Sat, Jul 12, 2014 - Page 3 News List

US legislator seeks curbs to China’s rising belligerence

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

China has decided that now is the time to expand its economic and security ambitions, at the expense of its neighbors in the South China Sea, US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said on Thursday.

“And for at least the moment, they are getting away with it,” he told a Washington conference on US policy in the region.

Beijing’s tactics are intended to wear down international resolve, Rogers said.

Gradually, one small island or reef at a time, China is making major advances — “and that has to change,” he said.

Delivering a keynote speech at the two-day conference organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Rogers said China’s strategy is “like death by a thousand cuts.”

“From a distance, it doesn’t look that menacing,” he said. “But when you start adding up the totality of it and looking at the brewing clouds of conflict, this is as serious as it gets.”

If Chinese aggression in the South China Sea does not end, sooner or later there would be a miscalculation and tensions would lead to confrontation and “outright conflict,” Rogers said.

“We might not want to see it, we might not want to admit it, but that is the state of affairs in which we find ourselves,” he added.

He said the US must push back and change China’s calculation that it is acceptable to encroach on its neighbors for the purpose of gaining territory and resources.

China believes that the world does not care, and it is the responsibility of the US and its allies in Asia to convince Beijing that it should rethink that idea, Rogers said.

“For 30 years, we have been working with China and we have overlooked things we would overlook with no other nation,” he said.

Rogers said that China was getting away with a wide variety of violations, from human rights to “blatant disrespect and disregard for intellectual property rights.”

He said the US had failed to protest strongly enough because of a heightened regard for what he referred to as “China’s sensibilities.”

However, Washington’s tactics are not working, and China continues its violations at a “breathtaking pace,” Rogers said.

It is time for the US to “redo this calculus” and to stop being deferential to what he described as the “delicate sensibilities of Chinese officials,” Rogers said.

“We need to be more direct and we need to be more aggressive, and we need to empower our friends and allies in the region,” he said.

“We are fooling ourselves if we don’t see that the table is set. The stew is about ready to boil in the South China Sea. We need to show China it is not the sole and dominant power [in the region],” he said.

China “had to be stopped from using its military to bully and destabilize the region,” Rogers said, adding “[The US is] a big nation, we have other problems to solve, but we can’t let this one slip away from us.”

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top