Let calm, peace return to South China Sea (2)

09:49, July 27, 2011      

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Jointly developing resources mutually beneficial

Resources exploration complicates the issue. Teng said that China had put forward the principle of "maintaining sovereignty, shelving disputes and co-developing resources." Now some countries agree to shelve the dispute but explore the resources individually.

Shen said that the aforementioned principles were in accordance with both the historical fact and theory of law. But countries like Vietnam and the Philippines took measures of nibbling at China's islands and reefs, taking exclusive possession of natural resources and making the issue international and more complicated by introducing a third party to discriminate against China. But ASEAN did not lose its mind.

China and ASEAN member nations adopted the guideline to implement the "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" at the recently concluded ASEAN-China (10+1) Foreign Ministers' meeting. The principle embodies China's stance of "shelving disputes and co-developing resources."

According to the sixth clause, pending a comprehensive and durable settlement of the disputes, the parties concerned may explore or undertake cooperative activities. It is said that, with the guideline, all the countries concerned will enhance mutual trust, narrow disputes and pave the way for solving the conflict.

Other countries' involvement shows ulterior motives

Teng said that the United States had been closely following the issue of the South China Sea since the Reagan years. The Clinton administration tended to have a clearer stance. However its high-profile involvement in the issue last year made it the patron for Vietnam and the Philippines.

The United States keeps a close eye on the marine and aerial navigation and its military presence in the South China Sea. It is not bad for the United States to remain vigilant, and it is an advantage for some countries to cling to its presence, which helps to contain China. The situation at present shows that the United States could not afford disputes or even conflict with China in politics, economy, military and diplomacy by helping to protect the rights of countries like Vietnam and the Philippines.

Shen said it embodied Obama administration's "back to Asia" program. As a matter of fact, the United States has never withdrawn from Asia in terms of economy and military — East Asia in particular.

There are two reasons behind U.S. "return to Asia" strategy: First, it wants to choke China's rapid growth. Second, the United States is afraid that ASEAN, Japan and South Korea will leave its side and cross over to China. The United States hopes to keep its interests and monopoly in East Asia and the issue of South China Sea is the best excuse to realize it.

However, U.S. involvement in South China Sea is limited because it wants to hold back China, but it does not want to confront China. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also took part in the meeting in Bali, said that the United States understood how complicated the issue of South China Sea was and would not hold any stance on the matter. Her words showed the United States did not want to get involved at the expense of China-U.S. ties. The wishful thinking of some countries that hope to legalize their schemes to nibble away at Islands and reefs in the South China Sea with backing from the United States is doomed to fail.

By Zhang Xinyi, People's Daily Online
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