Washington moves stoke tensions, Beijing says

2023-02-03 08:43:42China Daily Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

China on Thursday warned countries to stay alert and not let the United States exploit them, after the U.S. and the Philippines announced plans to expand Washington's military presence in the Southeast Asian country.

Out of self-interest, the U.S. has constantly strengthened its military deployment in the region with a zero-sum mentality. Such moves are escalating tensions in the region, and endangering regional peace and stability, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said.

"Countries in the region should remain vigilant against this and avoid being exploited by the U.S.," Mao said at a daily news briefing.

Her remarks came as U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced an agreement with Philippine Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez on Thursday that would grant U.S. forces access to four more Philippine military camps.

The deal falls under the countries' Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which dates back to 2014. The New York Times reported that the deal marks the first time in 30 years that the U.S. will have such a large military presence in the Philippines.

Austin arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday from the Republic of Korea, where he also expressed the U.S.' readiness to increase its deployment of advanced weapons.

"China has always believed that defense and security cooperation among countries should contribute to regional peace and stability, rather than target a third party or harm a third party's interests," Mao said.

Also at the briefing, Mao urged the U.S. to stop all official contacts and military ties with the Taiwan region, and refrain from creating new tensions across the Taiwan Straits, after Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen hosted the former head of the U.S. "Indo-Pacific" Command Phil Davidson on Thursday.

"To solve the Taiwan question, it is a matter of the Chinese people and must be decided by the Chinese people," Mao said, stressing that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory.

Root cause

Mao pointed out that the root cause of tensions across the Taiwan Straits is that Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party authorities repeatedly seek the U.S.' support to push for its "independence" agenda, and certain U.S. individuals attempt to "use Taiwan to contain China".

She told the U.S. to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations in the three China-U.S. joint communiques.

The U.S. side should honor the commitment made by the U.S. leader that the country does not support "Taiwan independence" and stop interfering in the Taiwan question, she said.

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