PLA Daily: South China Sea no place for U.S. to rehearse strategic plot

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Zhang Tao
2016-07-15 18:01

BEIJING, July 15 (ChinaMil) -- The South China Sea arbitration case is a political farce cloaked in law from beginning to end, in which the Philippine Aquino III administration and the arbitral tribunal were the puppets on the stage while the string-puller behind the scene was the United States, a country out of the region.

From 2013 when the Philippines initiated the arbitration, the U.S. has always been the backstage manipulator and has spared no efforts adding fuel to flame. As soon as the award on South China Sea arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines was announced, the U.S. stood up to back this illegal and void award, claiming that the so-called award was legally binding on both China and the Philippines and urged them to "comply with the award".

The U.S. statement seemed nothing but righteous, but it actually couldn't stand the slightest effort of scrutiny from either a historical or a legal perspective. As a matter of fact, the arbitration case that was based on abuse of power and excess of authority revealed three "shortages" on the American side.

First, the U.S. is short of reason.

China's sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao (South China Sea Islands) and its rights and interests in the South China Sea have been established in the long history. Even if it wasn't familiar with that history, the U.S. shouldn't be so forgetful about the modern history that it was a part of.

In the later stage of WWII, a number of international documents including Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Proclamation that established the postwar world order demanded Japan to return the Chinese territory it had stolen. After the war, Chinese military and government leaders went to Xisha and Nansha Qundao (Xisha and Nansha Islands) for the takeover ceremony on a military vessel provided by the United States, set up monuments and stationed troops there.

The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World published by the U.S. after WWII described "Nansha Qundao" as "Chinese territory in the South China Sea and part of Guangdong Province". All these indicate that the U.S. is fully aware of China's sovereignty in the South China Sea.

What's more ridiculous is that the United States, while demanding others to comply with the United National Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), isn't a signatory of it.

Such two-facedness and hypocrisy is not uncommon in American history. It publicly spurned the Kyoto Protocol, unilaterally abandoned the U.S.-Soviet Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty, launched the so-called "freedom of navigation program" outside the framework of the International Law of the Sea, and has always treated international law on the principle of convenience for itself. Isn't it preposterous that such a nation has the face to demand others to observe international law?

As to the South China Sea arbitration, on one hand, the U.S. publicly committed to not taking sides on territorial disputes, but on the other side, it instigated the former Philippine government to initiate the arbitration. It has not only rooted for the Philippines all the way, but also helped it to find lawyers, provided advice, and even issued a statement immediately after the so-called arbitration award was announced to stand by the illegal and void award in total disregard of facts, setting serious obstacles for concerned parties to properly handle and control the maritime situation and peacefully settle the disputes. It's really baffling where the U.S. found the courage and stand to do all those things.

Second, the U.S. is short of power.

The U.S. might be able to manipulate the former Philippine government to initiate the arbitration, but it's unable to manipulate the rational Philippines.

"The Philippine government resorting to the U.S. will only make things more complicated." "The only beneficiary of the arbitration is the United States, not the Philippines." "If China and the Philippines sit down on a negotiating table, all ASEAN member states will be willing to cooperate, and that's something the U.S. doesn't want to see."… These rational comments were made by some Philippines with vision. The new Philippine administration also took a series of positive steps, including expressing its willingness to resume consultation and dialogue with China on the South China Sea issue.

The U.S. might be able to manipulate the western media to defame China, such as "militarizing the South China Sea", "disrupting the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea", "changing the status quo in South China Sea" and "bullying a small country as a big one", but it's unable to manipulate the just and righteous forces in the international community.

This is well proven by the fact that more than 60 countries and 230 Parties and political organizations in the world have publicly announced their understanding of and support to China's position and claim in the South China Sea.

The U.S. might be able to manipulate the arbitral tribunal to make the so-called ruling and even dispatched military vessels and planes to flaunt force, but it's unable to change the fact that China has territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.

Nanhai Zhudao (South China Sea Islands) have been Chinese territory since ancient times and they are left by our ancestors. Whatever the arbitration ruling is, it won't affect China's sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea. The Chinese military will firmly defend national sovereignty, security and maritime rights and interests, resolutely safeguard regional peace and stability and deal with all kinds of threats and challenges.

Third, the U.S. is short of vision.

Fishing in troubled waters has always been an important way for the U.S. to maintain its global hegemony and this approach has proven successful for it over and over again. When it launched the Kosovo War in the name of protecting human rights, that was a heavy blow to the newly born EURO, and the U.S.-led eastward expansion of NATO encroached upon and squeezed Russia's strategic space while making it difficult for Europe and Russia to forge stable strategic mutual trust.

Having tasted the sweetness of this trick, the U.S. wanted to play it again in the Pacific. It applied this approach that is made of Cold War mindset and gangster logic to the Pacific region, put forth the "Asia Pacific rebalancing" strategy, created "South China Sea tension" in Southeast Asia, hyped up "China threat" and peddled the "American protective umbrella", only to lay bare its "eagerness for trouble" and "intention of fishing in troubled waters" in the region.

However, "the lack of vision makes people blind to the bigger picture". The U.S. only saw the benefits of "fishing in troubled waters", but it didn't see changes in the general global situation. The world has come to an era of globalization when all countries are interdependent. The common interests between China and U.S. far outweigh their divergences and the vast Pacific Ocean has enough space to accommodate both big countries.

However, the U.S. has frequently created the so-called "South China Sea tension" and repeatedly dispatched military vessels and planes to enter sea areas and airspace near the islands and reefs of China's Nansha Qundao (South China Sea Islands) in the name of "freedom of navigation", damaging peace and harmony in the South China Sea.

It also indulged Japan to lift the ban on the right of collective self-defense, which posed a greater hidden hazard to regional security and world peace and also exposed America's strategic shortsightedness. As famous American lawyer Bruce Fein said, hyping up the "China threat" in the South China Sea will get the U.S. nothing except aggravating regional tension and sending a wrong message to Asian countries.

South China Sea is not Hollywood or a location for the U.S. to rehearse its strategic plot. The South China Sea arbitration and vicious hype and political manipulation arising from it have dragged the region into a dangerous state of aggravated tension and confrontation.

Now that the farce has wrapped up, it's time to get back to the right track. We strongly advise the U.S. to seriously reflect on its words and deeds, stop rooting for the illegal award, stop making waves in the South China Sea, and stop saying or doing anything that harms China's sovereignty and security interests and aggravates regional tension. That's the only way to help develop a new model of major power relationship between China and the U.S. and contribute to peace and stability in the South China Sea and the region.

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