Chinese state media is working hard to portray President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States as a success, but even in a column intending to herald bilateral talks as a step in the right direction, Xinhua asserts that it is the United States which is prompting states to be “aggressive” in the South China Sea.
In a column titled “Asia-Pacific not China-U.S. wrestling ring,” Xinhua’s columnists praise what they claim is progress between the two nations in maintaining peaceful relations in the region. The article makes sure to note that any aggressive behavior in the South China Sea is directly the consequence of American, and not Chinese, actions, however.
“Washington’s sizeable [sic] enlargement of its already formidable military presence in the Asia-Pacific has emboldened some claimants in the South China Sea territorial disputes to make counterproductively aggressive moves, although the United States pledges not to take sides on the complex rows,” the authors write, accusing America’s “outdated Cold War mentality” of being the “root of those impediments” in the bilateral relationship. The article quotes a professor from Singapore as claiming that any threat the United States might perceive from China is “more cognitive than real.”