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Emperor Has No Clothes: Chinese Media Mocks US Push to Project Itself as Asia Hegemon

© AP Photo / Gray GibsonIn this photo released by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the United Kingdom's carrier strike group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth (R 08), and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces led by (JMSDF) Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) joined with U.S.
In this photo released by the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the United Kingdom's carrier strike group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth (R 08), and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces led by (JMSDF) Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) joined with U.S.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.03.2023
In a television appearance this week, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns assured that America’s position in Asia is “stronger” today “than it was five or ten years ago,” and that Beijing will simply have to accept that Washington “is staying in this region” and is “the leader in this region in many ways.”
Chinese media has brushed off the US ambassador’s “powerless and ridiculous” claims that the US is still the undisputed leader in Asia and that China will just have to deal with it.
“What the US politician said implies two messages,” the Global Times’ wrote in an editorial response to Burns’ “leadership” comments. “First, he seems to criticize China for not understanding US’ presence in the Asia-Pacific. Second, Burns wants Beijing to acknowledge Washington’s leadership in the region. Yet, both are far from the truth.”
The outlet explained that Washington’s “strategic miscalculation” has always been to believe that China would like to push the US out of Asia. The reality, GT suggested, is that China not only recognizes the US presence, but would like to see “peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation” with its neighbor across the Pacific. “What Beijing refuses is to be led by anyone else, including Washington.”
 In this Sept. 16, 2018, file photo, American flags are displayed together with Chinese flags on top of a trishaw in Beijing. China says Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, the United States is trying to “demonize and stigmatize” bilateral its foreign relations, in a scathing attack on the Trump administration's designation of the Confucius Institute U.S. Center as a foreign mission of the Chinese Communist Party. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2023
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“Burns’ words are extremely US-centric, as they come entirely from Washington’s perspective of its regional role while ignoring the actual opinions of other Asia-Pacific nations. Such arrogance aims to satisfy the US’ strategic need for maintaining global hegemony,” the op ed added. “Washington has to understand that most Asia-Pacific countries do not want to be stuck in a Cold War-like confrontation again, nor do they want to see conflicts between major powers. The US’ desire to lead regional affairs and get the recognition of other countries is wishful thinking which is completely at odds with the trend of development in Asia-Pacific.”
Pointing to the undisputed global decline of the US’s national power, and a growing list of domestic problems, GT suggested that Burns’ remarks sounded more like wishful thinking or “self-affirmation” than reality.
Accusing Burns of ‘fueling’ the deterioration of China-US ties throughout his close to one year term as ambassador, the outlet suggested that “as Washington’s megaphone for Beijing,” Burns, and other US politicians like him, “should understand that ‘pride and prejudice’ toward China will only bring more danger and chaos to the region and the world. No matter how harsh they want to sound when talking about China and how assertive when talking about the US, they can never fool other countries by trying to sugarcoat US hegemony as ‘leadership’.”
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Once treated as a third world backwater and source of cheap labor for Western mega corporations, Washington officials’ attitudes toward China have gradually shifted over the past two decades from derision and a sense of superiority to terror as they’ve realized that in many areas, China has already overtaken the United States. China has already surpassed the US to become the world’s largest economy, now has the world’s largest Navy (but hasn't deployed it all across the world), is overtaking the US on innovation, and is on course to overtaking the US in space.
The People’s Republic’s impressive rise has resulted in the US taking a number of steps, including efforts to hem China into its ports by shoring up a network of bilateral military alliances, a technology and trade war with, and, increasingly over-the-top, theatrical warnings from Pentagon commanders about a full-scale hot war with Beijing over Taiwan in the coming months or years.
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