Why China isn't fit to lead Asia

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by ajtr, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Why China isn't fit to lead Asia


    Japan may have created the impression that it buckled under China’s pressure by releasing a Chinese fishing boat captain involved in a collision near islands that both countries claim. But the Japanese action has helped move the spotlight back to China, whose rapidly accumulating power has emboldened it to aggressively assert territorial and maritime claims against neighbours stretching from Japan to India.

    Having earlier preached the gospel of its “peaceful rise,” China is no longer shy about showcasing its military capabilities. While Chinese leaders may gloat over Tokyo’s back-pedalling, the episode – far from shifting the Asian balance of power in Beijing’s favour – has only shown that China is at the centre of Asia’s political divides.

    China’s new stridency in its disputes with its neighbours has helped highlight Asia’s central challenge to come to terms with existing boundaries by getting rid of the baggage of history that weighs down all important interstate relationships. Even as Asia is becoming more interdependent economically, it’s getting more divided politically.

    China has been involved in the largest number of military conflicts in Asia since 1950, the year both the Korean War and the annexation of Tibet began. According to a recent Pentagon report, “China’s leaders have claimed military pre-emption as a strategically defensive act. For example, China refers to its intervention in the Korean War (1950-1953) as the ‘war to resist the United States and aid Korea.’ Similarly, authoritative texts refer to border conflicts against India (1962), the Soviet Union (1969) and Vietnam (1979) as ‘self-defence counterattacks.’ ” All these cases of pre-emption occurred when China was weak, poor and internally torn. So, today, China’s growing power naturally raises legitimate concerns.

    Several developments this year alone underline Beijing’s more muscular foreign policy – from its inclusion of the South China Sea in its “core” national interests, an action that makes its claims to the disputed Spratly Islands non-negotiable, to its reference to the Yellow Sea as an exclusive Chinese military zone where Washington and Seoul, respecting the new Chinese power, should discontinue joint naval exercises.

    China also has become more insistent in pressing its territorial claims to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, with Chinese warships making more frequent forays into Japanese waters, and to India’s northeastern Arunachal Pradesh state, with Indian defence officials reporting a sharp spurt in Chinese incursions across the disputed Himalayan frontier and in aggressive patrolling. Beijing also has started questioning New Delhi’s sovereignty over the state of Jammu and Kashmir, one-fifth of which it occupies.

    Against that background, China’s increasingly assertive territorial and maritime claims threaten Asian peace and stability. In fact, the largest piece of real estate China covets is not in the South or East China Seas but in India: Arunachal Pradesh is almost three times larger than Taiwan.

    Respect for boundaries is a prerequisite to peace and stability on any continent. Europe has built its peace on that principle, with a number of European states learning to live with borders they don’t like. But the Chinese Communist Party still harps on old grievances to reinforce its claim to legitimacy and monopolize power – that only it can fully restore China’s “dignity” after a century of humiliation at the hands of foreign powers.

    And through its refusal to accept the territorial status quo, Beijing highlights the futility of political negotiations. Whether it’s Arunachal Pradesh or Taiwan or the Senkaku Islands or even the Spratlys, China is dangling the threat of force to assert its claims. In doing so, it’s helping to reinforce the spectre of a threatening China. By picking territorial fights with its neighbours, Beijing is also threatening Asia’s economic renaissance. More important, China is showing that it isn’t a credible candidate to lead Asia.

    It’s important for other Asian states and the U.S. – a “resident power” in Asia, in the words of Defence Secretary Robert Gates – to convey a clear message to Beijing: After six long decades, China’s redrawing of frontiers must end.

    Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, is the author of Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan.
  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    China's 'frown diplomacy' in Southeast Asia

    By Donald K Emmerson

    "Smart Power, Chinese Style" is the title of a 2008 article by a renowned Singaporean analyst of global affairs, Kishore Mahbubani. In his essay, [1] Kishore praised China for the "competence" of its diplomacy. He contrasted China's "deft geopolitical instincts" with American "incompetence" and "arrogance." He noted admiringly Beijing's fealty to ancient principles of Chinese statecraft once summarized by Deng Xiaoping, including admonitions to observe and analyze calmly, deal with changes patiently, and avoid the limelight. Keeping a low profile was especially significant for Kishore since it explained "much of China's recent behavior in international fora."

    Unlike the self-absorbed Americans, in Kishore's view, the Chinese had "developed a remarkable capacity to understand the voices of others around the globe." Compared with Washington's

    record of "geopolitical fumbles" abroad, China had evinced superior "geopolitical acumen and better professional diplomacy." He illustrated China's ostensible respect for the sovereignty of other countries with an item in the official China Daily stating that China had offered "no-strings-attached" aid to Africa.

    2008 was then; 2010 is now. The sheer muscularity of recent Chinese diplomacy in East Asia has made Kishore's assessment seem, in retrospect, wishfully Sinophilic. The "smile diplomacy" in Southeast Asia that China watchers used to describe has been reversed by Beijing - into a frown. In the eyes of more than a few East Asian foreign-policymakers, China has come close to deleting the first letter in the "charm offensive" that Joshua Kurlantzick surveyed in his 2007 book by that name. [2]

    I heard variations on this critique over the course of three weeks in September 2010 spent traveling in East Asia. Japanese concern focused on Beijing's hardball response to Tokyo's detention of the Chinese fishing boat captain arrested in a confrontation over who owns the Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands. Many of the Southeast Asians I met were upset by China's behavior before, during, and after the July 2010 meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi. My subject here is the second of these irritants. [3]

    China sticks out its tongue
    On a Chinese map a line nine dashes long snakes southward, hugging the Philippine coast before turning west past Malaysian Sabah, independent Brunei, and Malaysian Sarawak. The line bottoms out near Indonesia's Great Natuna island before turning northward along the coast of Vietnam and finally coming to an end near the Chinese island of Hainan. Thus has Beijing drawn the giant lapping tongue that demarcates its apparent claim to virtually the entire surface of, and the seabed and subsoil beneath, the South China Sea. [4] Among the competing claims made by Southeast Asian states, Vietnam's is comparably sweeping, while those advanced by Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines are more restricted in scope.

    On my recent trip I heard a Chinese colleague downplay the tension associated with rivalries of this sort. He said it was normal for them to wax and wane. In the South China Sea since 2007, however, they have mostly waxed. Unilateral actions, some by Hanoi but most by Beijing, including a Chinese ban on fishing in "its" waters, have triggered a sequence of maritime confrontations between the two countries.

    Alarm bells rang still louder in March 2010 when Chinese officials were reported to have told senior figures in the US State Department that possession of the South China Sea was a "core interest" of Beijing, as if that claim were no less absolute and no more negotiable than Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan or Tibet. In a conversation with me in September an expert on South China Sea issues wondered if this escalation might not have started out as a casual remark that higher-ups in China then felt they could not disown. Whatever the accuracy of that speculation, [5] Beijing now has the ability to raise or to lower regional anxiety by choosing whether or not, in future statements, to reiterate the supposedly "core" status of its proprietary interest in the Sea.

    Having so prominently stuck out its maritime tongue at Southeast Asia, China knew that it might face a backlash in July 2010 when the ASEAN Regional Forum was scheduled to meet in Hanoi. Instead of moderating its position, however, Beijing reportedly contacted all of ASEAN's member governments and strongly urged them not to broach the subject of the South China Sea in Hanoi. I was unable to confirm this allegation with a Chinese source, but I heard it from enough Southeast Asian sources to be confident that Beijing did try to censor the event in advance.

    The effort failed. At the meeting of the Forum in Hanoi on 23 July, nearly half - 12 - of the heads of the 27 delegations present mentioned the South China Sea. Those who spoke up included several Southeast Asian foreign ministers and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The delegates met behind closed doors. I have not seen a transcript of what was said. But the remarks made by Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi in particular were still very much on the minds of the Southeast Asians I met on my travels nearly two months later.

    There can be no doubt, based on accounts by individuals who were in the room, that Yang was angry. Clinton was the foremost target of his wrath, but the foreign minister lashed out as well at the Southeast Asians who had been so bold as to mention the South China Sea. He reminded his ASEAN counterparts of their countries' economic ties to China, as if those links could be broken at any time. He reminded his Southeast Asian listeners that, compared to the sizes of their countries, China was bigger. My informants took his remarks to be a clear warning not to challenge Beijing.

    Hillary in Hanoi
    At a "press availability" afterwards, Secretary Clinton made no mention of Yang's outburst. Instead she said that "like every nation," the US too had "a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia's maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea." (Analysts seeking signs of a new Sino-American cold war were free to construe her reference to a US "national interest" in accessing the Sea as a riposte to China's apparent "core interest" in possessing it.)

    While noting that the US "does not take sides" in the "territorial disputes over land features in the South China Sea" - the emphasis is mine - Clinton described the US position as:

    (1) opposed to "the use or threat of force by any claimant";

    (2) favoring a collaborative process for resolving these disputes in accord with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (despite, I would add, the failure of the US to ratify it, an omission she said her administration hoped to correct);

    (3) supporting the "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" (DOC) that China and the ASEAN states co-signed in 2002, encouraging the parties to agree on "a full [i.e., binding] code of conduct," and offering to "facilitate initiatives and confidence building measures" consistent with the Declaration; and

    (4) believing that, "consistent with customary international law, legitimate claims to maritime space in the South China Sea should be derived solely from legitimate claims to land features"(with the emphasis, again, my own). [6]

    It is tempting to dismiss Yang's outburst as much ado about nothing. Clinton did not, after all, explicitly oppose China's claim. Nor did she back any rival claim. Yet arguably each of her four points, if not actually aimed at Beijing, could be said to challenge the Chinese position insofar as it can be ascertained. The opacity of China's stand on the Sea, which Beijing has not clearly or consistently explained, makes it hard to know just what would constitute a challenge in this context.

    Reviewing Clinton's four points in the light of China's behavior, one could conclude that, on the first score, Beijing has already used force - against Vietnamese fisherman, for example. As for observing the Law of the Sea, although China did sign on, its endorsement was conditioned with reservations that - in the published view of analyst Marvin Ott and the unpublished opinions of several of my informants - make that ratification "almost meaningless." [7]

    Clinton's third point, in support of the DOC, could be taken as criticism of China's unwillingness to upgrade the Declaration into a binding code of conduct. Last but not least, Clinton's case for deriving legitimate claims to sea space "solely from legitimate claims to land features" seems to contradict the sheer amplitude of Beijing's nine-dash tongue, encompassing as it almost does the entire South China Sea.But China is not the sole claimant. So are Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam, not to mention the special case of Indonesia and the space adjacent to its Natuna and Anambas island chains at the far southwestern end of the Sea. It would be wrong to blame China alone for a legal limbo that owes much to the unwillingness of the implicated ASEAN states to sort out their differences among themselves. On my trip when I asked Southeast Asian informants why they couldn't settle their own disagreements first, before approaching Beijing, they assured me that such an outcome, however desirable, was impossible. So long as that remains the case, one ought not rush to a wholly anti-Chinese judgment.

    Who said what
    Now fast-forward two months, from July 23 in Hanoi to September

    24 in Manhattan at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, site of the Second US-ASEAN Leaders Meeting. Alerted by Yang's outburst in Hanoi, ASEAN-watchers looked to New York. They were eager to learn what, if anything, Obama and his counterparts at the Waldorf - nine heads of government plus Indonesia's vice-president and Myanmar's foreign minister - could agree to say about the South China Sea.

    In their Joint Statement, the US and ASEAN leaders were on the same page. But its text did not quite match the White House's summary recollection.

    In their Statement the leaders reaffirmed the importance of "regional peace and stability, maritime security, unimpeded commerce, and freedom of navigation" in keeping with international law and the Law of the Sea - "and the peaceful settlement of disputes." [8] But the reference to non-violence looked as if it had been tacked on, as if the drafters had debated the extent to which the phrase could be read as targeting Beijing.

    In contrast, the "Read-out" offered by the White House following the meeting said the leaders had agreed on the importance of the "peaceful resolution of disputes, freedom of navigation, regional stability, and respect for international law, including in the South China Sea [emphasis mine]." [9]

    It was surely not lost on Chinese observers that whereas the White House had put peaceful dispute-settlement first, as if to remind Beijing to calm down and play by the rules, the leaders had put it last, as if not to annoy Beijing. Still more telling, of course, was the mention of the Sea in the Read-out but not in the Joint Statement.

    If it is true that the Chinese heavily lobbied the Southeast Asians to keep the Statement Sea-free, they must have been pleased at the result. But Beijing may also have opposed any reference in the Statement to "maritime security, unimpeded commerce, and freedom of navigation." If so, on that second front, they lost.

    Sino-ASEAN relations are not a zero-sum game. Neither are Sino-US affairs. One side's views of the other have not - not yet - congealed. Southeast Asian leaders diverge both among themselves and from their American colleagues in how they look at China.

    Across the governments of ASEAN a spectrum of attitudes runs from those most willing to give China the benefit of the doubt to those most doubtful of China's benefit to them. When I asked my Asian informants to name the most pro-Beijing members of ASEAN, for example, they cited Cambodia and Laos, despite those governments' historical debts to Vietnam and Vietnam's evident dislike of China's newly robust maritime profile.

    As for the divergence of Southeast Asian and American perspectives on China, suffice it to recall this remark by a high-ranking official in an ASEAN country: "Remember," he told me, "for us in Asia, the US is geopolitical, but China is geographical." In other words: Faraway friends are welcome and helpful, but the local landscape is a permanent fact. One has to adapt to it - and to the seascape - to survive.

    But proximity is not destiny. The Obama administration's remarkable effort to reach across the Pacific to Southeast Asia is neither deluded nor doomed. At least it may enhance the ability of Southeast Asians to hedge against overdependence on China. At best it should facilitate free transit and stable relations across the South China Sea.

    What next?
    Based on events so far, it would be wildly premature to predict either a Sino-American cold war in Southeast Asia or malign Chinese hegemony over the region. Nor will Southeast Asia passively succumb to either scenario. It appears instead that ASEAN under Indonesian leadership in 2011 may try to revive the languishing effort to nudge the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea toward something less aspirational and more enforceable. An opportunity to move in this constructive direction may arise at a meeting between China and ASEAN that may be held in Kunming in January 2011.

    In the meantime, each player in this ongoing drama would do well to reconsider and readjust its role. China could gain credibility by rethinking the contradiction between its support for a multilaterally driven regional community spanning Southeast and Northeast Asia on the one hand, and its insistence on hub-and-spokes bilateralism regarding the South China Sea on the other. By several private accounts, Beijing has even presumed to inform the ASEAN states that they must not caucus among themselves to achieve a common position on the Sea. If the reports of such presumption are correct, they illustrate something other than "smart power, Chinese style."

    ASEAN could refurbish its own credibility, along with its centrality as a keeper of regional peace, by incentivizing its four claimant members - Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam - to cease being part of the problem of maritime discord and to become instead part of the solution. The fortuitous combination of renewed American interest in Southeast Asia and Indonesia's chairmanship of ASEAN in 2011 offers, at least in principle, a window of diplomatic opportunity for harmonization and conciliation. Because maritime peace and access are in the interest of all Southeast Asian states, ASEAN should do more than wait for its four implicated members to resolve their contending claims on their own.

    Finally, in Washington, it is a time neither for Schadenfreude at the spectacle of apparently "dumb power, Chinese style," nor for self-congratulation that, as Secretary Clinton put it in July 2009, "the United States is back in Southeast Asia." It is instead time for the Obama administration to broaden and deepen its renewed engagement with the region. Priorities should include a more vigorous pursuit of trade and investment, so that Southeast Asian leaders think of Americans as more than specialized dispensers of regional security alone, and an effort to ratify the Law of the Sea, so that American insistence on Chinese conformity with the Law does not seem hypocritical.

    For ultimately the question for all those concerned with the South China Sea - China other claimant states, and the US as well - is this: Will you ignore the rules? Or will you uphold them to the benefit of peace and prosperity in this vital part of the world?
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    FACTBOX-The South China Sea's disputed maritime borders

    Wed Oct 6, 2010 7:50am GMT

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    Oct 6 (Reuters) - Vietnam has asked China for the unconditional release of nine fishermen detained last month near disputed islands, Vietnamese media reported on Wednesday, raising tension a week before regional defence ministers meet. [ID:nSGE69505H]

    The fishermen were detained near the Paracels, a chain of islands and atolls that Vietnam claims as part of its territory but which are occupied by China.

    Here are some facts on the South China Sea, the maritime rules governing its waters, and major players embroiled in disputes within it.


    The South China Sea covers an area of more than 648,000 sq miles (1.7 million sq km), containing more than 200 mostly uninhabitable small islands, rocks and reefs. It borders China and Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and Singapore to the south and southwest, and the Philippines to the east.


    The shortest route between the Pacific and Indian oceans, it has some of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Over half the globe's oil tanker traffic passes through it. Most shipping is of raw materials, such as crude oil from the Gulf to East Asian countries. The sea holds valuable fishing grounds, and as-yet largely unexploited oil and natural gas fields.


    Six parties are involved in a complex set of historically based territorial disputes in the sea -- Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. China's claims, the broadest, cover all of the Spratly and Paracel islands and most of the South China Sea.

    China's military occupies all of the Paracels, and some nine reefs in the Spratly Islands, including Johnson South Reef, Hughes Reef and Subi Reef.

    Vietnam occupies dozens of Spratly atolls and reefs and has military bases on several more.

    Taiwan holds Itu Aba island and Ban Than Reef in the Spratlys. Former president Chen Shui-bian visited Itu Aba in 2008 with a naval flotilla. Taiwan has built an airport there.

    Malaysia has built an air strip and diving resort on Layang Layang, also known as Swallow's Reef. The Malaysian navy maintains a base here too. The other atolls it occupies are Ardasier Reef, Marivales Reef, Erica Reef and Investigator Shoal.

    The Philippines occupies several Spratly Islands, most significantly Thitu, which it renamed Pagasa (Hope).

    Brunei occupies none of the islands.


    The biggest military skirmishes occurred in 1974, when China attacked and captured the western Paracels from Vietnam, and in 1988, when China and Vietnam fought a brief naval battle near the Spratly reefs, in which more than 70 Vietnamese sailors died.

    Vietnam recently ordered six Kilo-class diesel submarines from Russia as part of a major arms purchase that analysts see as an attempt to counterbalance China's growing naval reach.

    Vietnam and China have competing claims over undeveloped oil and gas blocks. Businessmen and diplomats say China has pressured foreign firms in deals with Vietnam not to develop those blocks.

    In 2007, BP Plc (BP.L: Quote) halted plans to conduct exploration work off the southern Vietnamese coast due to the territorial dispute between Hanoi and Beijing.

    Vietnamese fishing boats are frequently halted and the fishermen detained by Chinese patrol vessels in disputed waters, to Hanoi's displeasure. In many cases, reports say they are freed only after the Vietnamese government pays China.

    In 2002, the member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China signed a non-binding Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, urging the claimant states to exercise restraint and avoid activities that might escalate tension, such as construction of military facilities and holding war games.

    Most claimants are developing tourism on or around some of the islands they hold to bolster their claims.


    The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea allows coastal states to establish sovereignty over two areas: 1. Territorial seas -- adjacent waters spanning a maximum of 12 nautical miles from their coastlines, including the coastline of offshore islands, and 2. Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) -- extending 200 nautical miles from the coast.

    UNCLOS says overlapping claims should be resolved through ad hoc arbitration or submission to international courts.


    The U.S. has not ratified UNCLOS, objecting to a clause on seabed mineral exploration. But when accused by China of illegal trespass, it has referred to its provision for states to conduct intelligence-gathering activities in EEZ's. U.S. surveillance aircraft and ships have long conducted surveys in the sea. The country's main security concern in the area is keeping open the sea routes that are vital for commercial shipping and warships.


    China has signed and ratified UNCLOS. It says all the islands have been Chinese since ancient times.


    Malaysia says that its claims to territories and maritime areas in the South China Sea are in accordance with principles of international law and as depicted in a map it published in 1979 which defined the country's continental shelf boundaries.


    In 1978, former president Ferdinand Marcos issued a decree claiming the entire territory as part of the Philippines, redrawing the country's map. Manila is a signatory to UNCLOS and has passed a law asserting its claims on the Spratlys.


    Taiwan claims the Spratly, Paracel and Pratas islands in its constitution.


    Hanoi has ratified UNCLOS. Last year, Vietnam and Malaysia presented a joint submission to UNCLOS on their claims which underlines the point that while China prefers to deal with the competing claimants on a bilateral basis, others have been pushing for a multilateral approach to the disputes.


    Brunei claims part of the South China Sea as its Exclusive Economic Zone, a section of which includes Louisa Reef. (Reporting by Beijing, Hanoi, Manila, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur bureaux; Writing by Ben Blanchard and John Ruwitch)
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Film for Hanoi millennium seen as too Chinese​

    By Ian Timberlake (AFP) – 2 days ago
    HANOI — A big-budget television series about the king who founded Hanoi will not be shown during the city's millennium celebrations after concerns were raised that it looks too Chinese.
    Relations with its giant neighbour evoke strong emotions and contradictions in Vietnam, where many bitterly recall 1,000 years of Chinese occupation and, more recently, a 1979 border war.
    "We cannot launch it on the millennium celebration, especially when the film is controversial," said Le Ngoc Minh, a deputy director with the government's cinema department.
    While Vietnamese routinely express dislike for the Chinese, the country's culture has been greatly influenced by China, and Chinese historical movies are prominent on the country's screens.
    Ta Huy Cuong, a Vietnamese director for the controversial series, said censors asked the producers to cut scenes that looked similar to Chinese films and "may easily cause misunderstanding."
    "We are sad as this film is not ready to be shown at this point in time," said Cuong, who confirmed that he was working under a Chinese director.
    The series entitled "Ly Cong Uan -- Duong Toi Thanh Thang Long (Ly Cong Uan -- The Road To Thang Long Citadel)" was shot mostly in China for about 100 billion dong (5.3 million dollars), people involved with the film said.
    That is a large sum for a Vietnamese production.
    Ly Cong Uan, whose royal name was Ly Thai To, moved the capital of Vietnam from Ninh Binh to Hanoi in 1010 and called it Thang Long, or "soaring dragon", symbolising the desire for independence after a millennium of Chinese domination.
    Hanoi on Friday began celebrations, which end next Sunday, to mark the city's 1,000th birthday. Thousands have nightly crowded into the city centre around Hoan Kiem lake to soak up the millennium atmosphere and light show.
    Cuong said he felt a passion to make the series "on this important occasion" to promote understanding of the city's history. He said he wanted it shown on the state Vietnam Television, which broadcasts nationally.
    Asked why a key television series about Vietnamese history would be shot in China, he suggested production facilities in his homeland were not developed enough.
    "If you organise a wedding and your house is small, without seats, I think it's understandable that you have to borrow your neighbour's house," said Cuong, who works for a private production company.
    "Some have blasted the serial as a 'Chinese film in Vietnamese'," an editorial in a state-linked Vietnamese newspaper said.
    "Projected as one of the main productions celebrating Hanoi's millennial anniversary this month.... it should have been Vietnamese all the way through, from the cast to the production team."
    The editorial said the series "has attracted a lot of controversy and criticism since its trailer was revealed on the Internet last month."
    Cuong said people have been too quick to judge.
    "They made comments after watching the trailer, while we haven't finished the film yet," he said.
    Many comments to online news sites in Vietnam have expressed concern about the Chinese style of the production.
    Minh, of the cinema department, said that although the main actors and actresses were Vietnamese, some Chinese people and scenes were used.
    "The public had some reaction so the film must be fixed and some of the scenes must be removed," he said, adding that historians and religious researchers should be invited to help change the film before its likely release after the millennium festival.
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Malaysia to Join Trans-Pacific Free Trade Talks With U.S., Seven Others

    Malaysia will join talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement under negotiation between eight countries that the U.S. is pushing to help its companies compete with counterparts in China and Europe.

    “Malaysia, which is engaged in extensive domestic economic reform, has assured us that it is now prepared to conclude a high-standard agreement,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk wrote in a letter yesterday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.

    U.S. officials said last year they would pursue Japan, Malaysia and South Korea to join the negotiations, which are undergoing the third round this week in Brunei. China in January signed an agreement with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

    President Barack Obama, who became the first U.S. leader to meet with Asean in November, has aimed to increase trade with Asia to help meet a pledge to double exports in five years. U.S. exports to the current members of Trans-Pacific Partnership and Malaysia amounted to a combined $71.6 billion last year, or 5 percent of America’s overseas sales.

    “Malaysia’s a very small economy, and from the U.S. perspective that’s a problem with the TPP,” said John Ravenhill, a professor at Canberra-based Australian National University who studies trade agreements. “All of these potential partners are relatively insignificant for the United States.”

    Surpassing Nafta

    Adding Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to the Trans-Pacific Partnership would create the largest U.S. trade accord since the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect in 1994 with Canada and Mexico. The U.S. sold more goods to Japan and South Korea last year than the current TPP members combined.

    In a policy speech last week, Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan said his country was interested in joining the grouping. South Korea aims to reach a deal on a stalled bilateral trade agreement with the U.S. when Obama visits Seoul in November.

    The TPP talks, which began this year, have involved the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Chile, Vietnam and Peru. Malaysia’s reluctance to open its rice market and increase access to government contracts were among issues that derailed talks on a bilateral trade deal with the U.S. in 2007.

    During the next decade, the U.S. would like the accord to include all of the 21 nations in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation bloc, which includes China, Russia and Canada, Kirk said last year.

    China, Europe Deals

    China and Asean have reached a tariff-cutting agreement that went into effect earlier this year, and they are considering a wider deal that would include South Korea and Japan. The European Union is set to finalize a trade agreement with South Korea this week and is negotiating others with Malaysia, India and Singapore.

    “As countries throughout the world negotiate and implement new agreements that exclude the United States, U.S. businesses and workers are falling behind,” the U.S. Business Coalition for TPP, which includes Exxon Mobil Corp., Coca-Cola Co. and Boeing Co., said in a Sept. 30 statement. “The sooner a high- quality TPP is negotiated and brought into force, the more significant will be the economic benefits for the United States.”

    Chinese trade with Asean surpassed that of the U.S. in the past decade, growing to $178 billion last year. Second-biggest was the European Union, whose $171 billion in total commerce with Southeast Asia topped the U.S.’s $149 billion.

    Malaysia Lagging

    For Malaysia, duties will be eliminated on 12.4 percent of exports, particularly footwear, textile and apparel, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said in a statement. About 71 percent of the country’s global trade will be accorded preferential treatment once the deal is complete, it said.

    “If successfully implemented, the TPP offers an excellent platform to realize the creation of a huge market,” the statement said.

    Joining the U.S.-led talks is a small step for Malaysia to attract more foreign investment, which has lagged behind other countries in the region, said Kit Wei Zheng, a Singapore-based economist at Citigroup Inc. Foreign investment in Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy has fallen over the past three years amid growing competition from neighbors including India and China, tumbling 81 percent last year.

    “It may encourage some investment at the margins if they see it through,” Citigroup’s Kit said. “Multilateral agreements are much more complicated than bilateral ones and it’s in the early days.”
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    China Maritime Claims to Dominate Security Meeting in Hanoi

    Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- China’s role in territorial flare-ups in waters more than 1,000 miles apart will likely dominate next week’s gathering of Asia-Pacific defense ministers as they seek to protect shipping lanes vital to world trade.

    Vietnam, host of the Oct. 12 meeting, this week urged China to release a fishing boat and crew detained close to islands claimed by several neighboring countries. Two Chinese patrol boats yesterday withdrew from disputed seas administered by Japan a month after a maritime collision sparked a diplomatic feud between Asia’s two largest economies.

    China has resisted committing to a code of conduct for disputed regional waters and is expanding its navy to project power beyond its borders, according to an August Defense Department report. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be at next week’s meetings in Hanoi together with his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie, three months after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called sovereignty issues in the South China Sea a “diplomatic priority.”

    “It’s really maritime security issues that the U.S. and its allies are keen on, as that’s where the irritations are occurring,” said Carlyle A. Thayer, professor of politics at the Australian Defense Force Academy in Canberra. “Every encounter now is a question mark.”

    Failure to establish rules for vessels passing through disputed waters risks naval clashes that could disrupt the flow of goods between the region’s largest economies. In the South China Sea alone, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei hold disputing claims to islands.


    Gates will probably meet Liang one-on-one at the defense gathering, his first meeting with a Chinese military leader in almost a year, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Oct. 5. China doesn’t plan to address South China Sea conflicts during the talks, state-run Xinhua news cited Guan Youfei, deputy director of Foreign Affairs Office of China’s Defense Ministry, as saying yesterday.

    The U.S. is concerned about China’s “tremendous investment” in maritime forces and “very aggressive” behavior off its East Coast, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and President Barack Obama’s top military adviser, told reporters on Sept. 29.

    China announced in March it would spend 532.1 billion yuan ($79.6 billion) on defense this year; the Pentagon estimates that actual Chinese military spending is twice that amount. The Pentagon has requested a total of $708 billion for its operations, including money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

    Deterring U.S.

    China’s investment in nuclear-powered submarines, anti-ship ballistic missiles and targeting capabilities is aimed mostly at deterring the U.S. in a potential conflict with Taiwan, the Pentagon said in an August report. Jiang Yu, a spokeswoman at China’s Foreign Ministry, called the report “absurd.’

    “China’s development is peaceful and cooperative,” Jiang told reporters Sept. 28 in response to a question about whether its recent spat with Japan might unsettle Southeast Asian countries. “We always stand for peaceful settlement of disputes through bilateral consultations.”

    Vietnam’s demand yesterday that China “immediately” and “unconditionally” release the fishing boat was followed by a Nikkei newspaper report that regional leaders would pressure China on its conduct at the security meeting. The defense ministers may agree to cooperate on a maritime-safety plan, the Japanese daily reported yesterday, citing a draft statement.

    Fishermen’s Release

    China has told the Vietnamese it won’t release the fishermen until they pay a fine for fishing with explosives, Vietnam’s government said in a statement on its website yesterday. Last month, the Chinese government demanded that Japan immediately release a fishing boat captain detained in disputed waters after his boat collided with two Japanese coast guard vessels. Japan freed the captain on Sept. 24.

    “China was rising peacefully before, but its increasing maritime activities in the past couple of years have raised the concern of neighboring countries,” said Hitoshi Tanaka, a former diplomat and now a senior fellow at the Japan Center for International Exchange in Tokyo. “We need to use pressure to encourage China to behave constructively within the international community.”

    The South China Sea covers 3.5 million square kilometers (1.4 million square miles) stretching from Singapore to the Straits of Taiwan. China and Vietnam hold the largest claims to the waters, which contain fisheries and oil and gas reserves.

    Military Build-Up

    Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have also boosted military spending, to $25.7 billion in total last year, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Vietnam led Southeast Asia in upgrading its military with purchases of fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles, warships and diesel-powered submarines in the past five years.

    Indonesia plans to purchase 180 Russian Sukhoi fighter jets and an unspecified number of F-16 warplanes from Lockheed Martin Corp., state-run Antara news agency said Sept. 28, citing Defense Minister Purnomo Yusigiantoro. Boeing Co. is bidding for an order of 126 fighter jets from India.

    China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei hold claims to islands in the South China Sea. At a Sept. 24 summit, Obama and Asean leaders “reaffirmed the importance of regional peace and stability, maritime security, unimpeded commerce, and freedom of navigation,” according to a statement.

    “As an economic superpower, inevitably China’s role in other areas -- security, military, otherwise -- is going to have to grow,” Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on the same day. “We’ve got two powerful friends, and we hope they get on.”
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    China reverts to the harder line

    SINGAPORE -- There is in much of the punditry and the press a simplified view of China's rise that ignores history and misunderstands the military planning cycle. Or is plainly ill-informed.

    This distortion is typified by commentary on Beijing's recently aggressive assertion of its maritime territorial claims in the South China Sea. Rather than representing a new posture, it is the revival of an established stance after a lull seemingly aimed at avoiding distractions that could impede the country's prioritized economic growth.

    A patient Beijing simply suspended its territorial offensive for a time. But it seized the Paracel Islands from Vietnam in 1974, was involved in a bloody clash with Vietnam near Johnson Reef in 1988, and bullied the Philippines over possession of Mischief Reef in 1994 and 1999.

    A decade later it has reverted to type, stridently uncompromising on issues related to territorial integrity.

    Modern China never lacked for self-confidence but a range of factors, including its newly won economic muscle, adroit diplomacy and strengthened military seemingly convinced Beijing that the timing was right for it to resume the harder line.

    It should be further understood that China's possessive view of the South China Sea and the Yellow Sea is not primarily driven by instincts to protect the maritime trade and oil imports underpinning the country's current prosperity. Instead, both are intrinsic to Beijing's broader offshore defense strategy introduced in the mid-1980s.

    Some 25 years ago, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping concluded that a major war with the then-Soviet Union had become improbable. Together with a re- evaluation of the established 'people's war' doctrine after China's disastrous 1979 border war with Vietnam, this saw the People's Liberation Army (PLA) adopt in 1993 a new strategy based on preparing for “local war under high-technology conditions.” And the offshore focus came with the land threat largely removed.

    The 'people's war' doctrine is a defensive strategy dependent on massive ground strength to defeat an enemy on Chinese territory. The new posture aimed to meet any threat beyond China's borders, on land through the development of rapid reaction forces and at sea through enhanced naval and air power.

    This doctrinal shift has since driven PLA force development, and where some see China's growing military might as sudden and unexpected, the trend has been evident for several decades.

    Consider the J-10 multi-role fighter aircraft, whose operational status was officially acknowledged four years ago. Its development was launched in 1988. Or the Type 093 and Type 094 nuclear submarines now entering service nearly 30 years after the programs began. Or the new land-based DF-31 and submarine- launched JL-2 ballistic missiles, whose development accelerated after the successful test of their common solid rocket motor in 1983.

    There can be similar confusion surrounding China's official defense spending, which is often seen as excessive. The 2008 defense budget was about 19 times greater than in 1989, when the spending surge started. But national expenditure grew by a factor of 25 over this same period and gross domestic product by a factor of 20.

    Defense accounted for 8.9 percent of China's national expenditure in 1989 and, despite a few upward blips over the next 20 years, it had dropped to 6.7 percent in 2008. Defense as a percentage of GDP has meanwhile remained fairly constant at 1.4 percent. Similarly, for 12 years out of the 20, the growth in China's annual central budget outpaced the rise in defense spending.

    The same sort of mythology is apparent in some of the commentary on American military activity in the Asia-Pacific region, which is seen as a response to China's emerging ambition.

    This view argues that the heightened regional presence of American aircraft carriers and submarines is a reaction to recent Chinese moves. In fact, it results from a global post-Cold War realignment of United States forward deployed forces under the 2003 Integrated Global Presence and Basing Strategy and the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review.

    Similarly, there is the presence in Guam of B-1, B-2 and B-52 strategic bombers together with KC-135 refueling tankers. These have actually been on rotational deployments typically averaging four months since 2004. Or the stationing in Guam of RQ-4 Global Hawk long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles, which are actually replacing very old U-2 reconnaissance aircraft currently operating from Osan Air Base in South Korea.

    There was a time when some argued that China's military modernization was motivated by its claim to Taiwan. Most have since recognized that the Taiwan issue can influence pace and priority but force development would continue regardless. The same applies to the South China Sea.

    Both China's military modernization and the U.S. force realignment in the Asia-Pacific are ultimately rooted in the evolving post-Cold War strategic landscape. The ill-informed mistake the more obvious tactical tussling for this guiding strategic imperative.
  9. badguy2000

    badguy2000 Respected Member Senior Member

    May 20, 2009
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    We Chinese never want to lead Asia.... We just want to buy up resource in Asia and dump our goods in Asia .:emot0:
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    China threat is still growing: senior official

    TAIPEI, Taiwan — A senior Taiwanese official has told a defense forum in the United States that despite rapidly warming commercial relations with Taipei, China's military threat against the island is growing, Taiwanese media reported yesterday.

    The reports call into question the efficacy of China's efforts to use its huge financial resources to convince Taiwanese both in and out of government that political union with the mainland is in the island's interest.

    Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang told a U.S.-Taiwan Business Council meeting in Maryland on Monday that despite considerable progress on commercial ties, the mainland is continuing to deploy more and more sophisticated weapons against the island, according to reports yesterday from opposition and pro-government newspapers and the government-owned Central News Agency.

    Taiwan's Defense Ministry said it couldn't confirm Yang's remarks.

    The media outlets quoted Yang as saying that China has never renounced its threats to attack Taiwan, and that its anti-Taiwanese military posture is at odds with the recent signing of a landmark trade deal between the sides.

    That deal is part of an overall Chinese offensive to woo Taiwanese opinion with promises of lucrative commercial concessions. It aims to overcome strong Taiwanese opposition to unification, the ultimate aim of China's Taiwan policy since the sides split amid civil war in 1949.

    The media reports said that in his remarks Yang referenced a recent comment by Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie to a Japanese delegation that China's 15-year-long military buildup was aimed primarily at Taiwan.

    China currently deploys an estimated 1,500 missiles against Taiwan. The number continues to grow, despite the overall improvement in relations between the sides that has taken place since China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou assumed the Taiwanese presidency in May 2008.

    In a related development, both the pro-government United Daily News and the pro-opposition Liberty Times quoted an unnamed official as saying that the Obama administration has approved an upgrade of Taiwan's fleet of U.S.-made F-16 A/B jet fighters.

    Any sales of U.S. weapons to Taiwan would almost certainly prompt an angry Chinese reaction, based on Beijing's belief that Taiwan is part of its territory, and that foreign countries have no business interfering in its affairs.
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Troubled waters

    Southeast Asia is the battleground for an international war being waged over a group of floating political symbols – the disputed islands of the South China Sea.

    China has aggressively staked its claim over the 3,500,000 square km territory that encompasses a string of more than 200 islands of various sizes, including the Spratly and Paracels, even going as far as planting a flag via submarine on the ocean floor 3,760 metres below sea level.
    Control over the islands is an important issue, as almost every Asean country has claimed ownership over one or more island, yet the real motive for Asean is maintaing dominance of the sea over China.

    The South China Sea is a vital shipping route for whichever country (or countries) can hold territorial rights over it, in addition to its rich commercial fishing areas and oil and natural gas fields. It also plays an important role for Northeast Asia which relies heavily on the flow of oil and commerce through South China Sea shipping lanes, which includes 80% of the crude oil to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

    China claims complete sovereignty of up to 80% of the South China Sea, which includes the Spratly and Paracel Islands, intentionally stepping on the toes of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Yet in July, at a meeting of Asean foreign ministers in Hanoi, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton boldly stated that the US "supports a collaborative diplomatic process for resolving the various disputes" over the South China Sea, despite Chinese repeated requests not to broach the issue. Clinton also elaborated that the US could offer its services as a mediator and that they oppose "the use or threat of force by any claimant".

    Vietnam appeared to embrace the olive branch offered by the US, conscripting them as an unlikely ally against China’s increasingly aggressive role in the South China Sea. The two countries staged a joint military exercise in August, sending an authoritative message to Beijing. Coming 35 years after the end of the Vietnam War, the visit officially marked the 15th anniversary of the normalisation of relations between the two countries.

    Not surprisingly, the Chinese media, alarmed at the bold moves made into Southeast Asia by Washington after being warned to stay out of the region, was clearly put on the defensive. The China Daily called the exercise the start of a US effort to create an “Asian NATO” to quash Beijing’s rising influence in the region. The US Navy's plans to step up its maritime presence in the South China Sea for the foreseeable future in order to ensure free navigation through its vital sea lanes, didn’t help calm China's image of the US as a threat – especially since the they plan to include their nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS George Washington in future exercises.

    However, not all countries in the region are quick to align with the US. Representatives from the Philippines said in early August that Southeast Asian nations did not require US involvement in solving territorial disputes with China over the potentially resource-rich waters.

    Alberto Romulo, the foreign secretary of the Philippines, told reporters that negotiations should be strictly between Asean and China, without any foreign interference, especially from the US – which, geographically speaking, is nowhere near the disputed territory. When asked if he supported Clinton’s earlier comments that hinted at increased US involvement in the South China Sea debate, Romulo bluntly replied “No.”

    “It’s Asean and China. Can I make myself clear? It’s Asean and China. Is that clear enough?” Romulo asked.

    Yet just days later another military PR gesture, dubbed the Philippines-US Mutual Defence Board meeting, took place in Manila, in which Admiral Robert Willard, the head of US Pacific Command, commented on China's "assertive" behaviour in the South China Sea.

    "We discussed the assertiveness that we're experiencing by the Chinese in the South China Sea and the concerns that that has generated within the region," he said at a news conference.

    "It's very important that the governments in the region invest in sufficient militaries and security apparatus to protect their respective territorial waters.
    "This is about preventing conflict, not allowing any of the circumstances in the region to lead up to a shooting war," said Willard.

    Though most, if not all, Asean countries don't have the military capabilities to adequately defend their claims of island ownership in the South China Sea. The Philippines' military chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo David said that due to the country's outdated ships and airplanes, their presence and defence capabilities in the disputed area is "almost negligible".

    At the Asean Regional Forum in Hanoi in July, Clinton stressed that the US position isn't necessarily to become the judicator of free trade and open navigation of the South China Sea and its mineral resource deposits. Instead, it hopes these goals can be achieved through multilateral discussion between China and Asean. China, however, is vehemently opposed to this approach, preferring to negotiate claims on an individual basis, which would help them gain strategic leverage over the territory by applying specific political pressure to each individual country.

    So why is the US so adamant in its efforts to maintain a presence in the region while urging Asean countries to build-up their militaries for future preventative measures?

    The reason is that China has been systematically modernising and expanding their military arsenal behind closed doors, in a move that the US sees as intentional intimidation, which then forces them to take premeditative diplomatic action in the region. In a report released by the Pentagon in August titled Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2010, the US Department of Defense characterised the military expansion as "extended-range power projection".

    The main concerns in the report are that China is developing a large arsenal of medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles, electronic attack warfare, effective long-range air defence systems, computer network attack capabilities, advanced fighter aircrafts, counter-space technology and submarines equipped with advanced weaponry. The People's Liberation Army Navy, which is the largest naval force in Asia, has also been modernising its nuclear force, which now has a range in excess of 11,000km, with most of continental US under potential threat.

    One weapon in particular is of great concern to the US Navy due to its devestating capabilities in the South China Sea – the anti-ship ballistic missile, which is also called the "carrier killer" for the damage it can inflict on aircraft carriers in particular.

    A successful anti-ship ballistic missile could have a range of 1,500km, is armed with a manoeuverable warhead and when combined with advanced control systems, could be launched from the mainland coast of China, with the disputed islands of the South China Sea well within scope. Admiral Willard stated in an August press conference in Tokyo that the US would not be deterred from deploying vessels in the region because of the missile, but the development of this weapon has become a clear threat that the US doesn't want to take a chance on.

    "Many uncertainties remain regarding how China will use its expanding military capabilities," reads the Pentagon report. "The limited transparency in China’s military and security affairs enhances uncertainty and increases the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation."

    One can only hope that a diplomatic, balanced solution can be reached before the potential powder keg of uncertainties is realised.

    “[The US-China] relationship has not been without disagreement and difficulty," says US President Obama. "But the notion that we must be adversaries is not pre-destined.”
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    China's Army Extends Sway

    Other Nations Look Warily of Military's Influence on Foreign Policy; in Japan, Unusual Protests

    Two people hold a sign that says 'We won't allow the Japanese government to bow to pressure from China' during a march in Tokyo Saturday against China's claims to disputed islands.

    A military official adjusts the uniform of a Chinese PLA soldier.

    BEIJING—Behind China's increasingly fractious relations with its neighbors, which most recently erupted in a territorial row with Japan, is a newly assertive Chinese military whose influence over foreign policy is growing in the run-up to a leadership transition.On Sunday, China and Japan seemed to be edging past their worst dispute in five years, as Japanese leaders called for "mutually beneficial" ties after China thanked Japan's military for evacuating a sick Chinese sailor from a ship in the Pacific on Saturday.

    But relations between Asia's two biggest economies remained tense as Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan set off on a hurriedly arranged trip to an Asia-Europe forum in Belgium, where he is expected to seek international support for Japan's position in the territorial dispute.

    "It is important to thoroughly explain the stance of our country," Mr. Kan said, speaking a day after Japanese nationalists rallied against China.

    In an unusual display of nationalistic fervor, thousands of demonstrators marched through Tokyo's central shopping districts Saturday, harshly criticizing China and the Japanese government's handling of a recent territorial dispute. It is unclear how much the sentiments of the crowd have been embraced by mainstream politicians. No prominent political leaders attended the event.

    But the row over Japan's detention of a Chinese fishing vessel near the disputed islands in the East China Sea has reinforced concerns in Tokyo and other capitals that China's decisions are increasingly shaped by the People's Liberation Army, or PLA, analysts say.

    The PLA's heavy-handed response to recent U.S. military exercises with South Korea and over U.S. statements on the South China Sea has already provoked a backlash across Asia, as Japan and several Southeast Asian nations look to shore up ties with the U.S.

    The Chinese military's political clout is expected to grow as the Communist Party's ruling Politburo Standing Committee—whose nine members are all civilians and don't include a foreign-policy specialist— prepares for China's change to new leadership in 2012. That process begins in earnest with a party meeting, starting Oct. 15, when attention will focus on whether Xi Jinping, the presumed heir to party chief and President Hu Jintao, is appointed vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, which oversees the PLA.

    It is unclear to what extent the PLA is unilaterally expanding its traditional role—to defend the party and Chinese territory—or being encouraged by party leaders to redefine China's broader national interests. But the military has become far more outspoken in recent months, frequently upstaging the foreign ministry and heightening concerns in the region and beyond about how China plans to use its economic muscle.

    In one recent example, aAt a conference in Singapore on Sept. 24, Hitoshi Tanaka, a former Japanese deputy foreign minister, made a speech defending Japan's handling of the territorial dispute with China—but also announcing that Japan would release the captain of the detained Chinese fishing vessel.

    The audience applauded, but in a question-and-answer session that followed, Mr. Tanaka was reprimanded by Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, dean of China's Defense Affairs Institute, according to an account by the conference's organizer, the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. "Don't try to believe that the Chinese are so evil," Gen. Zhu was quoted as saying by Singapore's Straits Times. "I don't think this kind of announcement will be constructive to the establishment of more mutual cooperation."

    In rebuking Mr. Tanaka directly, Gen. Zhu upstaged Tang Jiaxuan, a former Chinese foreign minister and state councilor who had just spoken at the conference.

    The episode fits a pattern of recent outbursts by serving generals. At a meeting with visiting U.S. officials in May, PLA navy Rear Adm. Guan Youfei accused the U.S. of being a "hegemon" and treating China as an enemy, to the apparent embarrassment of Chinese diplomats present, according to people familiar with the situation.

    In June, at another conference in Singapore, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was confronted by Gen. Zhu, as well as Gen. Ma Xiaotian, the PLA's deputy chief of the general staff, over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

    Mr. Gates and other top officials have complained in recent months about what they see as a split in China—between a PLA that, they say, thwarts efforts to improve relations with the U.S., and a political leadership that favors more cooperation.

    "I wouldn't undersell that there are real issues that separate the United States and China," said a senior U.S. defense official. "But we need to be able to deal with those issues in a productive way."

    Gen. Zhu's presence was indicative of the prevailing attitude in Beijing. He was officially reprimanded in 2005 for telling journalists that China would destroy "hundreds" of U.S. cities with nuclear weapons if Washington intervened in a conflict over Taiwan. He now frequently appears at conferences and in state media alongside other serving and retired officers—to the frustration of many Chinese diplomats and international-relations experts.

    "The Chinese military is too powerful in decision-making, especially on foreign policy," said Chu Shulong, an expert on international relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He said the main problem was that the 11-member Central Military Commission included only one civilian, its chairman, party chief Hu Jintao.

    "The party general secretary is so busy, he can't take care of the military, so the military makes its own decisions without the involvement of civilian leaders," said Mr. Chu.

    Some experts argue that many military commentators are expressing their personal opinions, often for financial gain, rather than those of the PLA. Still, they are often featured in tightly censored official newspapers and television shows, which strongly influence public opinion in China.

    A report last month by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute noted that "the PLA has increasingly tried to influence the public debate about national security issues by publicly disseminating analysis by PLA research institutions as well as allowing officers to write divergent commentaries in prominent newspapers and serve as television commentators."

    The same military institutions and individuals are believed by analysts to feed advice directly to the Politburo Standing Committee.

    The combined effect is to put party leaders on the defensive as they try to manage China's increasingly complex international relations, without appearing weak on national security ahead of the leadership change.

    Their predecessors, led by former President Jiang Zemin, also had no military background, but secured the PLA's loyalty by increasing the defense budget to fund its modernization program.

    The current and future generations of China's political leaders face a different dynamic as the military—increasingly dominated by the navy and air force—explores ways to deploy its new powers. Last year, for example, it sent navy ships past the Japanese island of Okinawa and into the Western Pacific for the first time.

    "China is going through a lot of change," said Xu Guangyu, a retired PLA general at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, a government think tank. "We now want to protect our national interests, including land borders, territorial waters—and economic interests such as shipping lanes."

    Some analysts say the PLA's outspokenness reflects a need for structural overhauls to allow greater dialogue between civilian and military leaders and quicker, unified responses during crises.

    One suggestion is the creation of a U.S.-style National Security Council to better coordinate among different branches of government. Another is to include a uniformed figure on the Politburo Standing Committee—something Gen. Xu said was "very possible" in 2012.

    A counterproposal advocates more civilians on the Military Commission.

    With or without such changes, however, most analysts agree that the PLA's influence is destined to grow, as China's national interests expand in tandem with its economic power.

    "A China with global economic interests is already a China with global political interests, and increasingly, a China with expanding global security interests," said David Finkelstein, director of China studies at the CNA Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded think tank in Virginia.

    —Yoree Koh in Tokyo contributed to this article.
  13. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    China runs circles round adversaries

    OCT 5, 2010 07:26 EDT

    If the global currency war was a baseball game, they would have to invoke the “slaughter rule” and send China home the winner.

    Motivations and consequences aside, China is so adroit in melding diplomacy, jawboning and action to keep the value of its currency low that you have to feel something approaching compassion for its plodding adversaries from the U.S., Europe and Japan.

    China’s latest well played move is its pledge to use some of its massive foreign currency reserves to support poor Greece, which the markets widely believe will default some fine day, European Union support or not.

    “With its foreign exchange reserve, China has already bought and is holding Greek bonds and will keep a positive stance in participating and buying bonds that Greece will issue,” Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said in Athens on Saturday.

    “China will undertake a great effort to support euro zone countries and Greece to overcome the crisis.”

    While China does have an interest in global economic stability, especially stability in currency regimes, this was not a move primarily motivated by a regard for European solidarity or even the principle that cheaters deserve a second chance.

    Lombard Street Research economist Gabriel Stein nailed this in a note to clients:

    “Fiscal troubles in the euro area mean a volatile and most likely weakening euro. By contrast, support from a large outside player like China is likely to strengthen the euro. But against whom will the euro strengthen? Primarily against the dollar — to which the Chinese authorities have pegged their own currency at a rate generally accepted to be considerably undervalued. (If it is not, why the strenuous opposition to yuan flotation?)”

    A weak euro means that Chinese exports to the euro zone become more expensive, hence the support, which is cheap at the price, because, after all, Greece is not currently issuing bonds and talk is, the last time it traded on the exchanges, fetching absolutely nothing.

    That China was not in Europe solely on a mercy mission became apparent Monday when it met calls from EU officials for a flexible yuan with counter-calls for stability in major currencies.

    Stability in currency markets, which by the way is highly unlikely going forward, is good for China because it makes the task of manipulating the value of the yuan to its best advantage that much simpler.

    “Hold still,” the shearer said to the lamb.


    As it is in Europe, so it was in Asia, where Chinese purchases of Japanese government bonds, made in the name of “diversification” drove the yen higher, potentially undermining an already flagging economy. Japan acted in response by buying dollars to drive down the yen, in effect doing China’s currency manipulation for it. China gets a more diversified portfolio, insurance against any fall in Treasuries, and still gets its near-term goal of a continued strong dollar and the exports and jobs that means.

    As for the U.S., there seems to be no consensus, at least yet, to take a hard line. The House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow the U.S. to treat undervalued currencies as an illegal subsidy and impose penalties in kind, but this may not make it through the Senate and is unlikely to be signed by the President if it does.

    There are two points to be made in China’s defense. First, the stakes for it are arguably higher, its people being poorer and its social welfare net thin. While high unemployment and deep benefit cuts may result in strikes or airport delays in Europe, the equivalent in China could be far more destabilizing.

    Secondly, China is like anyone who, having enjoyed a good thing, finds lots of competition arising: unhappy. China for years kept its currency low and its exports high, but now that the bill has come due everyone else wants to get in on the game.

    The International Monetary Fund, in its World Economic Outlook, touches on this:

    “Because not all countries can have real depreciations and increase their net exports at the same time, simultaneous fiscal consolidation by many countries is likely to be particularly costly.”

    No one, at this point, seems to have both the courage and the political will to stimulate when all around them are consolidating, and that means that everyone, almost literally, is going to be trying to export, and is increasingly likely to try to manipulate their currencies to support that effort.

    Smaller nations, such as Brazil and South Korea, are either already doing it or making threats.

    China’s very success and skill bring with it risks: that its main adversaries are ultimately goaded into taking more extreme and unpredictable action in their frustration and failure.
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    A Beijing Backlash

    China is starting to face consequences for its newly aggressive stance.

    Over the past two weeks, all of Asia watched with alarm as China forced Japan to back down in a maritime dispute by downgrading diplomatic ties, and tolerating if not encouraging public street protest against Tokyo as well as halting shipments of critical industrial metals to Japan. The face-off symbolizes Beijing’s new attitude: once officially committed to rising peacefully in cooperation with its neighbors, China now seems determined to show its neighbors—and the United States—that it has growing military and economic interests that other countries ignore at their peril.
    China has reopened old wounds with India by publicly raising its claims to territory in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which triggered a troop buildup by both countries along the border. Beijing has proclaimed the South China Sea to be a “core national interest,” a term previously used for Taiwan and Tibet (among other places) to signal that Beijing will brook no outside criticism of its claims to a wide swath of the sea, which has strategic value as well as potential oil wealth. Increasingly, the Chinese Navy has harassed American and Japanese vessels sailing in Asian waters. And Beijing has largely stonewalled complaints by countries in mainland Southeast Asia that new Chinese dams on the upper portions of the Mekong River are diverting water and hurting the livelihood of downstream fishermen and farmers. China also has harshly condemned joint U.S.-South Korean naval exercises, and applied growing pressure on Southeast Asian nations to jettison even their informal relations with Taiwan, which once had extremely close ties to countries like Singapore and the Philippines.
    China’s aggressive behavior represents a sea change in longstanding Chinese policy. Deng Xiaoping used to urge Chinese leaders to keep a low public profile in foreign affairs. During the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s Beijing launched a charm offensive toward its neighbors, who still remembered the revolutionary, interventionist China of Mao Zedong’s years, when it backed the genocidal Khmer Rouge and insurgents in Burma, among other causes. This softly-softly approach reaped rewards. Beijing inked a free-trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that came into effect earlier this year and helped make Beijing one of the leading trading partners of nearly every country in the region. In the late 1990s and early 2000s China upgraded its role in Asia’s regional organizations, including ASEAN, and shifted the focus of its relationship with India, the other emerging giant, from old hostilities to new commercial links, including partnerships between India’s world-leading information-technology firms and their Chinese peers. The region’s diplomats praised China’s consensus-building approach, and its sharp contrast to the “with us or against us” style of the George W. Bush administration.

    In some ways, the change in attitude is an extension of China’s enduring interest in protecting its sovereign rights, dating back to well before Deng’s time as leader. More than that, though, the global economic crisis has left China in a far stronger international position than many of its neighbors or the U.S., and Chinese leaders and diplomats now seem to feel they can throw their weight around on international issues. Just as Chinese leaders increasingly lecture Western officials in public about the breakdowns of free-market capitalism, so too the Chinese have become more willing to make public demands from other Asian countries. “There is a certain extent of hubris in [China’s] actions,” says Lam Peng Er, an expert in China-Japan relations at the National University of Singapore. China recently overtook Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, and some view that as a “coming of age,” he says.
    But perhaps the biggest reason for the change in Chinese behavior is the tension around the leadership changes in Beijing, planned for 2012, when Hu Jintao is expected to step down for presumptive heir and current vice president, Xi Jinping. Unlike Deng, who fought in the Chinese civil war—or even former leader Jiang Zemin, who had strong relations with the Army—Hu and Xi do not have a clear constituency or link to the military, says Kerry Brown, a senior fellow at the Asia Program of Chatham House, a British think tank. As a result, the new leaders may be less able than in the past to control a defense establishment now pushing for its own hawkish interests, such as expanding China’s naval sphere of influence, that aren’t always consistent with China’s broader diplomatic goals or the more dovish Foreign Ministry. Already, Hu and Xi, lacking Deng’s power base, are finding they have to accommodate the armed forces. Many China experts—and, even privately, some Chinese officials—argue that the tension may continue in some form at least until after 2010.
    But all this toughness is coming at a cost: an Asia-wide backlash that could cost Beijing a decade’s worth of accumulated good will. Earlier this year, a report by the Lowy Institute in Australia found that “rather than using the rise of China as a strategic counterweight to American primacy, most countries in Asia seem to be quietly bandwagoning with the United States.” Another survey, by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, found that most elites in Asia said the U.S. would be the greatest source of peace in the region 10 years from now, while China would be the biggest threat. For that reason, Southeast Asian nations have recently welcomed a greater American defense presence. Vietnam, which theoretically enjoys a close relationship with China as a fellow communist state, has launched a strategic dialogue with its old enemy the U.S. and may embark upon a nuclear deal in which Washington provides Hanoi with enrichment technology that China had once hoped to provide. Within 10 years, Vietnam could be America’s de facto closest ally in Southeast Asia, other than Singapore. Indonesia, also courted intensely by China, this year embarked upon a new “comprehensive partnership” with the U.S. that includes new military links; at the U.S.-ASEAN summit in New York, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa publicly rejected China’s demand that Southeast Asian nations keep America out of the South China Sea dispute. Even Cambodia, a country heavily dependent on Chinese aid, has opened new defense ties with the Pentagon; the Cambodian and American militaries conducted joint military exercises, nicknamed Angkor Sentinel, earlier this year.
    At the same time, many Asian nations are making deals with each other to create a balance against China. Vietnam recently announced a security dialogue with Japan, while India has invited Japan to make enormous new investments in Indian infrastructure—deals that, under different conditions, could have been captured by Chinese companies. What’s more, nearly every nation in Southeast Asia is laying out cash for weapons. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the amount spent on weapons purchases in Southeast Asia nearly doubled between 2005 and 2009 alone, with Vietnam recently paying $2.4 billion for Russian submarines and jetfighters designed for attacking ships. Given that countries like Vietnam and Malaysia, another major recent arms buyer, face few threats within Southeast Asia, the weapons systems can only be designed to repel China. Beijing is also increasing its military spending by as much as 15 percent annually in recent years, suggesting the tensions between China and its neighbors are only just beginning.
    With Isaac Stone Fish in Beijing
  15. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

    Aug 20, 2010
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    Gangtok, Sikkim, India
    Things really don't look pretty between China and about a dozen Asian countries. Guess it revealed its true colors a little too early, leaving room for other people to do something about this new form of aggression. Chinese need to tone down their aggressive intervention in other's matters. J&K situation is none of their business as it is our sovereign territory as assigned by their last Maharaja and historical religious and cultural ties to ancient Kashmiri people, while Pakistan an offspring nation of Arab and Persian imperialism through ideological oneness has no claims on the land. The same goes for Arunachal that is legally ours as agreed prior to Communist takeover of the country. Governments keep changing around the world but that doesn't mean histories change. This intentional meddling itself proves that Beijing is upto no good in the near future and that there has to be a stronger military buildup in other countries i.e in entire Southeast as well as India enough to repel an invasion. The conflicts of today are carried out by small, heavily armed units of special forces while the main Army is only a distraction.

    Since we've already been having a troop buildup around Arunachal, it is all the more important that more and more hi-tech military hardware is supplied to the eastern border as Western border is sealed off and the only thing we've to worry about Pakistan is its terrorist factories. I would go to the extent of saying that we increase wargames with all Southeast as well as Japan and South Korea on a heavy level. Being the closest to the Dragon, Vietnam should be a start.

    And since Japanese have started awakening their asleep military of last 6 decades, we should bilaterally engage with Japanese military as well apart from the US-Japan-India-Singapore exercises. And in these increased wargames, the main theater of combat maneuvers should be high altitude warfare, Forest warfare and marine warfare--3 most likely fronts that all Southeast is likely to face.

    All this should be backed by a strong secretive big-spined foreign policy that shows that we're peaceful but NOT WEAK.
  16. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

    Dec 21, 2009
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    neither Asahi Shimbun or Yomiuru Shimbun are advocating a India-japan bon homie it is the only the indian media which is saying this

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

    Feb 16, 2009
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    China is not fit to rule itself forget Asia. A communist country has never led anything.
  18. shotgunner

    shotgunner Regular Member

    Jul 19, 2009
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    I thought USSR led something ... maybe I am wrong ... you're always right ... always ... a lot of fun

    India is well fit to lead Asia ... oh should be whole world ... congrats

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