The US has issued a strong warning to China not to escalate territorial tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, or otherwise it would face sanctions similar to those the US had imposed on Russia over Crimea. While speaking to a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asia, Daniel Russel, said that the recent sanctions against Russia imposed by the US and EU should have "a chilling effect on anyone in China who might contemplate the Crimea annexation as a model," Reuters reports. While speaking to a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asia, Daniel Russel, said that the recent sanctions against Russia imposed by the US and EU should have "a chilling effect on anyone in China who might contemplate the Crimea annexation as a model."
In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused Russel of confusing two different issues and reiterated that the Chinese stance on the matter would remain unchanged.
This piece of diplomatic fencing was inspired by the fact that China had recently deployed a number of war ships in the disputed waters with the Philippines, which in turn filed a complaint against China.
Russel commented that the US considered this "to be intimidating steps." He noted that though the US had no intention to interfere in China's territorial disputes, it couldn't but caution China against making any wrong moves, especially taking into account the US defense cooperation agreements with the Philippines, South Korea and Japan.
"The president of the United States and the Obama administration is firmly committed to honoring our defense commitments to our allies," Russel stated, although he did not specify in what way the US was going to "honor" its commitments.
If this means imposing sanctions similar to those imposed on Russia over Crimea, it is unlikely to have any effect on China, just the way it had no effect on Russia's firm position on Crimea.
April 22, President Obama's official tour of Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines begins. He is supposed to reassure these countries of America's support for strategic and economic partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region.
US warns China not to attempt Crimea-style action in Asia
April 4, 2014 8:47am
WASHINGTON - China should not doubt the US commitment to defend its Asian allies and the prospect of economic retaliation should also discourage Beijing from using force to pursue territorial claims in Asia in the way Russia has in Crimea, a senior US official said on Thursday.
Daniel Russel, President Barack Obama's diplomatic point man for East Asia, said it was difficult to determine what China's intentions might be, but Russia's annexation of Crimea had heightened concerns among US allies in the region about the possibility of China using force to pursue its claims.
"The net effect is to put more pressure on China to demonstrate that it remains committed to the peaceful resolution of the problems," Russel, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asia, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Russel said the retaliatory sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States, the European Union and others should have a "chilling effect on anyone in China who might contemplate the Crimea annexation as a model."
This was especially so given the extent of China's economic interdependence with the United States and its Asia neighbors, Russel said.
Russel said that while the United States did not take a position on rival territorial claims in East Asia, China should be in no doubt about Washington's resolve to defend its allies if necessary.
"The president of the United States and the Obama administration is firmly committed to honoring our defense commitments to our allies," he said.
While Washington stood by its commitments – which include defense treaties with Japan, the Philippines and South Korea – Russel said there was no reason why the rival territorial claims could not be resolved by peaceful means.
He said he hoped the fact that the Philippines had filed a case against China on Sunday at an arbitration tribunal in The Hague would encourage China to clarify and remove the ambiguity surrounding its own claims.
Russel termed the deployment of large numbers of Chinese vessels in its dispute with the Philippines in the South China Sea "problematic" and said that Beijing had taken "what to us appears to be intimidating steps." The Philippines refers to parts of the South China Sea as West Philippine Sea.
"It is incumbent of all of the claimants to foreswear intimidation, coercion and other non-diplomatic or extra-legal means," he said.
In Asia, China also has competing territorial claims with Japan and South Korea, as well as with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan in potentially energy-rich waters.
Obama is due to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines from April 22, when he is expected to stress his commitment to a rebalancing of US strategic and economic focus towards the Asia-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China. — Reuters
WASHINGTON, April 4 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese diplomat on Friday urged the United States to faithfully honor its commitment of taking no sides on maritime disputes in the Asia-Pacific and refrain from emboldening certain countries to make further provocations.
Wu Xi, minister of the Chinese Embassy, made the remarks when delivering a speech at George Mason University in Virginia on building a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States.
She was reacting to statements by some U.S. officials, who groundlessly criticized China for taking "provocative and destabilizing" actions in the South China Sea and compared the situation there with the crisis in Crimea, a Ukrainian autonomous region that has recently joined Russia.
Last Saturday, a Philippine ship slipped past the blockade by Chinese Coast Guard vessels and reached the Ren'ai Reef, historically a part of Chinese territory, to deliver supplies to soldiers on a grounded Philippine warship.
Wu pointed out that maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region serves the common interests of China, the United States and other regional countries.
"Issues such as the East China Sea and the South China Sea concern China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. We hope the U.S. will approach relevant issues in an objective, just, and balanced way," she said.
The diplomat chided Washington for sending out "misleading messages" by failing to honor its promise not to take a position on sovereignty issues through siding with the Philippines over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
She also criticized the United States for turning a blind eye to the provisions clearly stated in the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), reached by China and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) in 2002, and fabricating ones that are not in the document.
"There's not a single word (in the DOC) that permits replenishment or building facilities on illegally occupied islands and reefs. The DOC makes it clear that disputes concerning territory and sovereignty should be solved peacefully through friendly negotiations and consultations by sovereign states directly concerned," Wu said.
"If the U.S. sincerely wants to safeguard peace and stability in the region, it should faithfully honor its commitment of not taking sides on sovereignty issues. In particular, the U.S. side should stop making irresponsible remarks, and avoid" emboldening some countries to make further provocations.
At the same time, Wu hailed the "great achievements" in the China-U.S. ties since last June's historic summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama at the Sunnylands estate in California.
The agreement reached by the two leaders on working together to build a new model of major-country relationship "provides strategic direction and guidance" for the development of the bilateral ties, Wu said.
However, it needs concerted efforts by both sides to achieve the goal of building a new model of relationship, which is free from conflict or confrontation, based on mutual respect, and aimed at win-win cooperation, she said.
"China and the U.S. should keep up close high-level contacts, expand economic, trade and investment cooperation, increase military-to-military exchanges, carry out positive interaction in the Asia-Pacific, and enhance consultation and coordination on international and global issues," Wu added.