World / Asia-Pacific

Cold war mentality lingers in South China Sea arbitration

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-06 21:23

BEIJING -  With the Philippines as the leading actor and the United States cheering in the bleachers, the political farce of an arbitral tribunal without jurisdiction over the South China Sea issue has sounded an alarm for the lingering cold-war mentality.

By supporting the Philippines in this action, the United States has regressed from his historical stance of World War II, misleading the world about China's rise in the 21st century.

Few people realize that China is the only one of the five big anti-Fascist countries that has not fully recovered its territory.

That is not because of the cowardice of the Chinese people but the values it uphold in its diplomacy with surrounding countries: always seeking good neighborly and friendly ties.

In a world already accustomed to the law of the jungle and zero-sum games in international relations, China's restraint and kindness are not only difficult for some countries to understand but also result in the mistaken impression that it is a pushover.

Back in 1948 when China officially unveiled the map of the South China Sea to the international community, including the U-shape line after recovering its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the Xisha and Nansha Islands in compliance with the Cairo Declaration in 1946, none of the countries in the South China Sea area raised any objection.

It should be mentioned that the United States, during its rule over the Philippines, never recognized the Nansha Islands as part of the Philippines.

According to evidence presented when the Philippines tried to seize part of the Nansha Islands in 1933 by history professor Hu Deshen, chief of the China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies of Wuhan University, the U.S. State Department notified the Philippines that America could not recognize those islands some 200 nautical miles away from the waters of the Philippines as its territory, according to the Spanish-American Treaty in 1898.

In the 1970s, the Philippines illegally occupied China's Nansha Islands again. To cover up its act of aggression, it described the Taiping Dao as a "rock". The truth is that when the Chinese government recovered Taiping Dao after WWII, it found six freshwater wells and lush plants there.

According to Japanese archives, during its occupation of Tailing Dao, Japan exploited phosphates and there were over 600 people living there.

Obviously the Philippines is trying to deceive the international community, but China did not resort to force. Instead, it proposed negotiation, and later suggested "shelving disputes and joint development."

As a country whose people left their footprints on the islands in the South China Sea more than 2000 years ago, China has exercised restraint, not out of fear, but for the good of the region.

Interference by the United States, on the contrary, is not to uphold justice as it has proclaimed, but to contain China and jeopardize regional peace. If Asia is in turmoil, the United States has nothing to lose.

Neither is China the only country refusing to enforce the ruling of an international court with no jurisdiction. The United States is doing just the same. Pressing China to follow the upcoming arbitration result will only attest the country's love of double standards.

Nevertheless, whatever the result is, the real challenge is the obsolete thinking that a rising power is sure to seek hegemony.

If the United States is unwilling to off-load its thinking and try to appreciate China's logic and culture, similar farces will occur again in different forms. Regional peace and shared development will then be a distant memory in Asia.

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