its resolution so as to contain China's rise.

The US has multiple interests in Southeast Asia.

On a strategic level, Washington wants Southeast Asia to form the center of an "Asian strategic alliance" that includes Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and India.

On a political level, the US continues to export "democracy" and Western values to Southeast Asian countries.

On the economic level, the US has close ties with Southeast Asia in terms of trade, finance and investment and considers the latter an important overseas market, resource supplier and investment destination.

At a military and security level, the US wants to set up more military bases and positively interfere in security affairs in the Asia-Pacific region.

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