Opinion / Wang Hui

Righting US wrongs ought to be Trump's Asia-Pacific policy

By Wang Hui (China Daily) Updated: 2016-11-17 07:47

In the Asia-Pacific, Obama's "pivot to Asia" strategy, a move widely seen as intended to contain China's rise, has not only soured relations with China but also heightened tensions in the South China Sea, as Washington has used the maritime disputes between China and some Southeast Asian countries to beef up its military presence in the region.

The US is not a party to any of the South China Sea disputes, and its interference has harmed regional cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China and other regional partners.

Worse, countries in the region were forced to take sides in the disputes and thus be distracted from far more important issues of regional development and integration. Had the South China Sea and East China Sea remained peaceful, countries in the region could have devoted more energy into translating the regional development blueprint into action and thus contributing more to global economic recovery.

The tensions created by the Obama administration over the South China Sea disputes have served nobody's interests. And the developments of the past years show the "pivot to Asia" strategy has been counterproductive, even in serving US interests.

The Philippines, a close Washington ally and used by the US to provoke China over maritime disputes, has made a U-turn by choosing to improve ties with China and distancing itself from the US.

As China and the US both have high stakes in the peaceful development of the Asia-Pacific, they ought to cooperate with, rather than confront, each other to build peace and stability in the region. The incoming Trump administration should make the right choice.

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

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