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Southeast Asian countries not Washington's pawns

Source: China Daily | 2023-09-13
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Southeast Asian countries not Washington's pawns

This is an editorial from China Daily.

Given the recent signs of Washington and Beijing seeking a detente, as indicated by the recent series of visits to China by senior officials in the Joe Biden administration and amid speculation that the US president is hoping to meet with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the APEC economic leaders' meeting later this year in San Francisco, it is perhaps natural that Biden should seek to deflect attention from what his administration is doing.

Speaking in the Vietnamese capital Biden claimed that "We're not looking to hurt China, sincerely," and that "We're all better off if China does well". Yet nothing can change the fact that under his administration, the US is doing whatever it can to contain China.

Along with debilitating Russia, containing China is so obviously the top priority of his administration that when he said at a press conference in Hanoi on Sunday that he does not want to contain China, Biden could not even convince the media in his own country, let alone the international audience.

Apart from continuing the Donald Trump-era trade war with China, the US has also imposed unjustified and unreasonable sanctions on China to suppress its trade and technology. Not to mention that the US is taking every opportunity to damage China's strategic interests, and even resorting to reckless moves to challenge China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The US has frequently made waves in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait with the aim of portraying Beijing as a violator of the rules-based order so as to trick other countries into forming a wall with which to contain China. Hence, in its report covering Biden's Vietnam trip, The New York Times pointed out that Biden's remarks about not seeking to contain China were just "an important subtext for the move" as the US leader "works to establish a network of partnerships in the region to counter" so-called aggressive action by Beijing.

The Biden administration has done its utmost to leverage its regional alliance network, and it is even trying to form a so-called global alliance against China. Thus it has breathed fresh life into the US' old alliances with countries in the region and forged new China-containment cliques, such as the AUKUS trilateral partnership, that brings together the US, the United Kingdom and Australia for more high-handed Anglo-Saxon gunboat diplomacy.

With or without Biden's admission of the fact, his Vietnam visit was widely perceived as a significant US move to court the Southeast Asian country and exploit its territorial dispute with China and leverage its economy in support of the US' offensive against China's trade and technologies.

But the one thing the Biden administration needs to bear in mind is that the past 50 years of exchanges between China and other countries, including the US, have demonstrated that cooperation is more beneficial to countries than confrontation. In today's interconnected world, countries in the region seek peace, stability and cooperation, not animosity, volatility and confrontation.

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