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Commentary: Understanding between Beijing, Washington key to stability in Asia-Pacific

By Lu Yu (Xinhua)

14:12, July 02, 2013

BEIJING, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Brunei, the tiny Southeast Asian nation that hosts the latest round of ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting, has witnessed a flurry of diplomatic activities involving the United States, China and other global and regional powers in the past few days.

High on the agenda of the meetings are pressing regional hotspot topics ranging from the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula to the marine territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

During a meeting between Chinese and U.S. top diplomats on Monday, the two countries reaffirmed their support for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. Washington even praised China for its constructive role in the matter.

It is a good sign that the two major countries have reached common understanding on the key issue.

This, however, is just part of the bigger picture. China and the United States, both having a fundamental interest in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, can do a lot more together to resolve regional issues. And by doing so, the two powers can also enhance the strategic trust between them.

Washington and Beijing have vast potential for expanding their common understanding on major regional issues.

For example, Washington has yet to address the underlying concerns of many Chinese who fear the world's sole superpower, though claiming it takes no sides in China's territorial disputes with the Philippines and Japan, is actually taking advantage of the situation.

They believe that Washington has taken an unbalanced stand on the disputes, citing the fact that the United States beefed up its security alliance with Japan even after Tokyo took the radical move to "nationalize" some of China's Diaoyu Islands.

As for China's territorial dispute with the Philippines, most Chinese blamed Manila's continuous provocations on Washington's diplomatic and military support.

Washington may think its support for regional allies is crucial to protecting its credibility, but if it fails to judge the matters with a pair of fair eyes and rein in the reckless and provocative words and moves by Tokyo and Manila, it actually risks losing more credibility.

For U.S. decision-makers, they have yet to fully appreciate the fact that such U.S. policies will only embolden its allies in their disputes with China and encourage them to become more aggressive, leading to possible conflicts that will not only destabilize the region, but also harm U.S. national interests by forcing it to choose sides against its will under impossible situations.

Meanwhile, Washington needs to appreciate China's efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region. China, which has been preoccupied with domestic economic development, has no intention to pick fights with its neighbors at all. The country, without being provoked, has never tried to resolve the territorial disputes by force overnight.

Washington and Beijing can share a lot more understanding if they can convince each other that they are sincere to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

From there, the two powers can even work together on many other pressing regional and global challenges.

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