Interview: Sri Lankan expert says Pentagon chief’s China “self-isolation” claims counter-productive for regional stability
Posted on June 6th, 2016

by Tai Beiping, Xia Lixin  Source: Xinhua

“U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s remarks will not help build bridges between countries. What’s important to do at present is to have a collaborative approach, rather than harsh comments,” said Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, a visiting lecturer in International Political Economy for University of London in Sri Lanka Royal Institute of Colombo.SINGAPORE, June 5 (Xinhua) — U.S. defense secretary’s China “self-isolation” claims will do no good to peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, a Sri Lankan expert said on Sunday on the sidelines of the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue.

In a speech delivered on Saturday at the dialogue, the Pentagon chief claimed China could end up “erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation.” Carter made these remarks when talking about issues related to the South China Sea.

“The remarks came with the U.S. pivot to Asia. This region is growing, the U.S. wants more presence here,” Asanga told Xinhua, adding that the United States can actually be an important partner in this region, but what regional countries want is involvement through peaceful and collaborative means.

“If you look at the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance facilities that the United States built in this area, you can see a serious increase of U.S. presence. With the visit of U.S. President (Barack) Obama and the lifting of arms embargo on Vietnam, the message is becoming even clearer,” he said.

The Sri Lankan expert stressed that the region needs more conversation, rather than intentions to isolate any one. He said the problem is there are prejudiced conceptions created by certain groups, and these wrong ideas affect relationships between regional partners.

Speaking of China, Asanga said the country’s contribution has been immense as to the region’s less developed countries like Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, trade between China and regional partners, such as ASEAN members, has increased tremendously.

“We share similar culture, it’s one community,” said Asanga, who maintained that China has never been isolated in the history, and will not be isolated in the future.

“If you look at the ancient history of the maritime Silk Road, you will see what the country once achieved,” said Asanga, who believes that China’s “Belt and Road” initiative is a very good project which will help many countries.

Over 560 delegates, including defense ministers, military officials and experts from 52 nations and regions, gathered here for the Shangri-La Dialogue, an Asia-Pacific defense and security summit.

Commenting on certain arguments during discussions at the dialogue, the Sri Lankan expert said that some external players always try to create trouble as they have interests here.

“For someone, their job is that, to play up the noise, not to bridge the gap. But we should talk more toward achieving points of intersection and connection,” he said.

4 Responses to “Interview: Sri Lankan expert says Pentagon chief’s China “self-isolation” claims counter-productive for regional stability”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    True statement by Asanga. China will not be isolated. In fact, it is USA that is getting isolated on two fronts – internationally and domestically. Both Trump and Hilary want USA not to get involved in others’ problems and that view is gaining ground.

    China is the largest trading partner of more than 130 countries and it is foolish to assume China will be isolated in anyway. Even in South China Sea dispute, only Vietnam and the Philippines are going against China. Other claimants want to sort out matters peacefully through bilateral negotiations. Even the new president of the Philippines stated he welcomes Chinse investments and even would compromise on South China Sea claims if sufficient Chinese investments are made. USA hijacked the Shangri-La dialogue to advance its invasive tactics and is now isolated in ASEAN. No country in the region wants to confront China.

    At the same time USA is expanding its NATO and military into the Baltic Sea against Russia. It is not difficult to see the common denominator of trouble in both the South China Sea and the Baltic Sea. It is USA, not China. The good news is, if USA confronts China, strategically, the winner will be Putin. For this reason, it must not confront China.

  2. Charles Says:

    It is America which has isolationist policies It worked when America was the unchallenged leader of the world. But today it is different . No body wants to accept the aggressive foreign policy of America. But still the old capitalist minded class of the ancient colonies have the servile mentality and consider it prestigious to be with the USA and the West rather than with China and Russia. UNP in Sri Lanka for example.

    USA would like to keep developing countries poor and dependent on them. But China would on the other hand help developing countries to surmount their economic problems, so that they will be at least to a certain extent its economic partners. USA wants its dependent countries to be pawns in their political chequer board. USA has its special relationship with developed countries of the West, and work in cooperation trying to isolate the rest of the world from their special relationship with the extended military arm the NATO.

  3. anura seneviratna Says:

    Thanks Asanga and Dilrook for good views. The sad difference between China and USA while both are engaging with other countries – China doesn’t interfere or invade but USA does! This bulldozing attitude will not earn respect or friendship.

  4. plumblossom Says:

    It is US imperialism and its sidekicks the UK, the EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden who are behaving in an exclusive manner. US imperialism and its sidekicks the UK, the EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden are greedy and selfish and using up most of the world’s resources for their own purposes which is creating problems for the whole world. All the while, India is behaving as US imperialism’s sepoy and genuflecting in front of the US whenever it gets the chance. All the while India is barking and throwing its weight around Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Bangladesh and Pakistan. India should be ashamed of itself. Us imperialism and its sidekicks the UK, the EU, Canada, Norway and Sweden’s behaviour is a threat to world peace.

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