On Friday, the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) of the US State Department has issued a statement reiterating its support for India and other Southeast Asian countries, in the face of Chinese aggression. The remarks are made by David R Stilwell who serves as the Assistant Secretary of the Bureau.
At the very onset, the statement noted that China has set out on a mission for world dominion while the rest of the world is busy fighting the Wuhan Coronavirus. According to the SCA, China threatens the status quo or the ‘existing order’ in Asia that has brought about ‘decades of prosperity’. It emphasised how the South China Sea is a route for an annual $4 trillion trade, with an estimated $1 trillion linked to the US markets, and how China’s hegemony threatens the sovereignty of coastal countries.
According to the SCA, the US is focussed on upholding the independence and sovereignty of the nations in the Indo-Pacific region. The statement noted, “Our approach builds on America’s long record in the Pacific of preserving the peace, upholding freedom of the seas in line with international law, maintaining the unimpeded flow of commerce, and supporting the peaceful settlement of disputes. These are important and abiding interests we share with our many allies and partners.”
USA State Department takes a stand on Galwan
The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) of the US State Department in its statement mentioned the recent stand-off at Galwan and called it the result of the expansionist policy of China. In the statement, USA said:
We see it in the East China Sea and around Taiwan, where Beijing has expanded its maritime provocations and threatening sorties. We see it in the Himalayas, where Beijing recently took aggressive action on its frontiers with India. We see it along the Mekong River, where Beijing has used its massive cascade of dams to hold back water from downstream neighbours in Southeast Asia, contributing to the worst drought in the Mekong’s recorded history. I urge everyone to read the recent report from the Stimson Center, “New Evidence: How China Turned Off the Tap on the Mekong River.”
Exposes China’s expansionist policy
The statement makes an exclusive mention of China’s State-owned enterprises and how they pose a threat in terms of ‘economic coercion’, ‘international abuse’, and violation of the economic zones of Southeast Asian countries. “These state enterprises are modern-day equivalents of the East India Company… The United States supports nations in standing up for their sovereign rights and interests, and in resisting pressure to accept any deal whereby the PRC (People’s Republic of China) pushes its way into a share of offshore resources it has no right to claim.,” SCA reiterated.
Pointing out the recent ‘aggressive stance of China’ on Indian frontiers and the South China Sea, SCA noted that Beijing’s misadventure is not a local phenomenon but an essential feature of ‘a nationalist and Marxist-Leninist mindset’. The statement cautioned that the Communist-ruled country wants to exert dominance in its immediate neighbourhood and will eventually impose rules on other neighbourhoods. “For our part, the United States is resolved to protect our vital interests and those of our allies and friends,” US State Department reiterated.
US stands against Chinese misadventure
SCA also stressed about the formal declarations made in the United Nations by Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia in the past months against the ‘unlawful claims’ of China and how the United States too raised concerns, for the first time in UN, about China’s action in the South China Sea. “Meanwhile we see promising new defense and security arrangements among allies and partners from Australia to Southeast Asia, Japan and India,” SCA stated.
The statement concluded by reiterating that the US is enhancing its military capabilities, strengthening ties with ‘friends’, staying vigilant and increasing the military capabilities of nations whose sovereignty is threatened by China. Moreover, the US State Department highlighted that the country is now providing economic alternatives to nations who have been dependent on predatory Chinese investments, besides supporting diplomatic efforts to resist encroachments by the Communist-ruled country.