• Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Timing of flareups in South China Sea is no coincidence

Editorial 2014-05-13 16:22 (GMT+8)
Naval vessels take part in a China-Russia joint military drill in the Peter the Great Gulf in the Sea of Japan, July 10, 2013. (File photo/CNS)

Naval vessels take part in a China-Russia joint military drill in the Peter the Great Gulf in the Sea of Japan, July 10, 2013. (File photo/CNS)

After US president Barack Obama concluded his recent visit to four countries in East Asia, China has had conflict with Vietnam and the Philippines in the disputed South China Sea.

On May 2, Vietnamese vessels collided with a Chinese frigate to stop China to obstruct the operations of an oil rig in the waters of the Paracel islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam.

Four days later, the Philippines seized a boat carrying 11 Chinese fishermen in waters around Half Moon Reef in the Spratly islands.

The fact that the incidents occurred at around the same time might seem coincidental, but they were actually fueled by the United States behind the scenes. Obama actively announced his support for the stance of Vietnam and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

The Vietnamese government did not accuse Beijing of positioning a drilling platform until May 7, which was done on the instructions of the United States. Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemned China's provocation in the South China Sea, which will not help peaceful development in East Asia.

The New York Times also urged Vietnam to collaborate with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in its territorial dispute with China. Japan criticized Beijing's provocation as an intention to further escalate regional tensions.

The Philippines seized the Chinese fishing boat and its crew at a time when the United States and the Philippines were holding a joint military exercise.

China and Vietnam have signed several agreements to cooperate in various areas, such as finance and trade investment as well as infrastructure construction, so hostility between the two nations has lessened substantially.

On the other hand, Beijing has adopted a tough stance and has been unwilling to compromise in the Philippine authorities' capture of the Chinese fishing boat and demanded the boat be released immediately without any conditions.

Beijing's firm attitude is mainly targeted at the United States. On the day the United States criticized China's intentional provocation, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded by saying that the United States had no right to make irresponsible comments with regards to China's sovereignty and interests and its drilling in the South China Sea had nothing to do with the United States.

China and Russia plan to launch joint military exercises in the South China Sea this year. The alliance between the two countries has been formed gradually to confront the United States and Japan, which has inevitably put pressure on the United States' rebalance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Taiwan needs to establish a national consensus in terms of its position, role, opportunities and risks in view of the new situation emerging in East Asia.

Who`s who »
Xu Lejiang (徐樂江)

Xu Lejiang is an alternate member of the 18th CPC Central Committee and serves as chairman of the Board of the Directors of the Baosteel Group Corporation. Xu graduated from the Jiangxi Institute ...