Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

An amendment that could hurt US interests

By Yang Yi (China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-04 08:01

Given the explicit support of the US, Japan is likely to maintain its offensive posture on the Diaoyu Islands. But any offensive Japanese move that compromises China's sovereignty and territorial integrity will invite some strong countermeasures from Beijing on the political, economic, diplomatic and military fronts.

China's long-cherished principle has been to not fire the first shot in a conflict. But that doesn't mean it will not retaliate or counterattack if another country tries to hijack its national interests.

An armed conflict between China and Japan, the two major East Asian powers, will not only undermine the interests of their peoples, but also drag the US deep into an abyss of suffering.

By trying to pass an amendment aimed at coercing China into making concessions on the Diaoyu Islands dispute, the US Senate has underestimated Chinese people's determination and courage to maintain the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Such a strategic misjudgment, if not corrected, could lead to the US suffering avoidable setbacks.

Unlike a century ago, China's fate no longer depends entirely on Western powers.

Promoting peace and development remains China's strategic choice and constitutes an important component of its professed road of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Under such a national strategy, China's top national interest is to focus on economic and social construction aimed at building an all-round well-off society as soon as possible which will finally lead to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

However, such a strategy does not mean China will tolerate provocations and attacks just to continue enjoying strategic opportunities.

As a Chinese saying goes, the US would do better to pull back before it is too late. Hopefully, American politicians will use their wisdom, vision and strategic courage to put a brake on Washington's actions that could be detrimental to the interests of the US as well as other countries.

The author is a rear admiral and former director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at the People's Liberation Army National Defense University.

(China Daily 12/04/2012 page9)

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