China criticized US President George W. Bush's war on Iraq yesterday, accusing an "arrogant" US of trying to "rule the world" and blaming the US-led invasion for sparking an increase in terrorist attacks.
In a rare commentary by former vice-premier and former longtime foreign minister Qian Qichen (
"The philosophy of the `Bush Doctrine' is in essence force," Qian said in the government-run English-language China Daily.
"It advocates the United States should rule over the whole world with overwhelming force -- military force in particular," he said.
While supporting Bush's anti-terrorism efforts, China opposed the war in Iraq and sees the US administration's policies as an example of superpower hegemonism, which Beijing frequently rails against.
"The current US predicament in Iraq serves as another example that when a country's superiority psychology inflates beyond its real capability, a lot of trouble can be caused," Qian said.
"But the troubles and disasters the United States has met do not stem from threats by others, but from its own cocksureness and arrogance," he said.
Far from winning peace for itself and the Arab world, Washington has "opened a Pandora's box," intensifying ethnic and religious conflicts, he argued.
"The Iraq war was an optional war, not a necessary one, and the pre-emptive principle should be removed from the dictionary of the US national security, former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright also said," Qian wrote.
Mounting hostile sentiments in the Muslim world toward the US have already helped al-Qaeda recruit more followers and suicide martyrs, Qian said.
"The Iraq War has also destroyed the hard-won global anti-terror coalition," he said. "Instead of dropping, the number of terrorist activities throughout the world is now on the increase."
Since Bush took power, China has gone from being labeled a "strategic competitor" to a partner in the anti-terror campaign.
Critics say Beijing has used its counterterrorism cooperation with Washington to win support for its efforts to crush Uighur Muslim separatists in its restive northwestern Xinjiang region.
But in recent days Beijing has been angered by the US refusal to repatriate about a dozen Uighurs captured during the war on terror and held in Guantanamo Bay.
Washington has said it wants to resettle them in third countries amid concerns they will be persecuted if returned to China.
Analysts have said China may prefer Bush over Senator John Kerry, as Bush is a known quantity to Chinese leaders and Kerry has vowed to highlight economic disputes including the Chinese currency, labor practices and trade.
However, Beijing is wary of US dominance in world affairs and is increasingly threatened by America's growing presence under Bush in Central Asia, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, which China sees as its sphere of influence, they said.