The Chinese military on Tuesday returned a US underwater drone, which was discovered in the South China Sea by a Chinese naval lifeboat last Thursday and was taken as an unidentified device. The US claimed that the event occurred about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay in the Philippines while making accusations that China’s behavior was a violation of international law,writes an editorial piece of Global Times.
The military from China and the US have both exercised restraint over the case. That’s why the incident was resolved within a few days. It showed the willingness from the two sides to settle the disputes with a cooperative manner despite their different understandings toward the South China Sea.
Some US media called the Pentagon’s response “soft,” claiming it will injure its Asian allies’ faith in Washington. Certain US media even demanded Beijing to apologize.
In the eyes of the Chinese public, the US’ intelligence gathering around China has posed a severe threat to China’s national security. The latest episode happened in international waters, but the location is much closer to China than to the US.
Chinese media did not hype up the issue, but quite a few Chinese believe that we should not return the drone to Washington. Of course, we understand that we cannot do whatever we want, hence we showed respect to the decision made by the Chinese diplomatic team and military.
The interactions between Beijing and Washington must not only conform with international law, but also should be fair and reasonable. No matter whether the US’ large-scale intelligence gathering accords with international law, it caused actual damage to China’s interests. There is no way that China will keep letting the US spy on us.
Almost all military frictions between Beijing and Washington have emerged in China’s periphery and a majority of them involved US reconnaissance systems and Chinese defensive measures. Given that international law has no related rules, both the Chinese and US militaries can only avoid disturbance through management and control.
Yet if the US military won’t adjust its general strategy of close-up surveillance of China, close encounters between the two sides will not decrease and disputes over proper limits for actions will rise every now and then.
Washington should be well aware that it is the strategic aggressor in its controversies with Beijing and China only plays the role of strategic defender.
Peace in the Asia-Pacific region needs Sino-US collaboration. The more divergences there are, the more significant bilateral cooperation is to the two sides.
Public opinion can express anything they like, but the Chinese and US governments must present their sense of responsibility and be the guardians of peace and stability.
Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/20 23:33:39