U.S. blasted for inciting instability in South China Sea

2023-07-13 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Despite the overall stability in the South China Sea region, the United States of late "has been standing out as a major factor inciting instability" given its role as a troublemaker in the region, said a leading Chinese scholar on maritime issues.

Wu Shicun, chairman of Huayang Research Center for Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance and founding president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, made the remarks in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

"Although there are no remarkable changes in the overall improving situation in the South China Sea region and stability prevails, we are now faced with some issues brought by countries from outside the region as represented by the U.S.," said Wu.

Noting China's lasting commitment to securing the region's stability through upholding dialogue, Wu underlined the need for China and the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to "speed up consultations on the expected Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea with institutions and rules".

In contrast, Washington has been busy building multilateral security cooperation mechanisms with some countries around the South China Sea and even with countries such as Japan and Australia, Wu noted.

In recent years, Beijing has voiced serious concerns over new policies and groupings advanced by Washington such as the "Indo-Pacific Strategy", the QUAD and the AUKUS trilateral military bloc of the U.S., the United Kingdom and Australia.

Many such mechanisms "are tailor-made to target China", Wu said.

This year, Washington has sought to establish new military bases around the South China Sea.

"For instance, in the Philippines alone, the U.S. has added four military bases in addition to its five (existing) military bases," he said.

"Among the four new bases, three are located in the northern Luzon island, directly facing Taiwan," he warned.

In the meantime, military exercises and drills involving various troops and combat units have taken place in U.S. military bases around the South China Sea, and the U.S. military continues its close-in reconnaissance — sending spy aircraft and other military vehicles near China's coast, he noted.

"U.S. aircraft carriers and even nuclear powered submarines entered the South China Sea. The militarization, pushed by countries led by the U.S., is now a new destabilizing factor stirring up the South China Sea situation and compromising peace and stability in the region," he warned.

Washington's role as a troublemaker in the region was also demonstrated by its support for an arbitration case raised by the then Philippine government against China seven years ago.

On July 12, 2016, an arbitration tribunal in The Hague issued an award on the arbitration, and Beijing has reiterated that the ruling seriously violates international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and is illegal and invalid.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin noted on Wednesday that as the initiator and mastermind of the arbitration case, the U.S. "embarked on hyping it every year on the occasion of the anniversaries of the illegal award in an attempt to pressure China to accept the illegal award, against which the Chinese side firmly opposes".

"It is extremely irresponsible and with more ulterior motives for the U.S. to betray its open commitment of not taking a stand on sovereignty issues regarding the South China Sea, to stir up trouble in the South China Sea and to use the South China Sea issue to sow discord between countries in the region," Wang added.

Speaking on other U.S. measures against China in recent years, as well as its efforts to seek economic "decoupling", Wu said "the momentum (of such actions) will not come to a halt" as Washington believes that China is the only country that is "capable and willing" to challenge its status as the leader of the world.

"Despite China's clarification that it has no intention of challenging the U.S.' status, all the U.S. has done is to continue to contain China," he said.


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