Monday, August 10, 2020
Home OP-ED Editorial US meddling must be met with cold shoulder

US meddling must be met with cold shoulder

The US administration released an official position paper on the South China Sea on July 13 that made clear it intends to try and sabotage the concord between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China. With Washington intent on sowing discord between the two sides, it is essential that the ASEAN members keep the overall regional picture in mind and work with China at this challenging time. It is therefore encouraging that the series of senior officials’ meetings in East Asia, held on Monday and Tuesday via video have helped to uphold the consensus between the ASEAN members and China on the need to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. And that the two sides will continue to push forward the effective implementation of their prioritized cooperation in environmental protection, energy, education, finance, health, disaster management and food security. Little is as it was this year because of the emergence of the novel coronavirus. But the spirit of reciprocal cooperation that has boosted trade between China and ASEAN and which promises to finalize a code of conduct for the South China Sea still prevails, and it remains a touchstone for the region’s resilience in the face of the current crisis. China and ASEAN have maintained stable and sound cooperation in response to this grave public health threat and its broader impacts. After the virus hit the ASEAN members, China not only sent medical teams to help the affected countries it also shared its experience and knowledge with them through videoconferences. The Chinese people also remember the timely and unselfish assistance ASEAN extended to China when it was waging its own tough battle against the virus. What the two sides have done to help each other fight the virus fully demonstrates their determination to stand together. Even with the debilitating influence of the pathogen on economies, the total value of China’s imports from and exports to ASEAN has increased by 5.6 percent in the first six months of this year, accounting for 14.7 percent of China’s total foreign trade, making ASEAN the country’s largest trading partner. This year is the China-ASEAN Year of Digital Economy Cooperation, which will help strengthen regional cooperation in this field and so contribute to economic and social recovery, job creation and improving people’s well-being. The strong momentum and solidarity in China-ASEAN cooperation will consolidate the achievements the region has made in fighting the virus and will help boost the economic recovery in Asia. Countries in the region should stay vigilant to the troublemaking antics of the United States and its allies. As long as they focus on the regional picture, the United States’ attempts to interfere in regional affairs and drive wedges between the ASEAN members and China on various pretexts will be to no avail. –CN

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