A Belligerent China cornered and encircled!

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by ajtr, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    A Sino-centric Asia unlikely

    How Asia's geopolitical landscape will evolve over the next couple of decades is not easy to foresee. But it is apparent that an increasingly assertive China is unwittingly reinforcing America's role in Asia as the implicit guarantor of security and stability.

    There are at least four possible Asian security scenarios. The first is the rise of a Sino-centric Asia, as desired by Beijing. China seeks a multipolar world but a unipolar Asia. By contrast, the United States desires a unipolar world but a multipolar Asia. A second scenario is of the U.S. remaining Asia's principal security anchor. A third possibility is the emergence of a constellation of Asian states with common interests working together to ensure both power equilibrium and an Asia that is not unipolar. A fourth scenario is of an Asia characterized by several resurgent powers, including Japan, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and a reunified Korea.

    Of the four scenarios, the least unlikely is the first one. China's neighbors increasingly are uneasy about its growing power and assertiveness. While Beijing aspires to shape a Sino-centric Asia, its actions hardly make it a credible candidate for Asian leadership.

    Brute power cannot buy leadership. After all, leadership can come not from untrammeled power, but from other states' consent or tacit acceptance. If leadership could be built on brute force, schoolyard bullies would be class presidents.

    In any event, China's power may be vast and rapidly growing, yet it lacks the power of compulsion. In other words, China does not have the capability to militarily rout or compel any rival, let alone enforce its will on Asia.

    As China seeks to translate its economic clout into major geopolitical advantage in Asia, a nation that once boasted of "having friends everywhere" finds that its accumulating power might inspire awe, but its actions are spurring new concerns and fears. Which states will accept China as Asia's leader? Six decades of ruthless repression has failed to win China acceptance even in Tibet and Xinjiang, as the Tibetan and Uighur revolts of 2008 and 2009 attested.

    Leadership involves much more than the possession of enormous economic and military power. It demands the power of ideas that can galvanize others. Such power also serves as the moral veneer to the assertiveness often involved in the pursuit of any particular cause.

    The Cold War, for example, was won by the U.S. and its allies not so much by military means as by spreading the ideas of political freedom and market capitalism to other regions that, in the words of strategic thinker Stanley A. Weiss, "helped suck the lifeblood out of communism's global appeal," making it incapable of meeting the widespread yearning for a better and more-open life.

    China has shown itself good at assertive promotion of national interests and in playing classical balance-of-power geopolitics. But to assume the mantle of leadership in Asia by displacing the U.S., it must do more than just pursue its own interests or contain potential peer rivals. The overly assertive policies and actions of a next-door rising power make Asian states look to a distant protector. With its defense spending having grown almost twice as fast as its GDP, China is now beginning to take the gloves off, confident that it has acquired the necessary muscle.

    This has been exemplified by several developments — from China's inclusion of the South China Sea in its "core" national interests on a par with Taiwan and Tibet to its efforts to present the Yellow Sea as its virtually exclusive military-operation zone. Add to the picture large-scale naval exercises in recent months first off Japan's Ryukyu Islands, then in the South China Sea and most recently in the Yellow Sea.

    China also has increasingly questioned India's sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh, the northeastern Indian state that Beijing calls "Southern Tibet" and claims largely as its own. Indian defense officials have reported a rising number of Chinese military incursions across the 4,057-km Himalayan border.

    Through its actions, China indeed has proven a diplomatic boon for Washington in strengthening and expanding U.S. security arrangements in Asia. South Korea has tightened its military alliance with the U.S., Japan has backing away from an effort to get the U.S. to move its marine air base out of Okinawa, and India, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, among others, have drawn closer to the U.S.

    In terms of power-projection force capabilities or the range of military bases and security allies in Asia, no power or combination of powers is likely to match the U.S. in the next quarter of a century. While America's continued central role in Asia is safe, the long-term viability of its security arrangements boils down to one word: Credibility. The credibility of America's security assurances to allies and partners, and its readiness to stand by them when it comes to the crunch, will determine the strength and size of its security-alliance system in Asia in the years ahead. The third and fourth scenarios can unfold even if the U.S. remains the principal security anchor for Asia. A number of Asian countries have already started building mutually beneficial security cooperation on a bilateral basis, thereby laying the groundwork for a potential web of interlocking strategic partnerships.

    A combination of the second and third scenarios is a plausible prospect, but it demands forward-looking policies in Washington, Tokyo, New Delhi, Seoul, Hanoi, Jakarta, Canberra and elsewhere. A constellation of Asian states linked by strategic cooperation and with close ties to the U.S. has become critical to help institute power stability in Asia. America's continued role as a credible guarantor of Asian security, however, is a function not of its military strength but political will in Washington.
  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    The Risks of Isolating China

    China's decision to escalate tensions with Japan by blocking the export of rare earth minerals necessary for high-tech devices is probably meant as a veiled threat that that it would consider doing the same to the U.S., Japan's greatest protector against regional Chinese dominance. China has unintentionally played right into the long-term U.S. strategy of unifying the rest of East Asia against China and under the umbrella of American security and leadership. As I wrote earlier today, this plan would cement U.S. influence in East Asia and prevent China, which is expected to eventually become the world's other superpower, from dominating even its own backyard. However, China's retaliatory mineral ban, an irrational and aggressive act that will harm Japan and the U.S. without helping China, shows that isolating China carries some very real risk.

    Isolation is self-reinforcing. An isolated state, as we've seen with North Korea and Iran, is less concerned with political or economic inter-reliance and thus has less incentive to consider how its actions will effect other states. Isolated states also have fewer peaceful avenues of diplomatic give-and-take. All of this leads a country like Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, or, increasingly, China to behave more aggressively and to lash out at the global community keeping it down. This in turn makes the isolation more severe.

    China's inter-reliance with the outside world is a big part of what has made its ongoing rise so peaceful. With such deep economic ties to the U.S. and the rest of East Asia, Chinese leaders have shown more deference and better behavior than it would have otherwise. One of the reasons that a regional war with China is so unlikely is that all parties involved just to have too much at stake in maintaining good economic ties. It's also kept U.S.-Sino competition in check, as both states have a vested interest in keeping one another prosperous.

    The U.S. strategy of containing China with the help of Pacific rim states has so far been successful, and China's lashing out has only further driven East Asia into American arms. But we risk over-doing it. If the U.S. and its East Asian allies contain China beyond what the country's leadership is willing to tolerate, we will drive China into a self-reinforcing cycle of isolating behavior. The U.S. doesn't want China to be too powerful, but it also needs China to be a happy and productive member of the global community and not an isolated pariah. As this potentially damaging mineral block reminds us, China is far too big and powerful to simply cordon off as the world has done to, say, North Korea. In addition to its vast economic importance, China also possesses veto power on the United Nations Security Council. It showed its willingness to be a responsible global player when it joined in supporting sanctions against Iran.

    This doesn't mean that the Obama administration's plan to position East Asian politics as China vs the U.S. and everyone else is a bad one. But building too high a wall around China reduces cooperation, undermining regional stability and risking whatever good we have been able to accomplish. We can contain China and limit its rise without cutting off its regional and global ties. But if we treat China like a pariah, that's precisely what it will become.
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Aquino: Asean united vs China on territorial dispute

    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 01:29:00 09/25/2010

    Filed Under: Foreign affairs & international relations, Diplomacy, Conflicts (general)
    NEW YORK—President Benigno Aquino said on Thursday that a group of Southeast Asian nations would be unified should China use its weight as regional superpower in territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

    Mr. Aquino, speaking a day ahead of a meeting of President Barack Obama and leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) that will focus on territorial spats with China, said Beijing had so far not tried to “push us around.”

    But, he said after a speech on the sidelines of a United Nations global summit, “in case that happens, I think Asean has demonstrated that we will stand as a bloc.”

    In a reference to China, he said: “Hopefully we don’t hear the phrase ‘South China Sea’ with reference to it being their sea.”

    Speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Aquino expressed support for the US position that the South China Sea territorial dispute should be resolved peacefully.

    “The Philippines welcomes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement that while the US takes no sides on the disputes in the South China Sea, the claimant states should resolve their disputes through a ‘collaborative diplomatic process’ and in accordance with international law,” Mr. Aquino said.

    “The Philippines and the US share the need to maintain unimpeded maritime commerce and navigation,” he said.

    China claims all of the South China Sea, where Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines have also laid territorial claims. Aside from rich fishing areas, the region is believed to have huge oil and natural gas deposits.

    Mr. Aquino took pride in the Philippines’ role in the revival in May of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    “As President of that [nuclear conference], the Philippines helped... garner consensus towards a comprehensive approach to nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” Mr. Aquino said. AP, with a report from Norman Bordadora
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Indonesia Rejects China Stance That U.S. Stay Out of Local Waters Dispute

    Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa rejected China’s stance that the U.S. stay out of territorial disputes in the South China Sea ahead of a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders with President Barack Obama.

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is aware of China’s position “but at the same time the issues on the South China Sea need resolution,” Natalegawa said in an interview today with Bloomberg Television. “Indonesia, through Asean, is keen to ensure we have conditions conducive for negotiations to take place” so disagreements “can be resolved through peaceful means.”

    China yesterday signaled for the U.S. to stay out of the spat over territorial waters, portions of which are claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

    The U.S. has asserted a role in the sea vital to world trade to push back against Chinese assertiveness in the region. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the matter “a leading diplomatic priority” at an Asean meeting in Hanoi two months ago. That drew a reaction from China, which prefers to negotiate with claimants on a one-to-one basis.

    The dispute comes as China and Japan are locked in a diplomatic row centering on conflicting territorial claims in the same waters. That conflict “reminds all of us that we cannot take for granted the relatively benign atmosphere we’ve had for many decades now in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Natalegawa, who is in New York to attend United Nations meetings.

    Talks Stalled

    Talks between Asean and China on a code of conduct in the sea have stalled since they agreed in 2002 to resolve disagreements peacefully. In a July filing to the UN, Indonesia said China’s claim to the entire sea “clearly lacks international legal basis.”

    Obama has sought to boost security and trade ties with Asean, the fourth-biggest export market for the U.S. His meeting with Asean leaders in Singapore last year was the first- ever a U.S. president has held with the bloc.

    This week’s meeting “is a good symbol that the group is a priority for the Obama administration,” said Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. “There are, however, questions about the substance of the summit, especially given the domestic priorities for the U.S. President.”

    Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will not attend Asean’s meeting with Obama. The U.S. president has postponed a planned trip to his childhood home three times this year, most recently in June because of the Gulf oil spill.

    Vision, Partnership

    “The fact that certain visits have yet to take place I don’t think is impairing our vision of partnership in the future,” Natalegawa said. “I’m very optimistic that we’re heading into even deeper and wider relations.”

    Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country, and its 231 million people make up about 40 percent of Asean’s population. In July, the U.S. resumed ties with Indonesia’s special forces that were cut 12 years ago because of human rights concerns.
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Apr 17, 2009
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    China worked real hard to build a 'friendly' image of herself amongst many nations of Asia and Africa, as also the Middle East to the strategic discomfort of the US.

    Apparently, China was in a hurry to establish herself in the comity of Nations as per her perceptions that it was mandate to herself and why not?

    China, after all, was a fast growing economy that was ready to swamp the world, its military was acquiring 'teeth' rapidly. She established herself in outer space, quelled rebellions with a heavy hand that ensured that these were short lived and showcased an Olympic that was spectacular, apart from becoming the best nation in sports and athletics.

    These achievements surely would make any citizen proud. It also made overseas Chinese origin people proud, even if they did not appreciate the CCP and correctly so.

    However, a nation condemned, ridiculed, humiliated cajoled and ignored so long, when it comes into the global arena and is recognised, all through their own effort, it does add a bit of swagger and Déjà vu, apart from a cavalier attitude.

    Therefore, China is asserting itself as a rightful owner of what its surveys and where it surveys, as per her perceptions. This is treading on corns in the neighbourhood, more so, when it has seen the questionable hegemonic conquest of Tibet. Aksai Chin, attempts to usurp territories of Vietnam, carrying out the illegal activities in Paracel and Spratley and now the spat with Japan, which is backed by the US!

    These aggressive intent has indicated the doublespeak of China and that has set the cat amongst the pigeons and it has put to nought China's goodwill in Asia. Now, none will believe in China that its intentions are peaceful and equitable.

    They will willingly embrace the US, which has no hegemonic intentions in Asia, excepting protecting her strategic interests, which now coincides with that of the Asian countries.
  7. Agantrope

    Agantrope Senior Member Senior Member

    Nov 1, 2009
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    China unless losses its hegemonic mood, it will be pissed off by all it neighbouring countries except DPRK and their all-weather friend. Assertiveness is different from belligerence. China is showing its belligerence thinking that they are assertive. All because of its idea to make its economic clout as regional power and then pissing competition with the Unkil.

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