China has accused the United States of trying to “create chaos” in the Asia-Pacific, a day after US National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien, publicly backed countries in maritime disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its own interests.
On a visit to Manila, Mr O’Brien told the Philippines and Vietnam, both countries in disputes with Beijing cover the South China Sea (SCS) that “We’ve got your back”. He also stressed on the US commitment to self-ruled Taiwan.
China hit back saying his remarks were “unreasonable” and exaggerated regional tensions.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila said in a statement posted on its website that Asian country “firmly oppose these remarks which are full of Cold War mentality and wantonly incite confrontation.
“It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the US.”
China claims almost the entire South China Sea under its “nine-dash line” and has over the past few years has built military installations on several disputed reefs and outcrops despite an international court ruling that found the line which overlaps with claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia illegal.
The Philippines took its case to U.N.’s International Court of Justice, the Hague after a two-month standoff with Chinese fishing vessels in 2014 and the court ruled two years later that, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Philippines had exclusive rights to the resources within 370.4km (200 nautical miles) of its coast.
The ruling has not prevented China from continuing to build bases in the sea, whiles the US has repeatedly sent warships through the area to highlight freedom of navigation in one of the world’s busiest trading routes.
The statement made reference to the waterway saying, “Facts have proved that the US is the biggest driver of the militarization of the SCS and the most dangerous external factor endangering the peace and stability of the SCS.”
China also hit out at Mr O’Brien’s comments on Taiwan, a self-ruled island which Beijing claims as its own. The US National Security Advisor warned China it would face a “backlash” if it attempted to use military force to coerce the island.
“There is only one China in the world,” it said. “Both Taiwan and Hong Kong are inalienable parts of China. This is an objective fact and a basic norm governing international relations.”
During President Trump’s four years in office, Washington has also sold $15bn worth of weapons to Taiwan and approved $7bn more in September, a collection that includes drones, fighter jets and cruise missiles.
Relations between China and the US have generally deteriorated since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, with the two sides at odds over issues from democracy and human rights to technology and trade.