Display of navy clout show of intimidation: China Daily editorial
This year's Rim of the Pacific exercises, organized in the Pacific waters around Hawaii and South California from June 29 to Aug 4, serve to expose the extent to which the United States seeks to impose its will on the region.
Including all members of the Quad and AUKUS, as well as five nations bordering the South China Sea, the international maritime exercises involve around 25,000 personnel from 26 nations.
That's something the US administration undoubtedly takes pride in, as the lineup shows its "political clout", as Carl Schuster, former director of operations at the US Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center, told the media.
It is intended to signal that Washington's influence and strategic position is not in decline. That being said, the political clout it has marshalled is aimed at ensuring an "Indo-Pacific" that is subject to the dictates of the US rather than one that is truly "free and open".
By organizing such large-scale exercises, while the Ukraine crisis is underway, the US is also intent on showing the world that the Ukraine conflict has not disturbed its agenda or consumed too much of its resources, and its strategic focus remains in the "Indo-Pacific".
For a long time, the US and its allies have become used to China being locked within the so-called first island chain, which comprises the US' island allies and some islands under its control in the region.
But with the rise of its national strengths, China has developed the capacity to defend its core interests and sovereignty and territorial integrity in a broader scope in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
With China's economic and trade cooperation with the island countries in the region and the rest of the world becoming increasingly close, the first and second island chains now only exist as a legacy Cold War geopolitical concept for Washington's armchair strategists.
As it is in the trade sector, many of those 26 nations, including the US itself, participating in the RIMPAC exercises have close exchanges and cooperation with China and other countries in the region that are not taking part in the exercises as well, it is wrong for the US to regard the participants as partners and the nonparticipants as imagined enemies, and to encourage the other participants to think so too.
The US should discard its zero-sum Cold War mindset and divide to rule approach, and work with the rest of the Asia-Pacific family to promote common development.
The confidence of a country is shown by its generosity of spirit in embracing all others, not by displays of force intended to intimidate those with which it does not see eye to eye.