US' double-dealing risky
Updated: 2015-05-15 07:53
A formation of the Nanhai Fleet of China's Navy on Saturday finished a three-day patrol of the Nansha islands in the South China Sea. [Photo/Xinhua]
China is justified in expressing "serious concern" about media reports that the United States is mulling plans to address China's island building in the South China Sea. It has cast a shadow over US Secretary of State John Kerry's upcoming visit to China over the weekend.
A Wall Street Journal report, citing an anonymous US official, said that the US is considering sending military ships and planes to within 12 nautical miles of the islands.
Clarification from the US is clearly needed. China has repeatedly explained its construction activities in the Nansha Islands fall within its sovereign waters and do not affect freedom of navigation or overflights.
The work mostly serves civil purposes. Yet a few countries, the United States and the Philippines in particular, have been pointing fingers at China using various pretexts.
Washington should know territorial integrity is China's core interest, and Beijing will not back down from Washington's mounting pressure.
To counterbalance China's rise and enhance its own waning influence in the region, Washington has been playing two contradictory cards at the same time: cooperating with China in the fields where it benefits the most, such as trade, and trying to contain China's growing influence in other areas.
Such double-dealing tactics are not conducive to building mutual trust. Worse, when the US plays a containment card, it only sows seeds of distrust that could grow into misjudgment.
Should the US send its naval vessels to the waters near China's island building area, it would create a potential flashpoint.