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US fails to contain China via ASEAN

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

02-19-2016 14:47 BJT

By Hu Zhang, Panview's commentator 
United States President Barack Obama held an unofficial meeting with leaders of ASEAN countries in California on Feb.15-16 after they all met in Kuala Lumpur last November. It was the first summit between Washington and ASEAN countries that was held in the United States.

Different from the previous declaration of American officials and media's reports, ASEAN countries were against pressuring Beijing over South China Sea issues. It manifested Washington's failure to contain China by roping in ASEAN.

Washington had adopted various measures to clamp down on Beijing by exploiting the South China Sea issue, but with scant achievements. Why?

Selfish motives lack fairness and justice

The US is not a direct party to the South China Sea issue, without speaking rights in this problem, which encompasses complicated historical reasons and realistic disputes.

Washington's intervention was not out of concern for regional peace and stability but to implement its Pivot to Asia strategy.

The South China Sea issue had cooled down, and historical territorial sea disputes between China and relevant countries had entered a reasonable solution period. However for selfish interests, Washington had jumped on the stage, making indiscreet remarks and disturbing the peace.

Facts have proved that excessive politicization and internationalization of the South China Sea issue was useless and didn't conform with regional interests. Accordingly, it was not welcomed by most countries. 

Self-deceiving and lacking judicial logic

Washington intervened citing the excuse of "marine law" and "freedom of navigation."

Even though the US is not a contracting state of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, it requested to solve regional disputes in accordance with the convention and claimed that the legitimate rights endowed by the convention should not be hindered.

However, it's typical unilateralism for Washington to illegally break into other country's territorial sea based on the so-called "freedom of navigation," which challenged the established sea order to force other countries to give up maritime rights, which didn't receive America's recognition.

China has never impeded the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said, "if the South China Sea is unstable and cannot navigate freely, China will bear the greatest loss."

Actually, it is the US that interfered in the South China Sea, and that's why most ASEAN countries disapproved of Washington's approach.

ASEAN is not the US cat's paw

ASEAN has held an equilibrium position to deal with relations between major countries, and keeps a sharp lookout at America's schemes and will not easily be manipulated.

ASEAN was unwilling to choose sides between Washington and Beijing, to avoid becoming a victim and getting kidnapped by Washington.

Most ASEAN countries are not state parties in the South China Sea issues, and even the state parties take different stands. ASEAN has agreed to solve the issues through friendly negotiations by state parties.

It is unrealistic for Washington to assemble all ASEAN countries to oppose Beijing, which does not accord with their stance. It is a typical "American style" that imposes on others, causing ASEAN to reject it.   

Profound friendship between China and ASEAN

China has cooperated with ASEAN for 25 years, the first country establishing a strategic partnership, free trade zone with ASEAN, the largest trade partner of ASEAN for seven consecutive years, the first extraterritorial country joining in the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

China has won extensive trust from ASEAN countries by showing a major country's responsibility during two global financial crises.

Beijing has adhered to the equality of every state, whether it is small or big, persisted in building good-neighborly relations and partnerships, dedicated to forging a community of common destiny by staying together through thick and thin. Beijing has never asked ASEAN to agree to the same stance on some specific problems.

Since the global economy has experienced a profound adjustment, China and ASEAN must urgently upgrade cooperation to achieve mutual benefits. Some individual countries have attempted to provoke ASEAN to challenge China, which runs counter to the interests of most ASEAN countries.

The South China Sea issue relates to the key interest of China, as well as influencing peace and stability of the Asian-Pacific region. It goes against the trend of the times for anyone who tries to fabricate the anti-China camp, destroy mutual trust and interfere with the development course of Asia.

China and ASEAN have reached an explicit "dual-track approach" to handle South China Sea issues and agreed to exchange views positively. The South China Sea issues can only be resolved as long as each side supports the peace and stability of Asia.

Washington should respect the will of countries in the region, stop rude interference over South China Sea issues and take actions to maintain stability of the Asian-Pacific region.  


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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