Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Natural response to US' encirclement

By Eric Sommer (China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-12 07:26

The US military has also been encircling China. Military bases and the transfer of billions of dollars in military equipment have been positioned around China for years in areas such as South Korea and Japan.

With the Obama administration's so-called "pivot to Asia," the US is employing a more ambitious program called the Air-Sea Battle Plan, which involves the deployment of large amounts of very expensive hi-tech military systems and equipment in the Pacific region aimed at China.

At the same time, new US military bases are being opened across the Pacific arena, from the Philippines to Australia, with no other conceivable target but China.

In conjunction with this Pacific military build-up, the US is attempting to use previously minor disputes over the ownership of maritime resources as a means of turning a number of smaller Asian nations into its proxies to help it destabilize China. These nations include Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines. By offering its support, and in some cases promises of military assistance in any maritime conflict with China, the US has stoked the ambitions and aggressive nationalist tendencies of these nations vis-a-vis China.

These nations should be warned that they are in fact being used as proxies. There is no guarantee that the US won't turn against them, as it did against its previous Islamic allies in Afghanistan and its previous alliance with Sadam Hussein's Iraq when it suited itself.

To put all these actions against China in perspective, we need to consider who is really the aggressive actor in Asia.

The US has several hundred military bases in other countries, including Asia, while China has none. The US is impinging militarily and politically in China's Asian backyard, but China is not interfering in the US' relations or military activities in the US' backyards of North and South America.

The US has a doctrine of global supremacy; China has no such notion and its foreign policy doctrine is "non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations" and "peaceful co-existence"; China basically wishes to be left alone to develop economically and to engage in economic trade with other nations.

China is no doubt engaged in military modernization. But protecting itself against menacing military encirclement, rather than alleged aggressive tendencies, is the key reason for this.

The author is a Canadian freelance writer.

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