Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

US must fight terrorism not meddle in South China Sea

By Wang Hui ( Updated: 2016-07-06 18:52

So many innocent lives have been lost and such a high price has been paid with the rise of IS. There is no reason why the world should not be united and concentrate on an anti-terrorism campaign, because terrorism and extremism have no boundaries and no country is immune from the scourge.

In the anti-terror campaign, the United States has played an important role, spent a significant amount of money and made sacrifices. But at the same time it is under constant criticism for not devoting more energy and resources to fighting the terrorists in the Middle East.

It can be traced deeper, of course. The chaotic situation in some Middle East countries today is the result of the US-led intervention policy in the region in recent years.

Some in the world arena believe US President Barack Obama – who will leave office in a little more than six months – will step up anti-terror efforts in the Middle East to guarantee it as part of his legacy as president. As the world’s sole superpower, the US seeks to maintain a leading role in the Middle East. Therefore, if Obama is to leave the White House with a better record in the Middle East, he should coordinate more with Russia and the other forces fighting IS.

More importantly, the US should adjust its own strategy. For one thing, Washington still lacks a comprehensive plan and both long-term and short-term aims for the war against IS.

But its constant meddling in the South China Sea issue has raised tensions in the region and offers proof for the rest of the world to recognize the US’ true intention: It now has far more interest in stirring trouble in the waters of the South China Sea than helping the world make a major breakthrough in the war against terror.

It is obvious that the US is intensifying military maneuvers near disputed waters to showcase its support in an arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China regarding the South China Sea. An international tribunal in The Hague is scheduled to give its rulings on July 12.

According to the US Navy, its three guided-missile destroyers, the Decatur, Spruance and Momsen, left Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on April 27 and began monitoring the South China Sea on June 22. Earlier last month, it also deployed two aircraft carriers and their accompanying ships in the Philippine Sea.

In response, speaking at a dialogue between Chinese and US think tanks in Washington on July 5, former Chinese State councilor Dai Bingguo said China would not be intimidated by US actions “even if the US sent 10 aircraft carriers to the South China Sea”.

If such confrontation between the US and China continues to escalate, it will definitely distract international attention from the anti-terror campaign in the Middle East, and the US should be totally blamed for that.

The maritime disputes have nothing to do with the US. There is not a single case in which freedom of navigation has been impeded in any way. Hence, the more the US involves itself in the South China Sea issue, the less people will believe the US remains committed to world peace and stability.

The author is deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily Asia Pacific.

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