Beijing: The US encourages Asian countries to rally against China, cautioned a Chinese daily and added: "As the major target of US smart power, China has to be on guard."
Global Times said in an editorial Wednesday: "The US economy has been struggling in the past few years. Yet, the concept of `smart power` promoted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been playing an active role in its foreign relations, creating tangible heat, especially in Asia."
It said that in the years after the end of the Cold War, "the US could police the world simply with its `hard power`, as was shown by its war in Iraq and its involvement in Yugoslavia. Yet the US has been faced with increasing difficulty in pushing forward with its tough policies around the world".
Stressing that Clinton has a complicated interpretation of the "smart power" theory, it said: "US foreign policy basically encourages disagreements among Asian countries, especially by rallying Asian countries against China. The US then collects the fruit."
Noting it was "sad that a couple of smart power tricks are shaking the vulnerable stability in the Western Pacific", the editorial said: "The fact that a few words by Clinton could have such an impact in this region indicates that many countries in Asia are more or less under the influence of the US."
It asked Asians "to be clear on what they want".
"If the goal is peace and prosperity in this region, can the counterbalance provided by the smart power of the US really lead to that? How many resources will be wasted keeping this `balance of power`? And how sure are these countries that they can keep the situation from escalating?"
It said the US had been trying to apply its smart power on China for some time.
"As the major target of US smart power, China has to be on guard. It will not only watch to prevent the US from messing up Asia but also prevent the US from sticking its (nose) into China (affairs)."