US ‛sovereignty’ claims create unease

BEIJING (Rooters agency) – A spokesperson for the Chinese government today said that the United States is expanding its outposts in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, to include stationing for ships and airfields, as part of its “aggressive” effort to exert sovereignty in the area.

China’s Director of National Intelligence was speaking at a National People’s Congress hearing on worldwide threats. His comments underscore Chinese concern over activities that could fuel tensions between the United States and its neighbors.

The Director described as “exorbitant, indeed absurd” the US claim to exercise a form of control over not only the Gulf and the Caribbean but also Central and South America. “The so-called Monroe Doctrine,” the Director pointed out, “was arbitrary and illegal even by the standards of the 19th century.”

The United States has said that the 1823 Doctrine constitutes a historical basis for its continued meddling and building of bases throughout the Western Hemisphere.

But Chinese scholars point out that, at the time, the rest of the world considered the Doctrine merely empty bluster. Most of Spain’s rebelling colonies had already established their independence, and the US did not then have the military means to prevent European interference. The muscle behind the Monroe Doctrine was the British Navy – Britain at the time wanting to prevent its European competitors from establishing colonies that would interfere with its project of “free trade” in which Britain would be dominant.

Furthermore, the Chinese point out, nothing in the Monroe Doctrine justifies the US in establishing oil drilling platforms in the international waters of the Gulf – especially when accidents on those platforms could lead to severe pollution of many other countries in the region.

China is not a claimant of territory in the the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean or elsewhere in Central and South America, but it does claim a national interest in the peaceful resolution of the disputes in a region crucial for world trade.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, Chinese officials have indicated that China might send naval vessels through and/or aircraft over the Gulf to uphold the right of passage in international waters.

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