On July 27, 2011, Xinhua republished an article from China Radio International that accused the Philippines and Vietnam of taking action at the recent 44th ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali, Indonesia to try to unite the ASEAN countries to form a “united front” against China on the South Sea conflict. The article quoted [Chinese] experts on international affairs who stated that uniting the ASEAN countries to force China to back off on the South Sea issue is an unrealistic proposition. Their purpose is to turn the South Sea conflict into an international “free lunch” so as to benefit both politically and economically at the expense of China’s interest.
The article also named India and Japan for getting into the conflict even though they have nothing to do with the South Sea. Finally, the article pointed out that the U.S. interfered in the conflict at a low cost to itself. [Chinese] experts believe that the U.S. is merely trying to stir up the waters. … The South Sea is only a low cost bargaining chip used to contain China. … “The South Sea is the weakest point in China-ASEAN relations.” The U.S. utilized the weak point to weaken China-ASEAN relations and has now “achieved its goal.”
Source: Xinhua,July 27, 2011