International ties

U.S. involvement will only complicate South China Sea issue

By Wu Liming, Chen Yong (Xinhua)
Updated: 2010-07-28 11:06
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By claiming U.S. national interests in the South China Sea, Washington intends to expand its involvement in an ocean area tens of thousands of miles away from America.

Obviously, Washington's strategy is to play the old trick again in the South China Sea, in its bid to maintain America's "long-held sway" in the western Pacific Ocean.

For decades, the United States has regarded itself as a dominant power in the Pacific Ocean, and the Pentagon deems any change of the status quo as a severe challenge to it.

As South Korea's Yonhap news agency put it, Washington is worried that China's presence in the South China Sea could "undermine America's long-held sway in Asia."

As a matter of fact, it is U.S. officials, scholars and media who are exaggerating the "tensions" in the South China Sea, while most countries in the region are convinced that the situation there is peaceful.

As Beijing-based The Global Times points out, Washington is trying to incite the hostility of countries around the South China Sea toward China in a bid to seek its own interests.

Unfortunately, some countries around the South China Sea are embracing the U.S. strategy, thus voluntarily playing into the hands of Washington.

These countries may cherish illusions about the internationalization of the South China Sea issue and hope for outside involvement that would cater to their own interests.

But the fact is that things will most likely run counter to their wishes, and they will finally turn into a chess piece of a superpower.

Take Hillary Clinton's trip to Hanoi for example. While playing up the South China Sea issue, she immediately rapped a few ASEAN countries over the issues of "human rights" and "press freedoms."

In short, Washington always puts its own interests above those of ASEAN countries and becomes lukewarm whenever it comes to the question of offering help to these countries.

For countries around the South China Sea, direct bilateral negotiations are the best way to resolve their disputes, and seeking outside involvement is doomed to failure.

The above-mentioned DOC stipulates that "the parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned."

The DOC thus enhances mutual trust among the countries concerned and creates favorable conditions and a good atmosphere for efforts to seek a final solution to the disputes.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that attempts to internationalize the issue would "only make matters worse and resolution more difficult," and that "international practices show that the best way to resolve such disputes is for countries concerned to have direct bilateral negotiations."

To sum up, outside involvement will only complicate the South China Sea issue and hinder a smooth resolution of the thorny issue.

Therefore, Asian countries should display wisdom in resolving the issue through direct friendly consultations, and should be on guard against being used as a chess piece paving the way for outside involvement.

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