China doubts that the US is in fact interested in peace and stability in the South China Sea, for the country’s military activities demonstrate quite the opposite.
On Saturday a US Navy destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur sailed just 12 nautical miles near the Paracel Islands archipelago. According to Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis, this was an act of provocation against China, which is trying to limit freedom of navigation.
But have there been many concrete problems involving the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea? More than 100,000 vessels of various countries sail through the South China Sea annually without a single incident, Chinese newspaper People’s Daily Online wrote. There can’t be much evidence on how exactly freedom of navigation has been harmed or how shipping lanes have been threatened. So what is that again that America is protecting? And how come it protects freedom in total disregard of international law?
According to the newspaper, the move is simply incomprehensible, taking into account how the world has changed over the last few decades and all the newly emerged heated disputes with countries like the Philippines and Vietnam. Considering all these issues, one would understand that sending a warship to another country’s territorial waters without the permission of its government wouldn’t promote peace and stability. By asserting maritime power like this, one must really want to escalate the situation, the newspaper suggests, and that makes China wonder whether the US does really want peace.
“There is no logic that sending a warship to challenge China’s sovereignty and security will help to the situation, unless, peace and stability in the South China Sea is not the US objective, ” the article reads.
It’s interesting that only three days before Saturday’s adventurous maneuvers of a US Navy destroyer, in a meeting with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for objectiveness, fairness and reason in the US’ approach toward the South China Sea issue. America instead set its maritime military operations out of control, while at the same time claiming to be an disinterested party in the dispute.
“If this is the US’ way of being objective, fair and reasonable, there must be serious doubts about its sincerity to settle the issue and maintain regional peace.” the article said.
A spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry Yang Yujun said Tuesday that the incident demonstrated America’s intention to militarize the sea and “has weakened trust and ran counter to the consensus the two global giants have built on fostering a new type of major-country relations.”