This bird eye view shows the coral reefs in China's Xisha Islands, South China Sea, June 1, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua]
It has become clear over the past few months that the biggest and most immediate worry for the world is the sheer recklessness of the US administration and the potential harm it may do with the unnecessary and self-serving gamesmanship it has committed itself to.
Although its campaign to contain China, having attracted few buyers, has been rebranded for popular consumption as a pushback against the "intimidation and coercion" of the Communist Party of China, the self-centered "principled realism" it is promoting remains a hard sell and the administration's sales tactics have become increasingly uncharitable toward those it is hawking its goods to.
Which has led to the US becoming the biggest driver of the militarization of the South China Sea, as Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday, while attending the 10th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting via video link. By flaunting its force and strengthening its military deployment in the region, and encouraging countries in the region to act impulsively and confrontationally rather than supporting their efforts to resolve the disputes through consultation, the US has become, as Wang made no bones about, "the most dangerous factor" in the South China Sea.
As he did during his recent trip to Europe, Wang conveyed the Chinese national leadership's hopes that the COVID-19 pandemic will be taken as an opportunity to bridge differences, foster solidarity, and shore up economic globalization and multilateralism. He reiterated Beijing's promise of cooperation and contribution to Asian neighbors' fight against the pandemic, post-pandemic economic recovery, and called for greater, deeper regional solidarity and integration.
And reaffirming China's position on the South China Sea issues, he stressed that stake-holding Asian neighbors are able to resolve them on their own, and expressed the hope that countries outside the region, including the United States, "fully respect the wishes and expectations of countries in the region", instead of creating tension and seeking to profit from it.
This is already a consensus among countries in the region. But with the mercenary US administration doing all it can to set countries against China, it was good to hear this consensus reaffirmed at the meeting with the call that countries refrain from acts that complicate the situation, refrain from militarization, and refrain from the use of or threat to use force.
Although countries in the region want to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea knowing that in doing so it benefits all, they will need to ensure they do not get sucked into Washington's game, which it will continue to play until it sets aside its quarrel with Beijing.
Unfortunately, the more Washington becomes intoxicated by the heady thrill of its game, the more unlikely any fence-mending will be until after the inevitable hangover.