US secretary of state’s new round of bullying in Beijing [World Socialist Website]

Chinese state media for the most part presented Kerry’s ‘diplomatic’ trip in a naively postive way, to the point of phoniness – Zuo Shou

US secretary of state’s new round of bullying in Beijing
By Peter Symonds
15 February 2014

As part of his tour of Asia, US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday met with Chinese leaders in Beijing in a new round of bullying designed to pressure China to toe the US line in Asia. Having deliberately inflamed dangerous flashpoints such as the Korean Peninsula and stoked territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas, as part of its “pivot” or “rebalance” to Asia, Washington is making provocative new demands on Beijing.

At the top of the list was North [sic] Korea. Speaking to the press after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Kerry declared the China had to use “every tool at their disposal, all of the means of persuasion that they have” to compel North Korea to denuclearise. The US has repeatedly exploited North Korea’s nuclear programs as a means of pressuring Beijing, knowing full well that China is in a bind. It does not want the collapse of its neighbour and ally, but neither does it want a conflict on its border or a nuclear arms race in the region involving Japan.

Kerry’s message to China’s leaders was that they had to take far tougher measures against Pyongyang. Speaking in Seoul on Thursday, he declared: “No country has a greater potential to influence North Korea’s behaviour than China… All of the refined fuel that goes in to move every automobile and every airplane in North Korea comes from China. All of the fundamental rudimentary banking structure that the North has with the world passes through China.”

Kerry is suggesting that China should impose economic measures that could collapse the North Korean regime, with far-reaching ramifications throughout the region. If China is not prepared to haul Pyongyang into line, the US has already demonstrated on more than one occasion that it is willing to push the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war. Last April, the Obama administration responded to North Korea’s bellicose but empty threats over joint US-South Korean military exercises by provocatively flying nuclear-capable B-2 and B-52 bombers into South Korea.

Kerry also stepped up the pressure on China over its maritime disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea with neighbouring states, including US allies the Philippines and Japan. In his comments yesterday in Beijing, staggering for their hypocrisy, Kerry called on China to “establish a calmer, more rule-of-law based, less confrontational regime” in relation to these disputes. He called for differences to be settled according to the international Law of the Sea—an agreement that the US has refused to ratify.

Kerry’s reference is not an accidental one. Previously the US has declared itself “neutral” in the various maritime disputes, insisting that it is only interested in ensuring “freedom of navigation.” Last week, however, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel specifically questioned China’s claims in the South China Sea, saying they lacked any “apparent basis under international law” and were “fundamentally flawed.” The US is aligning itself with the claims of the Philippines and placing itself on a collision course with China…

…Encouraged by Washington, US allies took a far tougher stance in their maritime disputes with China. Philippine President Benigno Aquino, who has functioned as a point man for Washington’s provocations in South East Asia, earlier this month he likened the South China Sea to the disputed Sudetenland prior to the Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938. This implied that China was acting like Nazi Germany. In Manila this week, US navy chief of operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert, did not distance himself from Aquino’s incendiary remarks, but instead declared “of course we will help you” when asked if the US would fight alongside the Philippines in the event of a Chinese attack…

Excerpted, full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/02/15/kerr-f15.html

Also see: “Kerry’s Asian trip and the build-up to war with China” [World Socialist Website] – https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/02/17/pers-f17.html

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