عربي Español Русский Français 简体中文

Ambassador Hong Xiaoyong has a signed article "Cooperation or confrontation? The way ahead for the region" published in The Straits Times

(From Chinese Embassy in Singapore)

2020/06/22

On 22 June 2020, H.E. Mr. Hong Xiaoyong, Chinese Ambassador to Singapore, has a signed article published in The Straits Times titled "Cooperation or confrontation? The way ahead for the region". The full text is as follows:

On June 15, The Straits Times published an opinion piece titled "US stands with its partners for a free and open Indo-Pacific", written by Dr Mark Esper, the US Secretary of Defence.

This was another attempt to sell the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States after his predecessor's at the Shangri-La Dialogue last year.

The piece emphasised the three pillars of the strategy: preparedness, strengthening partnerships, and promoting a more networked region.

This rhetoric, combined with the author's position as US Secretary of Defence, creates two key impressions: First, the article is flaunting the powerful military presence of the US and its deployment of advanced weapons in the region - much like flexing its muscles to show off.

Second, it is labelling China a threat to the "free and open system" in the region, and declaring the intention of the US to join forces with its "partners" in an effort to deter China. It is clear that this is an attempt to cause friction between major powers and add to the tension in the region.

A CONFRONTATIONAL STRATEGY

To this end, the Indo-Pacific Strategy is reviving the Cold War mentality in an effort to impose divisions along the lines of ideology, with the Chinese Communist Party in the crosshairs.

The South China Sea issue is again used to sow discord between China and the countries of the region, with blatant disregard for the general stable and positive state of affairs, and ignoring the fact that China and Asean member states are focused on resolving their differences through dialogue.

The strategy has brought to the fore a question that requires serious reflection: Should the region adopt a framework for unity and cooperation, or one of confronting camps?

The strategy came at a time when the US launched a trade war with China and escalated containment against China.

Its goal is to localise its deterrence policies and divide the regional countries into groups.

In recent years, the US has also employed many strategies in various guises in other regions of the world, but these have only resulted in instability, economic decline, and destroyed lives.

The US promise of freedom and prosperity never came. As the Indo-Pacific Strategy comes to this region, a big concern comes to all.

Reality has proven that these geopolitical strategies, coloured by militarism and self-interest, do not fit with the common interests of the region, and run contrary to the stance of cooperation and working towards development for all. They will not - and should not - become the theme for the region's order.

In June last year, South-east Asian nations issued the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, calling for countries in the region, big and small, to work together to maintain peaceful development. Clearly, what the US is proposing with the Indo-Pacific Strategy runs counter to this common vision.

The region is today a rare oasis of peace, and one of the major growth engines of the global economy, because of the combined efforts of all parties, including Asean and China. Peace and development are the common interests of the region, and unity and cooperation are the common aspirations.

What any major Asia-Pacific country should do is to respect the agenda of our times and contribute to the long-term stability and development of the region, instead of picking fights with other countries and adding to the tension.

CHINA'S ROLE IN THE REGION

China is an active contributor and unwavering supporter of regional prosperity.

China is committed to upholding peace and stability in the region.

The South China Sea issue is a matter of sovereignty and maritime rights, and resolving the issue will take time. However, what is most important is the political consensus between China and Asean member states to engage in dialogue and negotiation to resolve this peacefully.

The South China Sea issue is left over from history. The claimant countries have always managed their differences generally well for decades, but turbulence occurred when interference came from outside.

The opinion piece has once again played up the issue with ulterior motives, maligning China and accusing it of bullying Asean out of access to an estimated US$2.5 trillion (S$3.5 trillion) in offshore oil and gas in the region. But the truth is that China has always upheld the principle of "pursuing joint development while shelving disputes".

China has never drilled a single oil well before a consensus was reached. Negotiations on the code of conduct in the South China Sea are currently progressing at pace and moving in a favourable direction. This is a state of affairs that should be appreciated and treasured by all regional countries.

China is actively embarking on cooperation with countries in the region in multiple aspects, working towards mutual benefit with openness and inclusiveness. On the basis of mutual respect, China is working in line with each country's developmental needs to build the Belt and Road - to inject new impetus for growth and development.

China keeps its efforts to deepen trade relations with Asean: Total trade between China and Asean has already exceeded US$600 billion last year, while total bidirectional investment has exceeded US$200 billion.

China has been Asean's largest trading partner for 11 consecutive years and, since the start of 2020, Asean has become China's biggest trade partner for the first time.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, China worked closely with Asean, providing aid through donation of material resources, sending medical teams, and other ways. In the face of the crisis, China has once again proven itself a trustworthy, dependable partner.

The cooperation between China and Asean is based on a common philosophy in development, with both parties supportive of globalisation and multilateralism. China and Asean have been working closely under the Asean Plus One and Asean Plus Three summits, the East Asia Summit, the Asean Regional Forum, and other regional platforms.

China highly respects Asean's centrality and will never be absent from the cooperation mechanisms. Both parties are actively pushing forward with negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which will further regional integration and protect free trade.

China will continue to uphold its national policy of opening up - and the door will only open wider. We welcome Asean and other countries to share in the benefits and opportunities that economic development brings.

A COMMUNITY WITH A SHARED FUTURE FOR MANKIND

Unity, cooperation and development for all is the right direction for our times. President Xi Jinping proposed building a community with a shared future for mankind, which is aligned with the rationale of progress, and resonates with the aspirations of the people in the region.

Manoeuvring superpowers against each other for one's sole interest will not solve any problem - it will only harm everybody's interest. Under the strong leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, China is committed to maintaining peace and stability, and advancing development and prosperity in foreign diplomacy.

China and US relations have a profound influence on the region as well as on the rest of the world. The two countries stand to gain from cooperation and to lose from confrontation.

China looks forward to propelling a China-US relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability. China does not intend to change the US; neither does it seek to replace the US. The US cannot change China at its own wish, nor can it block China's growth.

China's development is never a threat to peace in the region, as the article claims. On the contrary, it is the efforts at containment and deterrence aimed at China that threaten it.

Suggest to a friend
Print