Opinion / Opinion Line

US stirring up trouble at sea

By HUANG XIANGYANG (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-12 07:54

US stirring up trouble at sea

This satellite image shows the Yongshu Jiao of China's Nansha Islands. [Photo/Xinhua]

The situation in the South China Sea took a worrying turn for the worse on Tuesday after the US guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence conducted another so-called freedom of navigation operation near Yongshu Reef in China's Nansha Islands.

The US is on shaky ground using this justification as internaitonal maritime law never authorizes military vessels any freedom of navigation into territorial waters of another nation.

If the US really cares about the unrestricted flow of goods on the sea, it should refrain from flexing its military muscles on China's doorstep, as this is only raising tensions in the region.

China responded to the latest provocation by deploying two navy fighter jets, one early-warning aircraft and three ships to track and warn-off the US warship. This is an appropriate countermeasure to the challenge to its maritime sovereignty and security.

More resolute measures can be expected in the future as China has reiterated that its resolve to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity is "as firm as a rock".

As the Pentagon steps up its provocations in the Chinese waters, China is left with no choice but to strengthen its countermeasures. The situation is evolving in a worrying way as it is leaving less room for consultation and compromise, and the cycle of tit-for-tat actions risks setting the two countries on a collision course.

Despite being conducted in the guise of the common good, the moves by the US in the South China Sea smack of its arrogance as the world's sole superpower. In essence they are intended to maintain its "unchallenged primacy" in the Asia-Pacific, which the Pentagon fears may be compromised by China's growing economic and military strength.

But that's a misreading of China's intentions.

"The broad Pacific Ocean is vast enough to embrace both China and the US," President Xi Jinping once said. China has no intention or interest in vying for dominance with the US in region. But it is wrong to expect it to allow its sovereignty to be threatened.

This has been proved by the history.

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