US playing a messy game of provocations in SCS; China build up defense to thwart the provocation

In October, the US guided missile destroyer USS Lassen conducted a “freedom of navigation” operation within 12 nautical miles of China’s Meiji and Zhubi reefs.

In December, a United States Air Force B-52 bomber “accidentally” flew within 2 nautical miles of China’s Huayang Reef.

On Saturday, the Pentagon announced an “innocent passage” by the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur within 12 nautical miles of China’s Zhongjian Island.

On the surface, these are “routine” operations US Senator John McCain says are “normal occurrences” China will have to accept.

Yet this is not a Tom-and-Jerry kind of game where no party gets seriously hurt.

There is real potential danger, because the US challenges to China in the South China Sea are showing a trajectory of escalation.

Zhongjian Island is part of the Xisha Archipelago, where there is no current, active dispute, and hardly part of the issue of the day.

The Pentagon did display some diplomatic sophistication this time, claiming that the USS Curtis Wilbur “challenged attempts by the three claimants-China, Taiwan and Vietnam-to restrict navigation rights and freedoms around the features they claim by policies that require prior permission or notification of transit within territorial seas”.

Ignoring the fact this violates the US’ recognition of “one China”, reaffirmed by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, the Pentagon’s statement raises legitimate suspicions that it has an agenda to further complicate the South China Sea issue.

As in the rest of the South China Sea, there is no evidence the named “claimants” are attempting to “restrict navigation rights and freedoms”. Enlarging the South China Sea issue by extending it to the Xisha Archipelago may be an attempt to drive a wedge between the mainland and Taiwan by dragging the latter into a long dormant and increasingly forgotten “dispute”.

The US wants a larger role in the Asia-Pacific. And it is bent on preempting a perceived Chinese challenge.

There is no better way to do this than by making things messier, to make itself “needed” and “wanted”.

What China needs and wants is peace, but as the Chinese saying goes, while the tree craves calm, the wind will not abate. Beijing needs to react accordingly, and prepare for all possibilities.

However, the country learned the significance of comprehensive national strength the hard way. It should not be distracted. It should rise above stress responses and stay focused on its development agenda. – China Daily)

Build up defense to thwart US provocation 

China firmly upholds her sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. [Photo/Xinhua]

The US on Saturday sent one of its naval vessels within 12 nautical miles of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea. The move, according to the Pentagon, was about “challenging excessive maritime claims that restrict the rights and freedoms of the United States and others.” The Chinese side criticized the behavior of a “serious political and military provocation.”

Until recently, China-US frictions have been fixed on the Nansha Islands. The latest intrusion by US vessels is a high-profile US provocation that has expanded to the Xisha Islands. Xisha is under China’s actual control and China has released the territorial sea baseline of the Xisha Islands, including Zhongjian Island. Therefore, the US provocation this time is more vicious.

Currently, China and the US have been focused on making their own moves in the South China Sea disputes. China is building islands in accordance with the law, and the US cannot prevent China from doing so despite strong protests. The US sent warships to provoke, and China protests against it strongly, yet with few effective countermeasures.

It is hard to evaluate the strategic nature of Sino-US confrontations in the South China Sea. China seems to have more room to maneuver, while the US apparently has more control over the overall situation.

Since it happens at the door of China, China feels that the US is circling to contain it and the US vigilance against China is aggressive. There is a long way to go before China can have an equal footing with the US. Such equality can only be achieved with the build-up of strategic strength.

China’s military strength still significantly lags behind that of the US. If the US is ready for a face-off in the South China Sea, it can quickly gather its military strength despite the far distance.

We also face similar setbacks in the East China Sea. We bear enormous pressure from Washington in our peripheral areas, and the relative backwardness of China’s military might is the weakest link in our competition with the US. Chinese people must be clear about the broader strategic significance of this reality.

The US provocation comes ahead of the 2016 two sessions which are scheduled in March. This reminds us that we must retain a high growth rate of military spending in spite of the economic downward trend.

The defense expenditure of a big power must constitute a certain percentage of its overall expense. China’s military budget only takes up 2 percent of its GDP, much lower than the US figure of 4 percent. Before we reach the same ratio as the US, we should hold a cautious attitude toward decreasing the defense budget.

China needs to accelerate its speed of building up strategic strike capabilities, including a nuclear second-strike capability. The US provocation will not stop due to Chinese objections. In the short-term future, we will have limited means to counter the US.

It will probably take China a dozen years or longer of military build-up before it faces a different situation in the South China Sea. – Global Times

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Taiwan chooses Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman, Tsai Ing-wen, not independence

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Tsai Ing-wen won by a landslide in Taiwan’s “presidential” elections on Saturday, and the DPP she leads captured the majority of seats in the Legislative Yuan, with the Kuomintang once again becoming an opposition party.

Since KMT’s defeat in Taiwan’s nine-in-one local elections in 2014, it’s expected that the DPP will assume power again. To win the election, Tsai made prudent remarks and took an ambiguous attitude toward cross-Straits policies in the past year. She kept stressing maintaining the status quo of cross-Straits ties.

By circumventing the sensitive cross-Straits issue, Tsai had clearly drawn a lesson from her defeat four years ago. When “Taiwan’s path” was discussed in the “presidential” campaign this time around, the focus was not whether the island should seek “independence,” but how to boost the island’s economy, address social inequality, and guarantee the future of younger generations.

The vote is not a gauge of cross-Straits relations. The DPP’s victory doesn’t mean the majority of Taiwanese support Taiwan independence. Tsai and her party are aware of this, so in her victory speech, she was evasive about the current issues between Taiwan and the mainland, only scrupulously stating that she will be engaged in a “consistent, predictable and sustainable cross-Straits relations.”

The past eight years have seen greater progress for cross-Straits relations. Such progress, which is hard to be reversed, will provide some restraint on the DPP’s mainland policy. Besides, the mainland has an asymmetrical edge over Taiwan in political, military and economic terms. The mainland firmly holds the initiative in cross-Straits relations, making Taiwan independence a completely impossible scenario.

The KMT’s eight-year administration has made contributions to the current stage of cross-Straits relations, a performance that merits recognition both in Taiwan and the mainland. After this power shift, the DPP should assume the responsibility of serving the best interests of Taiwanese society, avoiding creating trouble for cross-Straits relations like it did as an opposition party. If the DPP abandons the progress made by its predecessor in the past eight years, it will jeopardize its future as a ruling party. The lesson of Chen Shui-bian should be a long-lasting lesson.

The mainland should be more prudent toward the power shift in Taiwan. No matter which party takes power, the mainland should maintain a policy calling for peaceful development between the mainland and Taiwan, while it cannot waver in opposing any form of pro-independence movement in Taiwan.

Tsai hasn’t publicly accepted the “1992 consensus,” which casts a cloud over cross-Straits official communications after she assumes office. The mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Saturday said that Beijing upholds the 1992 consensus and hasn’t shown any change toward Taiwan.

Regardless of its relationship with the mainland, it’s impossible for the DPP to reverse Taiwan’s stagnant economy. No matter what kind of political philosophy Tsai espouses, she has to face up to the reality. She should know she has limited options.

Tsai should keep in mind that if she revisits Chen’s dangerous path to cross the red line of cross-Straits relations, she will meet a dead end. We hope Tsai can lead the DPP out of the hallucinations of Taiwan independence, and contribute to the peaceful and common development between Taiwan and the mainland. – – Global Times

Tsai should prove sincerity about peace across Taiwan Straits

Now that the Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-wen has won Taiwan’s “presidential” election, she should waste no time to prove that she is sincere in maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. She should work to make people in Taiwan feel safe, instead of creating anxieties with her ambiguous mainland policy.

Tsai has played the card of “maintaining the status quo” during her election campaigns. But she has never made it clear how she would approach the 1992 Consensus.

As the cornerstone of cross-Straits relations, the consensus insists there is only one China, of which both the mainland and Taiwan are a part, though the meaning of “one China” is open to interpretation by both sides.

For a Taiwan leader, whether to accept the consensus or not decides which direction he or she would lead the island in: peace and stability, or conflicts and tension. The issue bears no ambiguity.

Thanks to the consensus, cross-Straits relations have developed smoothly over the past eight years. A slew of agreements have been signed to boost trade and tourism, bringing benefits to people on both sides. The two sides’ top leaders met last November, for the first time since 1949.

All this has not come by easily, and should not be taken for granted. It requires efforts from both sides to make sure the momentum will not be interrupted by a leadership change, or derailed by any political missteps and misjudgment. After all, peaceful development of cross-Straits relations conforms to the interests of both Taiwan and the mainland.

Tsai has reportedly expressed wishes that both sides could work together for peace across the Taiwan Straits. If she means what she says, and accepts the 1992 Consensus, prospects for cross-Straits relations will remain promising.

The mainland has kept the door to dialogue open with the DPP so long as it accepts that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. The mainland has also taken a flexible approach when handling relations with the DPP. The channel of communication remains unblocked.

Many differences remain between the mainland and Taiwan, not only in lifestyle and social system, but also in how and when the two sides should be reunited. But under no circumstance should the differences be used as excuses to seek Taiwan independence, which means war, as the mainland’s Anti-Secession Law suggests. The bottom line shall never be tested.

Any attempt to steer the island closer to independence will be a fool’s errand. – China Daily

US will benefit by accepting China’s rise

Trade volume between China and the US hit $441.6 billion in the first three quarters of the year, surpassing the $438.1 billion in trade between Canada and the US. [Photo/IC]

In the past year, the growing pressure on US President Barack Obama’s foreign policy due to the unfolding US presidential race cast a shadow on US-China ties despite some achievements.

The international situation and diplomatic practices in the passing year, to a large extent, confirm this contention. Some impartial American scholars agree to it because of the global issues the US faces, and wonder why the US has gone all out looking for “adversaries” in every corner of the world. Also, a number of such scholars believe that whether China and the US can avoid a confrontation largely depends on whether the US can rethink its “dominant power” status.

The world is undergoing profound changes, and that includes China’s rise. The changes, however, have made some people in the US nervous, according to some American scholars. The US has got accustomed to being the world’s most powerful country. But the fact is, the US’ power has been declining. And these people attribute the development to the weakening US leadership and argue that a strong leadership will help restore Washington’s unchallenged position in the world.

Needless to say the presumption is unrealistic. A sagacious analysis of the situation, however, can help the US rethink its real position in the world. Regrettably, US decision-makers have failed to read the vicissitudes of the times and still want to maintain world peace under Washington’s leadership and change other countries by forcing them to adopt the US model of “democracy”.

The world today is different from what the US imagines it to be. Countries, including the powerful ones, will prosper if they follow the general world trend and falter if they go against the tide. The trend suggests the developing world as a whole will continue to rise because emerging countries now contribute more than 50 percent to world economic growth. Even some Westerners admit that no major world issue can be resolved without the participation of big countries such as China, India and Brazil.

Despite all this, there is hardly a country that doesn’t want to maintain and develop good ties with the US. The BRICS countries expect smooth cooperation with the US. Russia may be determined to rid Syria of terrorists, but it has still made it clear that it wants cooperation with the US. China’s willingness to cooperate with the US is also beyond doubt. But the problem is, the US has not made appropriate changes in its stance and often takes actions without paying attention to other countries’ interests.

Because of China’s consistent efforts, Beijing and Washington have made notable achievements in economic, military and cultural fields, and these hard-won achievements should be cherished by both sides. But by being unnecessarily worried that China will challenge its hegemonic status, the US has been making moves to contain China on various fronts. Apt examples are the US’ tough and even provocative stance and actions on the South China Sea issue.

The ever-increasing interdependence of China and the US should have led to better bilateral ties. And with many US allies, including Britain, Canada and Australia, showing greater interest in cooperating with China, one wonders why the US cannot do the same when it comes to its relationship with China.

By Wang Yusheng (China Daily)

The author is executive director of the Strategy Study Center, China Foundation for International Studies.


China Establishes PLA Army General Command, Creates Rocket Force, Strategic Support Force – nuclear strategy to remain consistent

At the inauguration ceremony for the three military forces, President Xi Jinping conferred military flags to the commanders and political commissars of each force.

The commander of the PLA Army is Li Zuocheng, who was previously commander of the Chengdu Military Region. The Rocket Force is headed by Wei Fenghe, previously commander of the Second Artillery Corps, while the Strategic Support Force chief is lieutenant general Gao Jin, former president of the PLA Academy of Military Sciences and chief of staff of the Second Artillery Corps.

US is bringing storms to Apec and ploy in South China Sea

Stirring up a storm

US is bringing storms to South China Sea

The 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting starts in Manila, the Philippines on Wednesday. The suspense is to what extent the US will foist the South China Sea disputes into this economic and trade meeting. Manila has made clear that territorial disputes will not be included on the agenda, but Washington is not resigned to letting it go, but apparently will bring forth the issue on the sidelines of the meeting.

Compared with the horrible terror clouding Europe, the bone of contention in the APEC meeting – the South China Sea disputes – is unworthy of equal attention. France has shut its borders, and several European countries and half of US states are considering whether to shun Syrian refugees. Chaos and turbulence caused by relentless wars continue in the Middle East, and with the path of fleeing blocked, hatred and resentment among the refugees will thrive.

Many believe the US should assume the primary responsibility for the turmoil in Europe. The US has managed to keep terrorism away from of its own turf after rounds of strong interventions in the Middle East with the aid of its European allies after the 9/11 attacks. However, unable to extend their reach to American soil, terrorists have sabotaged Europe time and again, from Madrid to London and recently, Paris.

Now, Washington sets its sights on the South China Sea. It is trying to provoke regional tensions like it did in the Middle East by waving a larger banner reading “pivot to Asia.”

The West has been eager to fan the flames everywhere, but excused themselves by claiming they are not cause of the tension.

The question is whether the South China Sea is heading toward turmoil. If it is, the region will probably be doomed. The raging waves in the South China Sea, argued some analysts, are also likely to jeopardize Washington’s interests, but compared with the much greater threat and dangers a turbulent South China Sea poses to China, Washington might be willing to take the risk.

The South China Sea is not a powder keg, because countries around the sea have established a community of shared destiny in terms of development. This could be a cushion against aggression in territorial rows. No claimant is willing to head for a showdown in the South China Sea. Tension surrounding China’s reclamation of islands in the sea is abating, stretching the elasticity of the other claimants in dealing with the territorial disputes.

Washington is in the middle of instigating more tensions and accepting China’s expanding leverage in rule-making, albeit it has launched vocal protests and flexed its muscles by sending warships in the sea.

China is gaining the upper hand in directing the South China Sea issues, which is a guarantee that the region won’t be out of control due to Washington’s instigation.

For the public good of the entire region, China should exert restraint over Washington’s mischief. – Global Times

US ploy in South China Sea bound to fail

President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Philippines for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting from Nov 17 to 19 has quelled speculations that the maritime disputes with the host nation could make him decide otherwise.

Last week Philippines President Benigno Aquino III assured visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that the APEC meeting would focus on Asia-Pacific regional economic cooperation without raising the disputes in the South China Sea, as most members including China had agreed. But the US State Department has hinted that the South China Sea issue could be raised during the meeting despite Manila’s efforts to prevent the agenda from deviating from free trade and sustainable growth in and common prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.

As the world’s second-largest sea-lane that connects the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, the South China Sea is of great strategic importance to all countries in the region, as well as the US and European countries.

Nearly 80 percent of global trade depends upon maritime transportation, and about one-third of it is carried out through the South China Sea, which sees the passage of at least 40,000 ships a year. The number of oil tankers that sail through the Strait of Malacca, a critical passage through regional waters, is almost three times that of the Suez Canal and five times of the Panama Canal. Two-thirds of the global trade in liquefied natural gas is also conducted through the waterway.

China has more stakes that any other country in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea, because it is a major channel of its global economic network. So ensuring smooth transportation (of energy sources) and navigation through the South China Sea is not only conducive to the shared interests of all Asia-Pacific economies – such as China, the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – but also economies elsewhere.

China passed the Law on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone in 1992, and the Law on the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf seven years later. It ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1996 and publicized the territorial baseline of its mainland and Xisha Islands.

True, it is yet to disclose the territorial baseline of its Nansha Islands, but that does not nullify its legal rights in the surrounding waters, including territorial sea, exclusive economic zones and continental shelf. This makes the entry of US guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen into the waters near China’s islands in the South China Sea last month a violation of international law.

The US’ attempt to justify its action on the pretext of “freedom of navigation” is a rather clumsy argument that ignores some specific clauses in international law, for instance, innocent passage in territorial seas, transit passage in straits used for international navigation, and sea-lane passage through archipelagoes.

Also, the freedom of navigation clause in international law is neither unconditional nor beyond international regulations. Freedom of navigation can neither be above an affected coastal state’s laws and rights in the exclusive economic zones nor can it override other countries’ interests in the high seas.

Washington’s recent provocative moves have infringed upon Beijing’s maritime sovereignty and security in the South China Sea, the United Nations Charter as well as international law. They were also intended to show the US’ military muscles on the pretext of practicing freedom of navigation.

But China is not one to give in when it comes to its territorial, maritime and security interests, and the US is unlikely to succeed in its designs by instigating ASEAN countries to challenge China’s maritime rights in the South China Sea.

The author is deputy director of the China Institute for Marine Affairs attached to the State Oceanic Administration.

By Jia Yu (China Daily)

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Xi-Ma meeting in Singapore is for the next generation, deserves the world’s applause


Chinese mainland authorities announced Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese leader Ma Ying-jeou will meet in Singapore on Saturday to exchanges views on peaceful development across the Straits. The Xi-Ma meeting is a major breakthrough in relations between Taiwan and the mainland. It will exert a positive influence on the island’s future policy toward the mainland and lay a firm foundation for the way the world perceives this relationship.

Since the Wang-Koo meeting in 1993, the level of meetings between leaders from the two sides has been getting higher, but no breakthrough has been made yet, mainly because it is difficult to define their identities and titles. Taiwan has hoped to identify its leaders as “president,” to which the mainland cannot agree since this is not only a matter of identity, but of the nature of mainland-Taiwan relations.

According to Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, Xi and Ma will meet as the “leaders” of both sides upon negotiations in line with the one-China principle when political differences between the two sides remain.

Xi and Ma will call each other “Mister,” which will be a unique phenomenon in top meetings.

This practical arrangement will create space for both sides to seek a solution in future. The Taiwan question can generally go into three directions – maintaining the status quo, stepping into unification, or realizing so-called “Taiwan Independence.”

It is unlikely that the cross-Straits relationship will maintain its current exact status quo as it is changing all the time. “Taiwan independence” has been driven by interior extreme forces. Meanwhile, the counter thrusts include the mainland’s increasingly powerful clout and the positive mainstream forces from Taiwan itself. The world is also anticipating closer cross-Straits ties. These forces shape the big picture of closer cross-Straits relations.

Xi’s political appeal has impressed both sides of the Straits and the whole world. The long anticipated meeting will be finally realized in his first-term. His appeal is essential for taking key steps to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Ma deserves warm applause for his willingness to have the meeting. With seven months left in office, during his term the 1992 Consensus has been well upheld and cross-Straits cooperation prospers. Despite his controversial governance of Taiwan, the positive factors of cross-Straits ties may have a longer influence on Taiwan’s future path than Ma’s term.

The opposition camp in Taiwan has made immediate objections, hoping to control public opinion. But they should be aware that the historic meeting is supported by the whole world, including the US, and they are displaying jiggery-pokery from a small circle. Such extremism is bound to be stigmatized.

The Xi-Ma meeting has excited Chinese people worldwide. International society is also interested in seeing the two sides taking a pragmatic step forward. Applause will be heard globally for the victory of peace and rationality. – Global Times

2 structures collapse due to incompetent engineers and irresponsible officer of MPPP

Three slammed over finwall tragedy

GEORGE TOWN: An incompetent engineer, a irresponsible one and a neglectful senior civil servant have come under fire in the report on the collapse of the finwall from the top of the 21-storey Menara Umno building in Jalan Macalister here.

A car driver and a lorry attendant died in the incident on June 13, 2013. Several vehicles and property were damaged. The body of the motorist was never been recovered.

The Commission of Enquiry, headed by Datuk Yeo Yang Poh, recommended that the Board of Engineers take action against finwall design engineer Lee Ah Yew and Dr Gerry Wong Kong Ming who signed and submitted the engineering drawings to the then Penang Municipal Council.

The report stated that (the then) North-East district officer Azizi Zakaria ought to have played a central role as the person in charge of emergency responses under ‘Arahan 20’, but had totally ignored and abandoned his duties.

It said Azizi was unfit to hold his post and “should have the honour of resigning, failing which he should be removed from office.”

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng distributed copies of the 312-page “Report of The Commission of Enquiry into the Failure of Two Civil Structures in the State of Penang” to pressmen yesterday.

The report also details investigations into the ramp collapse at the Batu Maung Interchange of the second Penang bridge on June 6, 2013.

On the Menara Umno building, the report said the collapse of the finwall was due to “grossly inadequate design.”

The finwall, which was called “a lightning arrester” by the media, is a reinforced-concrete structure weighing about 200 tonnes.

“The engineer Lee has no experience in designing a slender cantilever column on top of a tall building.

“He committed multiple serious errors when designing the structure,” it said.

On Dr Wong, the report said that he signed and submitted the engineering drawings to the council without checking.

“As such, the errors and inadequacies in the design of the finwall are deemed to be his; for which he must bear equal responsibility.”

The report said Azizi’s dereliction of duty was “so complete that it is difficult to imagine anyone who could have done worse”.

“His lack of remorse or contrition when he testified before the Commission and his unabashed downplay of his total neglect of duty are very disturbing,” it said.

Lee and Dr Wong could not be reached for comments. It is learnt that Azizi has retired.

BY K. SUTHAKAR and CHRISTOPHER TAN The Star/Asia News Network

Inquiry into 2013 mishap at Menara Umno in Jalan Macalister blames engineers

GEORGE TOWN: The Commission of Inquiry into the failures of two civil structures in Penang has come down hard on the engineer who designed the fin wall atop the 21st storey of Menara Umno in Jalan Macalister.

The engineer, Lee Ah Yew, was “grossly incompetent and grossly negligent” and had committed multiple serious errors, which resulted in the reinforced-concrete structure weighing about 200 tonnes collapsing on June 13, 2013.

In its report, the three-member commission headed by Datuk Yeo Yang Poh said Monday that Lee, who designed the fin wall in 1995, was then a graduate engineer with no experience in designing a “slender” cantilever column on top of a tall building.

The commission has recommended that the Board of Engineers (BEM) initiate disciplinary action against Lee.

It said the board should also take disciplinary action against Dr Gerry Wong Kong Ming, the submitting engineer who signed and submitted the engineering drawings to the local planning authorities.

“As such, the errors and inadequacies in the design of the fin wall are deemed to be his; for which he must bear equal responsibility, though he signed them without checking,” it said.

The commission rapped the North-East district officer Azizi Zakaria for abandoning his duties as the person in-charge of emergency responses under Arahan 20.

“His dereliction of duty was so complete and that it is difficult to imagine anyone who could have done worse.

“Encik Azizi’s lack of remorse and contrition when he testified before the commission and his unabashed downplay of his total neglect of duty, are very much disturbing,” the report stated.

In the incident, the fin wall collapsed and hit a passing car and buried it (together with its driver) beneath the ground. A lorry attendant nearby was also killed. Several vehicles and properties were damaged.

The commission also submitted its findings into the ramp which collapsed on June 6, 2013 at the Batu Maung interchange leading to the second Penang Bridge.

BY K. SUTHAKAR/ The Star/Asia News Network

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South China Sea tension: US no hope to win, should never play fire at China’s doorsteps !
China blasts US show ‘to militarize’ the sea

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun has blasted the US warship’s foray as “a show of military force intended to militarize” the South China Sea.

US no hope to win S.China Sea showdown

Calling the USS Lassen’s intrusion a “regular occurrence,” the US military put a gloss on its recent brazen provocation against China in the South China Sea, implying that more warships might be sent within the 12 nautical mile-limit around China-controlled islands. China will have to escalate its countermeasures if Washington does so, and the situation will worsen for the US.

If such provocations continue, China’s warships will have to engage in more face-offs with their US counterparts in the South China Sea. Beijing will be forced to accelerate military deployment in the region, including a quicker militarization of the islands to the extent that China can confront the US militarily in this region.

If the US is determined that these provocations are going to be regular events, it is possible that China will deploy fighter jets on these new islands.

China has reiterated that the expanded islands in the South China Sea will serve peaceful and civilian purposes, supporting economic development around the South China Sea. China has no intention to militarize the region, but the US, despite China’s assertion is pushing, even forcing, China in that direction.

US military policymakers are so narrow-minded that they cannot look at the big picture, cherishing the illusion that it could show off its might, embrace allies’ cheers and frustrate China’s confidence by sending a warship to the South China Sea.

It is hard to believe that these shortsighted wonks have not considered China’s response, like Beijing has no cards to play. If it wasn’t for our restraint, China could have driven away every Filipino and Vietnamese from the islands they took from China, but it didn’t. Almost every move China has made in the South China Sea is a response to the provocations of these aggressors.

Washington should keep in mind that it really doesn’t want China to transform these reclaimed islands into outposts to deal with the intrusions by US warships.

Even in the worst scenario, if China decided to militarize all these small islands, what could the US do? Perhaps US President Barack Obama will have everything but the guts to wage a real battle with China for these small islands.

The Americans must keep in mind that when it comes to China’s core interests, their determination to preserve certain strategic interests will have no chance to win in a showdown against China’s determination to protect the integrity of its sovereignty. After flexing its muscles and bragging about its military prowess at China’s doorstep, Washington should know when to stop. Enough is enough.- Global Times

Commentary: The U.S. should never play with fire in South China Sea

Commentary: The U.S. should never play with fire in South China Sea

File photo – China Navy

U.S. warship USS Lassen illegally entered waters near Zhubi Reef, part of China’s Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, on October 27, 2015. China has monitored, tracked and issued warnings to the U.S. warship.

The U.S. move was long planned. U.S. media said in May that the U.S. navy wanted to “challenge” China’s construction projects in the South China Sea, and since September the U.S. navy has been laboring its views on South China Sea disputes and claiming to send a warship within 12 nautical miles of China’s islands. The U.S. has long caused trouble in South China Sea disputes even though it is not one of the parties concerned to the South China Sea issue.

There is no doubt that the U.S. made such a move for strategic reasons: first, it deliberately created tensions in the South China Sea so as to impede China’s safeguarding of its legal rights in the area; second, the move contributes to the implementation of U.S. regional strategy of “Asia-Pacific Rebalance”; third, the U.S. can take the chance to cozy up to its allies.

The U.S. claimed “freedom of navigation” for other purposes . It is the U.S. actions that have worsened tensions in the South China Sea.

China has responded to U.S. warship provocation with a clear-cut stand. What China does is legitimate. China’s sovereignty in the South China Sea has historical and legal grounding. Its construction, salvage and disaster prevention in this area demonstrate it is a responsible country.

China is determined to defend its sovereignty and safety and has taken actions to cope with the move of the U.S. warship which has threatened China’s sovereignty and safety. China warned the U.S. not go further, otherwise China will take all necessary measures. China hopes the U.S. will keep a clear mind. Troublemakers are bound to be condemned.

China also reminds the U.S. to consider the bigger picture in terms of Sino-U.S. relations. The two countries are working together to build a new type of major-country relations, and so they should focus on advancing this win-win cooperation. China never fears troubles, but the U.S. should never create troubles. If the U.S. plays with fire in South China Sea, the consequences will be very serious.

The article is edited and translated from《美国务须保持头脑清醒(望海楼)》, source: People’s Daily Overseas Edition, author: Su Xiaohui, deputy director of the Department for International and Strategic Studies at China Institute of International Studies.


[2015-10-31 08:02]The “rebalancing to Asia” strategy runs counter to the development trend across the world and the US needs to rebalance its mentality, instead.

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