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July 16, 2021

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US a threat in South China Sea

Seeking to call the shots in Asia-Pacific, the United States has been trying to transform the South China Sea into a hunting ground for its geopolitical self-interests.

Being such a reckless superpower, the United States now poses the gravest threat to the region. In recent days, the US administration has once again geared up to make new waves in the region.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tapped the so-called ruling of an illegal arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea made five years ago and accused China of threatening the freedom of navigation and violating international law. The next day, a US warship illegally entered Chinese waters near Xisha Islands in the region.

Washington, in order to hype up the so-called “China threat” and to pursue hegemony in Asia-Pacific, has quite a history of flexing its muscles in the region and pointing an accusing finger at Beijing with groundless charges.

The threat to the freedom of navigation, for starters, has been a pure fiction. While some 100,000 merchant vessels now travel in this busy shipping route annually, not a single ship has ever reported its safety threatened in the South China Sea.

And under the pretext of navigation freedom, the United States frequently sends its warships and aircraft carriers to the regional waters and has conducted a multitude of war games. Such a naked show of force is practically heightening tensions in Asia-Pacific, and undermining peace and stability there.

Washington’s move to rake over the old ashes this time is even more preposterous.

Both the illegal and invalid ruling and the arbitral tribunal itself are a political farce. The ruling violates the United Nations Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). There is no way for Beijing to accept either the ruling or any claims and actions based on the award.

And the fact that the United States is calling on others to follow international law while it refuses to join the UNCLOS is such an irony and a vivid reflection of Washington’s hypocrisy.

What China has done in the South China Sea is based on convincing historical and legal foundations.

Meanwhile, Beijing believes that differences on the territorial maritime rights should be bridged by related countries in the region through consultation. And it has all along been doing just that.

In recent months, regional countries including China have made positive progress in consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, showing their shared commitment to maintaining peace in their common home.

Once born, the Code of Conduct can effectively protect the legal rights of related parties in the region in accordance with international law.

The South China Sea is one of the world’s busiest waters. A smooth flow of world trade and resilient global supply chains rely much on peace and stability there. The United States should play a constructive role in the region and join others to turn the South China Sea into a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.

The author is a Xinhua writer.




 

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