An influential US Republican lawmaker says America must respond more aggressively to China’s territorial claims in East Asia.
On Thursday, Representative Mike Rogers warned against China’s territorial claims, accusing Beijing of “gluttonous, naked aggression” in its attempt to control territory and resources in the South China Sea.
The Republican from Michigan said it was time to be less “deferential” to Chinese officials and be more direct and aggressive in US diplomacy.
Rogers warned that a failure to respond more aggressively to China’s territorial claims would bring “death by a thousand cuts,” referring to a form of torture and execution used in China until it was banned in 1905.
“We need to be more direct; we need to be more aggressive,” he told a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington based think tank.
“We need to empower our friends and our allies in the region to be more direct and more aggressive,” he added in comments reflecting Republican frustration with Democratic President Barack Obama’s cautious approach to China.
“It’s really death by a thousand cuts… when you start adding the totality of it and looking at those brewing clouds of conflict, this is as serious as it gets,” Rogers said.
His comments came as the US and China concluded the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue, now in its fifth year, which ended on Thursday in Beijing, with little immediate sign of progress on Asian maritime issues or the thorny issue of cyber-spying.
During the latest meeting, US urged China to adhere to stricter rules governing territorial claims in Asia’s contested, resource-rich seas. China, however, which says it has a historical right to most of the South China Sea, signaled that its position hasn’t changed and urged the US not to take sides.
Rogers called for the US to increase intelligence sharing and military cooperation with other nations in the region to push back against China and show that it is not the sole and dominant power.
The United States has repeatedly called on China to “refrain from provocative actions” in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
Beijing claims the South China Sea in its entirety, while other countries including the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam also have claims to the area and are in dispute with China.
In addition, China and Japan have long been locked in a dispute for more than a decade over the sovereignty of uninhabited islands in the South China Sea, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China, which are believed to have vast natural resources.
Although Washington has repeatedly said it would take no side on sovereignty of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, it officially recognizes Japan’s administration of the islands and feels responsible to protect Japan’s territory under a defense deal signed between the two countries.
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