• 10 July, 2020 10:03 am

International

Asia wise enough not to fall into US traps

China, July 10:

Unless when he’s attacking China, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just doesn’t know what to say. He launched an all-round attack on China from the very start of a press conference of the State Department on Wednesday – from the arrest of dissident Xu Zhiyong, to the China-India border standoff, and to the refusal of several US internet giants to share user data with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government.

Perhaps because US senior officials have attacked China way too frequently and exaggeratedly that these attacks did not influence US opinion. But it is true they will generate negative impacts on the international community.

Pompeo’s latest accusations of China caught international attention because he accused China of taking “incredibly aggressive action” in the recent clash with India. He also linked it with China’s disputes with Vietnam, Japan and Bhutan, alleging that “Beijing has a pattern of instigating territorial disputes. The world shouldn’t allow this bullying to take place, nor should it permit it to continue.”

Even Indian officials have not openly accused China of taking “aggressive action.” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said no one entered Indian territory following the China-India border clash in the Galwan Valley. 

China and Bhutan have disputes over the ownership of a protected area, but there has been no clash between the two countries. International public opinion has almost paid no attention to the dispute apart from Indian media reports.

Due to historical reasons, Asia is a region with many territorial disputes, many of which are due to Western colonial rule or the US’ military occupation after WWII. Many East Asian countries have territorial disputes with multiple neighboring countries simultaneously. For example, Japan has disputes with Russia, South Korea and China, and India has disputes with China, Pakistan and Nepal.

Despite all the disputes, it has been years since there was a border war in East Asia. This has a lot to do with China’s firm advocacy of a peaceful settlement of disputes. In East Asia, China is the country with the most land and maritime neighbors, and with the most powerful comprehensive strength. Our belief in peace and development has had a profound impact on managing differences in the entire region.

Through negotiations, China resolved border disputes with Russia and several Central Asian countries at the beginning of the 21st century. China and Vietnam have completed the final demarcation of their land border. These are rare model cases in Asia. 

In addition, China has actively promoted the management of territorial disputes in East China Sea and the South China Sea, easing the once tense maritime friction. This is a blessing for the region.

Pompeo is malicious to describe the complexities of territorial disputes in East Asia as China “bullying” its neighboring countries. He just wanted to incite regional countries to intensify their conflicts with China and make them believe that the US is their supporter so that they can challenge China boldly. 

From the strategy of rebalancing the Asia-Pacific region of the previous US administration, Washington has had the policy of messing up territorial disputes in Asia to gain. At that time, Washington appeared “neutral.” But now, with the incitement of politicians like Pompeo, Washington has torn off its mask and supports every country that has territorial disputes with China. Its strategic malice to destabilize China’s periphery has been fully exposed. 

We believe East Asian countries will not be fooled. They are able to see what is behind Washington’s new posture, and that Washington’s support will not help them win their territorial claims.  

This is the geopolitical trap Washington has laid for Asia. Whoever jumps in will pay the price. The recent border clash between China and India vividly shows that fierce wrestling is no way to resolve border disputes. An escalation of tensions will only lead to a dead end. Asian countries should be firm not to turn territorial disputes into the overriding melody of regional development. This will test the wisdom of regional countries.

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