In recent months, the South China Sea has become a hot issue as certain regional countries, under outside instigation, tried to create a stir in hopes of capitalizing on it.
In other words, the source of the trouble is efforts to create disputes in the hope of profiting from it while regional stability requires efforts to find common ground and narrow differences.
The South China Sea issue has been exacerbated as the United States upped its rhetoric about the "militarization" of the South China Sea by China and after the Philippines unilaterally sought international arbitration.
Manila's move has led some people to the belief that China might be responsible for escalation of the situation. But it is not the truth.
China holds indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and its adjacent waters. The Philippine islands were not an independent country when China conducted its maritime demarcation after World War II.
The arbitration case is essentially deceptive in that it had been brought up unilaterally against a country whose legitimate sovereign rights had been violated. It runs counter to bilateral commitments, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and international practices.
As Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, China has been acting in full compliance with international law in not accepting arbitration.
China has chosen not to be involved in the tussle for a second reason. The case was brought up by the Philippines in disregard of its detrimental effect on regional peace and stability, fueled by instigation and manipulation by outsiders.
It does not require much political insight to see that the Philippine way will not work. Neither does it require an expert to see that outside powers stepped in from behind in a bid to create troubles in the region. It is no coincidence that tensions escalated as the United States unveiled its "pivot to Asia" strategy.
In addition to instigation from behind, the United States has recently sent warships and planes to the South China Sea, alleging that the patrols were aimed to assert freedom of navigation. Meanwhile, it stepped up rhetoric about the so-called militarization of the South China Sea by China.
With its military provocation in the South China Sea, the United States is essentially building on its presence in the Asia-Pacific. By collaborating to confront China politically and militarily, the United States and its allies may be thinking that they can undermine the external environment of China and slow down its peaceful development.
It is wishful thinking of Manila and Washington that they can profit from creating troubles on the South China Sea issue. China fears no troubles, though it has never been a troublemaker.