Beijing: Former Chinese ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai has claimed that the Western countries are treating the South Pacific like their “backyard” but Beijing sees these island nations as equals.
“Maybe countries like Australia see these countries as (being their) own backyard, like the United States sees Latin America as its backyard according to the Monroe Doctrine,” Cui said in an interview with CNN.
The envoy insisted that China was taking a modern approach in its relationship with its neighbours and even offering to help in “whatever way” it can.
However, the mindset of the Western countries was stuck in the past, he added.
According to CNN, China’s growing influence in the South Pacific has unsettled Washington, which sees the islands as a strategic link between the US territory of Guam and Australia and fears Beijing is becoming more aggressive in pursuing its agenda in the region while seeking to gain a military foothold.
The former ambassador said, “”I don’t think that this is (how countries) should work with each other in the 21st century — it is a part of the past.
“We want to do whatever we can to help a number of ongoing social and development projects between China and the Pacific island countries.China never sees these countries — or any other country — as part of our so-called ‘pantheon’.
“We see them as equal countries, because we (think) countries large or small, rich or poor, strong or weak, should be treated as equals. This is our principle.
He further said that the principle also applied to the South China Sea and “strongly advised my American friends, or maybe some of the Europeans, don’t try to intervene. The more outside countries try to intervene, the more difficult the issue will become.”