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People's Daily Online

Shangri-La talks mustn't bow to US agenda

People's Daily Online

(Global Times) 08:59, June 03, 2016

The Shangri-La Dialogue will kick off Friday night in Singapore and hotspot issues such as the South China Sea disputes will once again attract attention. The Dialogue is believed to be "dominated" by the US and the agendas do not favor China. It is not surprising that Washington behaves as the tone-setter at this year's meeting.

Last week, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter uttered a series of criticisms against China and even compared the Sino-US relationship to the 50-year Cold War standoff with the Soviet Union. China is prepared for such aggravating remarks at the forthcoming Shangri-La Dialogue.

Senior US officials also laughed at the consensus that China has reached with other countries over the South China Sea issue, which they believed is far-fetched.

The US' strategic circle seems to be subjugated by a Cold War mentality. The Pentagon controls the most powerful military in the world. China has built a number of islands in the South China Sea and insisted that they serve for civilian use. However, the US military soon moved into its five bases in the Philippines, deployed spy planes to Singapore, and required access to port facilities in Vietnam's Cam Ranh Bay. It also claimed that China is "militarizing" the South China Sea. How can the US justify such absurd logic?

Carter said the Pentagon's best weapons will be deployed to the Pacific theater, which seems like he is initiating a confrontation with China. Does he really believe the US will win more support this way? Do western Pacific countries really want to see the US make the region into a powder keg?

China's rise generates security concerns from some neighboring countries. This can be attributed to their inadaptability to the changing regional landscape, which is understandable. But these countries also closely cooperate with China. Joint regional development outweighs security concerns. After experiencing various frictions, East Asian countries do not want the region to be dragged into a security deadlock.

As an external power, the US is playing its "balancing" act to contain China's rise rather than maintaining regional stability. It has turned all the conflicts in East Asia into excuses to articulate its strategy against China. This is the real reason for the escalation of tensions in the South China Sea, as the region has never borne such intense competition. Many small countries are unwillingly dragged into conflict.

The world will understand that the US pivot to the Asia-Pacific is only to serve geopolitical purposes. The US dominates world opinion and both its hard and soft power will help it gain some advantages at the Shangri-La Dialogue.

But opinion in the real world will not center around US interests. China does not fear US military threats or an opinion war.

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