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Experts refute Pentagon chief's claim of China 'self-isolation'

by June 6, 2016 General

Experts of Asian nations Sunday refuted China’s “self-isolation” claims by U.S. Pentagon chief Ashton Carter.

In his speech during the ongoing 15th Shangri-La Dialogue, which focuses on the security of the Asia-Pacific, Carter said Saturday that China could end up “erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation.”

“Carter’s remarks will not help build bridges between countries. What’s important to do at present is to have a collaborative approach, rather than harsh comments,” said Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, a visiting lecturer in International Political Economy for University of London in Sri Lanka Royal Institute of Colombo, on the sidelines of the dialogue.

“The remarks came with the U.S. pivot to Asia … the U.S. wants more presence here,” Asanga said, adding that “if you look at the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance facilities that the United States built in this area, you can see a serious increase of U.S. presence.”

Speaking of China, Asanga said other regional partners and China “share similar culture, it’s one community,” adding that China has never been isolated in history, nor will be in the future.

Wu Xinbo, executive dean of China’s Institute of International Studies at prestigious Fudan University, said that Carter’s remarks aimed to sell to Asian nations the U.S. idea to establish a NATO-like security network in the region that is underpinned by the U.S.-favored principles and its regional allies.

Wu also said that Carter’s comment seems more like “a self amusement” due to U.S. frustration over China’s increasing security exchanges with Asian countries.

China cannot be farther than “being isolated” in the region, Wu said. “Years of U.S. pressure have proved futile, and China is doing what it thinks necessary, so the U.S. has nothing else to do but saying ‘look, you are isolated.'”

Tea Banh, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, also said Saturday that he doesn’t think Carter’s claims are correct, since “the best way to solve disputes is through peaceful means and let related parties achieve mutual understanding via dialogue.”

Huang Jing, professor at the National University of Singapore, said that as China develops, Asia-Pacific countries had built close relations with not only the United States but also China, which proves Carter’s claims are “exaggerated.”

These claims are “misinterpreting China’s policies, and are not in line with the two countries’ consensus on forging a new pattern of relationship,” said Colonel Lu Yin, associate researcher from the Institute of Strategic Studies of China’s National Defense University.

The colonel noted that Carter’s remarks revealed logical paradoxes in the U.S. rebalance strategy in the Asia-Pacific.

“I don’t see it possible that without efforts from China, the United States can realize its rebalance strategy in the Asia-Pacific region as well as achieve common prosperity as envisioned,” said Lu.