No-one can contain China, scholar says amid territory rows

BEIJING (AFP) - No-one can contain China's rise, a leading Beijing foreign policy thinker said on Tuesday, warning Manila and Tokyo that they had been mistakenly emboldened by Washington in territorial disputes with his country.

China is embroiled in a bitter row with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea, and also claims almost the whole of the South China Sea, where it has engaged in standoffs with Philippine forces.

At the same time, the Obama administration is engaged in a "pivot" to Asia.

But Mr Ruan Zongze, vice president and senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, said: "No one in this world will try to contain China and no one in this world is capable of containing China.

"Since the United States has adopted this new strategy of returning to the Asia-Pacific region, some countries have made the wrong judgement that the US will encourage them to challenge the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China," he added.

"This is a misjudgement on their part."

Mr Ruan, who has served as a diplomat in the United States and Britain, was speaking at an event organised by the All-China Journalists' Association, a state organisation.

The US has defence treaties with both Japan and the Philippines, and Mr Ruan blamed Washington for emboldening them.

It had sold weaponry to the Philippines following tensions between Beijing and Manila over a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, he said.

"This has intentionally or unintentionally boosted the confidence of the Philippines to challenge China."

Regarding the East China Sea dispute, Mr Ruan said: "The United States is very clearly aware that it is responsible for this conflict between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Island issue."

Mr Ruan used the Chinese name for the islands. Japan, which administers the chain, calls them Senkaku.

The US and China are the world's top two economies and militaries, and their respective presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping held their first summit in California in June, seeking to establish a personal rapport as they manage relations.

The best scenario was for the two countries to "enhance mutual understanding" and "accommodate... each other's core interests", Mr Ruan said.

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