US not behind South China Sea row, China told
Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2014 - 11:18am

MANILA, Philippines — The speculation that the United States wants to stir trouble for China over the latter's territorial disputes with neighbors is merely a "conspiracy theory," a former ranking US security official said in Beijing.

Stephen Hadley, who served as national security adviser under the Obama and Bush administrations, said that the US is not attempting to hold back China's dominance in the East and Southeast Asian region through US allies such as the Philippines and Japan.

"Many Chinese see behind every dispute or challenge from one of its neighbors an American plot to create trouble for China," Hadley said last week in a speech at the World Peace Summit in Beijing. "Like most conspiracy theories, this one has little basis in fact."

Hadley said that the US, despite its influential presence in the region, cannot sway smaller claimant countries over the East China and South China Seas but it has been urging all involved parties to resolve the disputes peacefully.

"China has many neighboring countries and it is only to be expected that disputes will arise with many of them in the ordinary course. It is the way of nations," he said.

Hadley, who serves as chairman of the US Institute of Peace, also denied typical Chinese notions that the US is threatened by China's rise as a global power due Washington's shift of focus to Asia.

The US is also prepared to play "a role on a par" with China on the world stage and has expressed support for China's entry into the World Trade Organization and the expansion of the G-7 to the G-20 to include China, Hadley said.

American investment, moreover, is pouring into China as a sign of confidence.

The US, however, expects China's growing military capabilities to help defend open sea lanes such as the South China Sea, but is hesitant given China's perceived opposing motives.

"This can be of significant benefit to the United States by allowing China to share some of the responsibility that has up until now largely fallen on the U.S. Navy," Hadley said.

"But the United States and China’s neighbors will want to see greater transparency about China’s naval capabilities to give them confidence that sea-lane protection is indeed the purpose of its naval expansion," he added.

The staggering increase in China's military budget and assets in recent years have alarmed the US and its allies in the region seeing its possible intention to drive out US forces in the Pacific.

Hadley said China's naval expansion "will give rise to great suspicion and concern not only among the American people" but among Southeast Asian nations.

"[China's neighbors[ are reassured by US naval presence," Hadley said.

Related: US exec cites Philippine-Indonesia pact as guide for China | Ex-US admiral: 'Equally forceful' Philippines needed in sea row

BEIJING BUT THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA CHINA EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIAN EAST CHINA AND SOUTH CHINA SEAS HADLEY INSTITUTE OF PEACE MANY CHINESE OBAMA AND BUSH UNITED STATES
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