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Commentary: Who is making waves in South China Sea?

(Xinhua)    13:57, October 19, 2018

BEIJING, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- In a recent major speech on Washington's China policy, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence appeared to be pretty frightened when he claimed that a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards of the USS Decatur in the South China Sea and the latter was forced to quickly maneuver to avoid collision.

That was just calling white black. The U.S. leader failed to mention that the area where the incident happened was within 12 nautical miles of Chinese territories but 7,500 nautical miles away from the nearest U.S. coast.

Which party was aggressively closing in upon the other? The answer is self-evident.

In recent years, the United States has resorted to a variety of gimmicks on the South China Sea issue, yet all of them can be categorized into three patterns.

Firstly, flex muscles and stoke tensions under the pretense of so-called "freedom-of-navigation operations."

Since May 2017, at least 11 U.S. warships including the USS Dewey and USS Stethem have entered within 12 nautical miles of Chinese islands and reefs allegedly to ensure free passage in the South China Sea.

But the fact is that for a long time, about 100,000 ships have been traversing the South China Sea every year, and none has come across any problems regarding free passage. There is a tradition of free passage in this body of water, which supports over half of global maritime trade.

Ironically, the United States, which has been throwing its weight around in the name of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is not a signatory to the UNCLOS, and has never thought it is obliged to follow the accord.

In essence, the U.S. approach is to impose Washington's unilateral and erroneous understanding of international law upon other countries by coercion.

Secondly, fabricate rumors and mislead the world with its dominant power to sway international public opinion.

In Washington's hegemonic logic, the United States's deployment of advanced gunships and bombers to the South China Sea is not an act of militarization, nor is its frequent -in reconnaissance near Chinese islands, but China's legitimate construction of necessary defense facilities on its own territory is.

Meanwhile, Washington has chosen to turn a blind eye to the facts that China is carrying out peaceful construction on its own territory in the South China Sea and that a sovereign country has an inalienable right to build defense facilities on its own land.

Thirdly, drive wedges between different parties involved in the South China Sea issue and pressure them into choosing sides.

Washington has been taking advantage of the South China Sea issue to play nations in the region off against each other. Many observers, including veteran Southeast Asia observer Joseph Thomas have found that the United States has long been meddling in the elections and other internal affairs of some Southeast Asian countries, and its decision on whether to interfere almost solely depends on the target country's attitude toward China and stance on the South China Sea issue.

In an article dated Oct. 6, the South China Morning Post said that Pence's remarks on South China Sea intended to send a message to regional countries: it is time to "pick side" between Washington and Beijing.

However, nations around the South China Sea are well aware of Washington's calculations. The United States has been attempting to create a false impression that Southeast Asia welcomes its military presence in the South China Sea, but the truth is countries in the region are vigilant about U.S. military intervention.

As Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu and many others have pointed out, countries in the region can properly solve the South China Sea issue, and do not need outside intervention.

It is not hard to see that beneath Washington's three patterns is a problem of mentality. More often than not, it is those who lack confidence that are engaging in fearmongering.

In fact, China and other relevant nations in the region have made effective endeavors to cement stability in the South China Sea and demonstrated a positive attitude toward solving the historical issue in a peaceful way.

Their genuine determination to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation is the best defense against those attempting to make waves. Enditem

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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