China’s state-run news service, Xinhua, lays it on pretty thick in an editorial titled “Xi’s Epic Bid for Better U.S. Ties Bolsters Asian Peace, Prosperity.”
The goal is to re-define everyone opposed to China’s ambitions or critical of its methods—by, for example, complaining about that massive Chinese raid on the U.S. government’s personnel databases—as an enemy of peace.
Crabbing about those artificial islands China is constructing, and fortifying, in the disputed waters of the South China Sea is an obstacle to “peace” as well.
It is already a worldwide consensus that China and the United States, the two giants sitting on the opposite end of the Pacific Ocean, play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the vast region between them, whose eminence in global affairs is growing each and every day.
It is against such an epic backdrop that there is a growing sense among Chinese, U.S. and Asian officials and experts that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s upcoming first state visit to the United States could further promote the positive China-U.S. interaction in the Asia-Pacific and thus make the Pacific Ocean more live up to its name.
President Xi, a staunch advocator for common peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific, has made it clear time and again that “the broad Pacific Ocean is vast enough to embrace both China and the United States.”
He has also repeatedly urged the two sides to honor their commitment to actively interact in the Asia-Pacific region, encourage inclusive diplomacy, and jointly play a constructive role to bolster regional peace, stability and prosperity.
Just think about it, people: “Pacific” means “peaceful.” The Pacific Ocean is a great big sea of peace with China on one side and America on the other.
Of course, the Pacific is not really the body of water everyone is so concerned about these days, everywhere from Washington to Tokyo. President Xi is using his diplomats and media to create an aura of peace-loving, constructive, responsible statesmanship so he can act shocked and hurt if the Obama White House decides to confront him about Chinese hostility in the South China Sea and on the Internet.
At this very moment, China is expressing “extreme concern” about the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, Admiral Harry Harris, who expressed his “great concern” over China’s military airfields in the Spratly Islands. Harris wants to patrol close to those islands. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded by demanding that “any country challenging China’s sovereignty and security in the name of protecting freedom of navigation” must “peak and act cautiously, earnestly respect China’s sovereignty and security interests, and not take any risky or provocative acts.”
Names are dropped later in the Xinhua piece to stress the long and productive history of giving China a pass on everything it does. “Jeffrey Bader, an expert at the Brookings Institution and former China policy adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama in the National Security Council, wrote recently that East Asia has avoided major military conflicts since the 1970s, which is owing to the maturity and good sense of most of the states of the region,” says Xinhua. “Besides, it is due to the reconciliation of the Asia-Pacific major powers, the United States and China, initiated by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and nurtured by every American administration and Chinese leadership since, he wrote.”
Paens to U.S.-Chinese cooperation from politicians in Australia and across Asia are included, with a tip of the hat to China’s New Silk Road trade route project (formally known as “One Belt, One Road”) thrown in for good measure. Everybody is allegedly pleased that China is a rising superpower that spends its days peacefully wishing peace upon all of its peaceful neighbors when it isn’t working to make them all rich.
Just ask Roger Cliff, senior fellow at the Asia Security Initiative of the Atlantic Council, who advised the Obama administration to “declare that it has no intention of containing China and China can declare that its rise will be peaceful.”
Secretary of State John Kerry gets a pat on the head for saying, “the United States supports a strong and prosperous China and has never sought to confront China in the region,” as Xinhua puts it, and while it characterizes his remarks as “positive,” it says more needs to be done, such as inviting China to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Of course no one is spoiling for trade or electronic war in Asia, much less a shooting war, but China is the party acting aggressively on every front, while loudly declaring themselves interested in nothing but good fellowship. They have a lot to answer for, but they know they’re acting from strength against a weak American administration, so President Xi has a good chance of getting what he wants during his upcoming U.S. visit.