Commentary: U.S. should stop treating South China Sea as next Caribbean

Source: XinhuaEditor: Dong Zhaohui
2016-07-10 21:57

MEXICO CITY, July 10 (Xinhua) -- The United States should stay away from the South China Sea issue and avoid repeating its history of military intervention and political manipulation in the Caribbean in the past century.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague will announce its award on Tuesday in an arbitration case filed unilaterally by the Philippines against China on disputes over the South China Sea.

Looking back at the drama, it's not difficult to see that the United States has played an important role in disturbing the once peaceful waters since it adopted a "pivot to Asia" strategy.

And it's not the first time for the nation to do so. Having been regarding Latin America as its backyard, the United States has never stopped making waves in the Caribbean.

Cuba is one of the biggest victims. The United States occupied the country during the 1898 American-Spanish War and forced it to sign a contract to indefinitely lease Guantanamo Bay, which later became the first overseas military base of the United States and has never been returned.

Later on, the United States dispatched troops to Cuba three times after the establishment of the republic in 1902, and has adopted a hostile attitude toward the country ever since the victory of the Cuban revolution in 1959.

After failing to topple Cuba's regime in April 1961 by sending over 1,500 mercenaries, the United States started imposing economic and financial blockade and trade embargo on Cuba, which have not been completely lifted as of today.

In 1903, the United States instigated Panama's independence from Colombia, and forced the new government to sign an unequal treaty on building the Panama Canal.

Over half a century later, in a bid to seize control over the canal, the George H.W. Bush administration sent an army of 26,000 to Panama on Dec 20, 1989 in the name of "protecting American lives there from political instability." The same reason had been used to justify the U.S. occupation of Haiti from 1915 to 1934.

In August 1926, U.S. Marines invaded Nicaragua to bolster the pro-American conservative government when a civil war torn the small central American country apart. While in April 1965, when a civil war broke out in the Dominican Republic and overturned a U.S.-installed government, the United States sent nearly 40,000 troops to "restore order" in the country.

The same tragedy also happened to Grenada, one of the smallest countries in the Caribbean. In October 1983, the Reagan administration sent 5,000 Marines to Grenada to topple its Communist regime. In little more than a week, the government was overthrown.

Throughout the 20th Century, the United States has been incessantly cruising its warships on the Caribbean waters, trying to assert its influence over the region.

Its interference that blocked the path of independent development for Caribbean countries, and resulted in long time of turmoil as well as social stagnation in some of the countries.

Obviously all the military operations, political interference and economic sanctions made by the United States are only for one purpose -- defending, if not wanting more, its interests in the region.

As former U.S. President Ronald Reagan once put it, "the Caribbean region is a vital strategic and commercial artery for the United States."

Since it began to enjoy a rapid rise of political eminence at the end of the 19th century, the United States has been driving wedges in the Caribbean countries so that it could gain dominance over the entire region.

And now it is using the same strategy in the Asia-Pacific, specially, the South China Sea.

Since a U.S. strategy shift in 2009 toward Asia-Pacific, tensions and disputes between countries in the South China Sea have been increasing dramatically.

Recently the situation has been worsened due to a string of provocative actions made by the U.S. Navy under the banner of "free navigation."

U.S. warplanes and warships have been patrolling dangerously close to Chinese territory, emboldening some nations, even though the region is thousands of miles away from the U.S. homeland.

It seems like a habitual behavior of the United States to boss around. However, the South China Sea is not the Caribbean and U.S. hegemony will not work there.

This is not only because China's claim of sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea is legitimate, but also because China has always been a firm advocate for peace and prosperity in the region.

With regard to the current disputes in the South China Sea, China proposes a "dual-track" approach, namely peacefully and properly handling the disputes through direct talks between the parties involved and jointly maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

There has been peace and prosperity in the South China Sea for most of the time in past centuries and will prevail in the future unless outside forces come to interfere.

So the United States should stop treating the South China Sea as the next Caribbean and quit the habit of meddling in other countries' business.

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