China state papers warn US strategy risks rifts

BEIJING, June 5: China’s top newspapers warned today that the United States’ plans to bolster its naval presence in the Asia-Pacific region threaten to widen rifts between the two big powers.
The warnings came in the People’s Daily – the main newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party – and Liberation Army Daily – the main paper of the nation’s military, and amplified milder comments from the Foreign Ministry yesterday.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Saturday that the Pentagon will reposition its naval forces so that 60 percent of its battleships are in the Asia-Pacific region by the end of the decade, up from about 50 percent now.
Echoing reassurances from other Obama administration officials, Panetta said the plan was not aimed at containing China, whose fast-modernising navy has kindled worries among neighbours. But the People’s Daily did not buy that.
“Opinion across the Asia-Pacific generally does not believe that the United States’ strategy of returning to the Asia-Pacific is not aimed at China; it’s there plain for all to see,” said a commentary in the paper, which reflects currents of official thinking in Beijing.
“The United States verbally denies it is containing China’s rise, but while establishing a new security array across the Asia-Pacific, it has invariably made China its target,” it said.
“This strategy is riven with contradictions and undoubtedly will magnify the complexities of Asia-Pacific security arrangements, and could even create schisms.”
The People’s Daily commentary was blunter than the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin, who responded to Panetta’s announcement by saying China hopes the United States will respect its regional interests, and by calling the Pentagon’s steps “out of keeping with the times.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here