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US' words and actions not conducive to reduce tension

Updated: 2016-04-18 07:13
(China Daily)

US' words and actions not conducive to reduce tension

April 14, 2016 - Manila, Philippines - U.S Secretary of Defense Ash Carter speaks with Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin in the Malacanang Palace [Photo/IC]

When US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said while aboard a US aircraft carrier on Friday that the only reason the United States' presence in the region is an issue is because of China's behavior over the last year, he failed to mention what the situation was like in the South China Sea before the US increased its military presence there.

He should not turn a blind eye to the fact that China has never changed its position on settling its territorial disputes with other countries in these waters through peaceful means and seeking common development in the region, nor to the fact that China has never done anything to affect the freedom of navigation in these waters, which the US always cites as the excuse for its military presence. Instead, China has constructed some facilities on its reefs and islands to facilitate the safety of navigation.

Reports by some US news media have given the impression that Carter's visit was associated with the recent inspection tour of some reefs and islands in the waters by Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, suggesting that the two militaries were defying each other's presence in the region.

But Carter landed aboard a US aircraft carrier navigating in the South China Sea, and in the company of Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, whose country is bickering with China over the sovereignty of some reefs in the waters.

While China's top military officer conducted a normal inspection tour of the country's own reefs and islands.

"What's new is not an American carrier in this region. What's new is the context of tension which exists, which we want to reduce," Carter said.

Presumably this was said with his tongue firmly in his cheek, since seeking to reduce the tension with an aircraft carrier and other naval vessels, and conducting joint military exercises with and providing military aid to a country that has territorial disputes with China, is an odd way to go about reducing tension, and only has the opposite effect.

What Carter did and said was more flexing of the US' military muscle in the South China Sea, and it is this that is increasing the tension.

Along with its military aid to its allies, the US' displays of military might are only making the situation more complicated and volatile.

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