Recent US statements criticizing China for militarizing the South China Sea area have been bitterly rejected by Chinese authorities, who view Washington as doing the militarizing and trying to provoke China.
Tensions between various Asian countries have been on the rise over territorial disputes and Washington keeps sticking its nose in where it doesn’t belong in an attempt to undercut its global competitor, China.
“Judging from the outrage coming from China at being singled out, after Vietnam and the Philippines had taken steps, without being criticized, to secure resources in the contested sea before China’s own actions, the US statement seems to be backfiring,” Douglas H. Paal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“China has not militarized its foreign policy and does not appear equipped to do so for a long time”, while US allies Vietnam and the Philippines “eagerly encourage American weight thrown onto their side ofthe competition with China for free,” Paal said.
Late last year, President Obama announced a strategic shift into Asia-Pacific. This so-called ‘Asia pivot’ is an aggressive policy that involves surging American military presence throughout the region – in the Philippines, Japan, Australia, Guam, South Korea, Singapore, etc. – and backing basically all of China’s rivals.
The disputed territories center on the great potential for natural resources surrounding several island chains and control over some of the world’s most highly trafficked shipping lanes.
A recent report from the Center for Strategic International Studies predicted that next year “could see a shift in Chinese foreign policy based on the new leadership’s judgment that it must respond to a US strategy that seeks to prevent China’s reemergence as a great power.”
“Signs of a potential harsh reaction are already detectable,” the report said. “The US Asia pivot has triggered an outpouring of anti-American sentiment in China that will increase pressure on China’s incoming leadership to stand up to the United States. Nationalistic voices are calling for military countermeasures to the bolstering of America’s military posture in the region and the new US defense strategic guidelines.”