United States, biggest promoter of militarization in South China Sea

Source: China Military OnlineEditor: Zhang Tao
2016-06-24 13:46

BEIJING, June 23 (ChinaMil) –Recently, two U.S. aircraft carriers hosted a drill in waters near the Philippines. For this unusual drill, the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations threatened that this is a signal that the U.S. is committed to maintaining security in the region, and it is also a "deterrence" for some country.

On the South China Sea issue, the U.S. government and the military frequently accused China of engaging in militarization. In fact, through the prism of history and reality, it is not difficult to see the distorted and hypocritical faces of the U.S. over the South China Sea issues.

Militarization generally refers to the presence of military facilities, equipment, airports, bases, troops, frequent military reconnaissance activities and periodic military exercises in certain areas. In the South China Sea and its surrounding areas, militarization has already existed and it is not a new problem. The U.S. has been promoting militarization in the region for a long time.

After World War II, the U.S. treats Western Europe, the Middle East and East Asia as three strategic fulcrums to support its global strategy. In order to curb the socialist camp and compete for spheres of influence in the Third World, the U.S. completed related military layout. In East Asia, by strengthening the forward presence and building the alliance system, the U.S. has put the area in a long-term highly militarized state.

Especially in recent years after the Cold War, the U.S. military has increased military monitoring efforts, intelligence gathering efforts and the strategic deterrence intensity targeting China. For instance, the U.S. reconnaissance aircraft, ships, boats and other special task ships often cruise and conduct reconnaissance tasks in China’s exclusive economic zones in the South China Sea.

During the Obama administration, the U.S. first put forward the concept of "return to Asia" and then it introduced strategy of "Rebalance to Asia-Pacific". The latter calls for 60 percent of the U.S. Navy to be deployed in the Pacific region. At the same time, the U.S. military operational and support forces in space, network and air are also required to tilt to the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the guidance of "Rebalance to Asia-Pacific", the U.S. has strengthened the "Water Lilies" program to establish various types of small military bases and U.S. military base network.

Over the past year, the U.S. military activities in the South China Sea have been intensified. From P-8 Poseidon to B-52 Stratofortress, from the USS Lassen (DDG 82) to the USS Curtis Wilbur, there have been many muscle-flexing activities in the South China Sea. In addition, the U.S. military has been hosting various military exercises with the Philippines and other countries in the South China Sea, and the times and frequencies of such exercises reached an unprecedented high.

As pointed out by China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying, the U.S. keeps beefing up its military presence in the South China Sea, deploying advanced vessels and aircraft to frequently conduct close reconnaissance against China, and enlisting or pressuring allies or partners to operate highly targeted "joint drills" and "joint patrols" in the South China Sea. This is exactly what we call as "militarization" and "tinderbox".

Ironically, while accusing China of pushing the militarization in the South China Sea, the U.S. is turning a blind eye on the practice of building missile sites and radar stations on illegally-occupied reefs by some countries in the South China Sea for many years; at the same time, as an outsider of the South China Sea, the U.S. takes the actions of sending military vessels and aircraft into China’s airspace and territorial waters for provocation and high-frequency close surveillance for granted. All these only reflect the double standards adopted by the U.S. and its deep-rooted hegemonic thinking.

Thus, the U.S. is the initiator of post-war militarization in the South China Sea and it is now the biggest promoter of militarization in the South China Sea. However, the U.S. neglects the fact that it is pushing militarization measures onto others’ doorsteps, but it also makes irresponsible remarks on the normal construction activities on Chinese islands and reefs by China in the South China Sea. This is exactly a thief crying "stop thief".

China and its armed forces have always been upholding faith and truth. Chinese people and the Chinese military are determined to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. No one should have any doubts or fantasy about this.

The author is Sun Jianzhong, a researcher with the Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies, Nanjing University.

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