The East Asian cooperation mechanism is supposed to focus on development and pragmatic cooperation as an important platform for promoting solidarity and cooperation among countries in the region. Unfortunately, certain countries outside the region always attempt to seek geopolitical interests through this platform.
At the recently-concluded foreign ministers’ meetings on East Asia cooperation, the US stirred up enmity and caused discord on the South China Sea issue, and smeared China regarding China’s internal affairs for multiple times.
Instead of being echoed by ASEAN countries, the US cliche has made more people realize how the country goes against the trend of global cooperation and falls long behind the times with its hegemonic mindset, arrogance and impertinence.
The US recently arranged intensive activities targeting the ASEAN region, and claimed that these well-crafted activities are aimed at showing an increased attention of the current administration to the ASEAN.
However, judging from the country’s frequently hyping the so-called “China threat” theory and smearing China, the “attention” has nothing to do with cooperation and development. The true purpose is to incite division in the region and use ASEAN countries as a “chess piece” to serve the strategic goal of containing China.
ASEAN countries are well aware of the scheme: Only after China was seen as a major foreign policy challenge did that Southeast Asian countries with a population of more than 600 million finnaly get the eye of Washington, said a recent article published in the Singaporean newspaper Lianhe Zaobao.
The effort of stoking bloc confrontation among countries in East Asia shows the US’ disregard of the current situation and general trend of cooperation among countries in the region.
Through decades of development, China-ASEAN relations have become the most successful and vibrant bilateral relations in the Asia-Pacific region, serving as a vital pillar for regional peace, stability and prosperity.
The fruitful cooperation between the two sides since the beginning of the pandemic has been a role model for fighting the virus across countries and promoting economic recovery.
China has provided over 190 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for ASEAN countries. Trade between China and the ASEAN during the first half of this year surpassed $410 billion, up 38.2 percent year on year. ASEAN has remained China’s largest trading partner, and the accumulated two-way investment between the two sides has exceeded $310 billion. The entry into force and implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement will bring more momentum in trade and economic cooperation.
Secretary-general of the ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi pointed out that the ASEAN-China strategic partnership has become one of the most substantive and dynamic partnerships in the region.
It serves the common interests of all countries in a region to accommodate the aspirations and interests of all parties, promote common security, and achieve lasting regional peace and stability. What the US has done puts the region at the risk of the return of geopolitics, and therefore won’t win the support of ASEAN countries.
"Many US friends and allies wish to preserve their extensive ties with both powers (China and the US)," said Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on August 3.
The US, however, turns a blind eye to such yearning and wishfully thinks it can still create a ring of encirclement against China in the region. This again revealed its arrogance and bigotry and proved that the Cold War mentality the country has stuck to is outdated.
At the recent foreign ministers' meetings on East Asia cooperation, foreign ministers of many countries in the region have echoed and supported China’s position. It demonstrated that time has changed, and the region no longer needs “lecturers” or “saviors." Countries in the region are aware that the destiny is in their own hands and the prospect is created by a joint effort.
The fact that its attempts to curb China was met with constant rebuffs, shows the US should make adjustments in fundamental issues: It should abandon the wrong mentality of viewing China as an imaginary enemy.
Countries in the region have formed close cooperative ties with China, and therefore the US must take into consideration the interests of its partners when making foreign policies, and can’t just impose its own will on them, said former US Ambassador to China Stapleton Roy.
The diplomatic agenda of the US has been totally plunged into the mire of containing China, which not only struck a blow on the regional and international landscape, but caused tremendous damage to its own interests.
At present, the US is faced with deteriorating COVID-19 situation at home, with the daily tally of new infections exceeding 100,000 on average. The US government should focus its energy on coping with the pandemic, safeguarding the health of its people, and strengthening international anti-epidemic cooperation, rather than an attempt in vain to suppress China.
Joseph Nye, a professor at Harvard University, recently warned in an article that the concept of great-power rivalry provides an insufficient alert to a new type of threat the US faces, and the current US strategy results in a Pentagon budget more than 100 times than that of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although the US frequently claims that it deals with China from a “position of strength,” the so-called "position of strength" can neither be supported by domestic nor global realities.
The US can never change China, and has no chance at obstructing or interrupting China’s course of modernization.
The world needs both countries that differ in system, culture and development stage to find a way of peaceful co-existence and even mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation through dialogue. The US should change its course as soon as possible, choose to meet China halfway and pursue mutual respect, fair competition, and peaceful coexistence with China.