May 6, two US warships trespassed in the adjacent waters of Nanxun Jiao and Chigua Jiao of China’s Nansha Islands without the Chinese government’s permission. This was the third provocation this year by US warships in the South China Sea. Every time it was carried out under the banner of the so-called freedom of navigation.
No matter how many times US warships sail into the South China Sea, it will not change the sovereignty of the islands and reefs in the region, nor can it weaken China’s actual control over related islands and reefs. Furthermore, it cannot disturb the established pace of China’s construction on islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
In the South China Sea, Washington has been keeping on muddying the waters. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy just celebrated the 70th anniversary of its founding. Although US warships were absent, countries in the South China Sea such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei sent warships and delegations to celebrate the birthday, which shows their willingness to peacefully coexist with China.
Without the interference of outsiders, states of the South China Sea are capable of addressing disputes and maintaining the peace and stability of this region.
Washington has tried very hard and hopes to drive a wedge into the South China Sea disputes, regarding it as a bargaining chip in its game with Beijing. Nations in the South China Sea soon saw through US intentions. The effects of US moves continually decline. Even small sovereign states are not willing to be pawns of great powers. Development is the priority for all nations in the South China Sea. The US moves to destabilize the region are becoming increasingly unpopular.
As long as China and these countries maintain mutually beneficial cooperation, basic peace and security can be maintained in the South China Sea then. US warships’ provocations are a reminder to the Chinese people. The US warships’ voyages convey US resistance to China’s rise. We Chinese can’t evade it and it needs our wisdom and strength to cope with it.
It also reminds us there is still a gap between strength of China and the US. On the other hand, China is growing fast, causing US vigilance and containment.
It reminds us Chinese of the necessity and urgency to strengthen Chinese naval forces. Only if the Chinese navy is sufficiently strong will US warships dare not willfully enter China’s offshore waters to flex their muscles. A strong Chinese navy is the guarantee for peace and stability of the South China Sea and even the whole world.
US warships will continue to appear in the South China Sea. However, their voyage will have more symbolic meaning than actual significance.
We Chinese only need to keep calm. It is certain that China will hold more initiatives in its offshore area.