Stop crying wolf about China

Regarding Michael Richardson’s June 6 article, “China’s troubling core interests“: Richardson is again beating the “China threat” drum as if repeating this theme over and over will somehow convince others of its verity.

Richardson conflates some “ifs” and “maybes” and then “reaches” to imply that China is claiming the entire South China and East China seas as its “sovereign territory”- and thus as a “core interest.” In Richardson’s opinion, this makes China’s maritime claims something that China would — by definition — go to war over. As I suspect Richardson knows, a sovereignty claim to islands — “land” — is legally and politically quite different from a sovereignty claim to resources and very different from a sovereignty claim to maritime space.

Of course, China’s sovereignty claim to islands is a “core interest,” as is any country’s claim to sovereign territory, but a claim to historic rights to resources in the South China Sea and allegedly to maritime space are something markedly different.

Richardson needs to take a deep breath, stop demonizing China and, above all, stop crying wolf about China and its maritime claims. The situation calls for clear, levelheaded thinking — not drumbeating and exaggeration.

mark j. valencia
kaneohe, hawaii

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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