Lying about China puts US to shame: China Daily editorial
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who began a trip on Sunday that takes him to India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia, said that he will work with each of the four countries to find the best ways they can cooperate to preserve "a free and open Indo-Pacific".
At the same time he said that his talks with these countries would include discussions on how they can work together to thwart what he claimed were the threats posed by China.
His remarks are contradictory. If his mission is meant to foster concerted actions to oppose China in South Asia, how can the Indo-Pacific possibly be free and open?
No matter what he says about China — and he says a lot, all of it malicious — it is up to these four countries to decide whether China, whose leaders have emphasized on various occasions its peaceful rise, poses a threat to them.
The US is unhappy with China's growing influence and green with envy that China's Belt and Road Initiative has proved so appealing. This has breathed new life into the US' Cold War mentality, with Pompeo proving to be a tireless and enthusiastic mud-slinger at China.
Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia are all participants in the Belt and Road Initiative. They know exactly how their cooperation with China has benefitted their development.
It is an insult to these countries for the US' top diplomat to tell them that they have been cajoled or even cheated into "debt traps" by China. It seems that the top officials in the US consider the leaders of the more than 100 countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative to be not as smart as they are, and therefore easily duped by a wily China.
That so many countries are participating in the initiative speaks volumes about how popular the program is, thanks to its emphasis on connectivity and shared benefits. Contrary to the political spite that Pompeo spews, statistics show that none of these countries has ever been caught in a debt trap.
What China is doing by advocating and promoting global cooperation is a tonic to countries that had hitherto been left to fend for themselves in the economic jungle favored by the US.
The US has become accustomed to relying on a network of remote servers to do its will, practicing a sort of cloud politics that was feasible in an earlier historical context. Now that developing countries are asserting themselves as independent members of the international community and no longer willing to play follow-the-leader, the US is trying to sow the seeds of hatred and estrangement in a bid to salvage its declining prestige and power of persuasion.