US naval patrols in the South China Sea are unlikely to lead to a conflict there between the US and China, since the relationship between the two countries is historically not an antagonistic one, Chinese international relations expert Victor Gao told Radio Sputnik on Monday.
"I personally hope sanity will prevail in Washington and Beijing, to avoid any dramatic escalation of tensions between China and the US," said Gao, who is Director of the China National Association of International Studies and an Executive Director of Beijing Private Equity Association.
"But there are people, including Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who may be new in their positions, who may not know the full background of China-US relations, who may want to adopt a jingoistic way, a kind of shooting from the hip attitude, trying to apply pressure to China."
Though the Chinese government has fears about the influence of some in Washington who seem keen on provoking China, "the dominant theme of China- US relations is still peace and stability, and cooperation rather than confrontation," explained Gao.
"President Obama is in the last years of his presidency, I don't think anyone in leading positions in Washington want to resort to fantasies, or strange ideas in destabilizing the situation between China and Washington."
"Therefore, I think the United States should act very responsibly rather than inserting itself into this particular region in the world, and whatever the US is doing in terms of sending its naval ships within the 12 miles of a Chinese-controlled isle, or sending an aircraft carrier with their secretary of state on board, is definitely considered by the Chinese government as highly provocative and inflammatory."
"I think the US is either acting in a very misguided way, or their real intention is to inflame the situation so that they will be in a position to derail China's peaceful rights. That's what China is reading, the real meaning of the US' actions."