Asia's New Cold War

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by ajtr, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Asia's New Cold War

    After surviving a harrowing maritime adventure, the fishermen of Gangfu village on China's eastern coast are sometimes presented with a rejuvenating bowl of noodles topped with duck eggs. But on Sept. 25, Gangfu's Zhan Qixiong was lavished with a more extravagant welcome: bouquets of flowers from cheering local leaders, a chartered flight home courtesy of the Chinese government and, of course, the requisite bowl of noodles.
    Zhan had endured a trial on the high seas all right, but his was no tale of a shipwrecked mariner's rescue. Rather, the captain, 41, had returned from 18 days in detention in Japan after his trawler collided with Japanese Coast Guard boats patrolling waters near rocky isles claimed by both China and Japan. Called the Diaoyu Islands by the Chinese and the Senkaku by the Japanese, the tiny outcroppings in the East China Sea have been administered by Japan for decades, but China (and Taiwan) assert historic claims over them.
    (See pictures of Japan and the world.)
    For his ordeal in the custody of a historical enemy, Zhan enjoyed a hero's reception back in China. But the row has pulled relations between East Asia's two great powers to its lowest ebb in years, showing just how delicate the balance of power remains in a region that from 1894 to 1953 suffered from near constant war. Japan contends that Chinese fishing and naval vessels in recent months have flocked in ever greater numbers to the disputed area, turning what was once a relatively placid outpost into a flash point. After the Chinese trawler and its crew were detained by the Japanese Coast Guard on Sept. 8, Beijing reacted with percussive fury, severing many diplomatic ties, slowing down Japanese cargo shipments and even briefly suspending exports of rare-earth minerals that Japan needs to manufacture everything from hybrid cars to superconductors.
    Tokyo's decision to free captain Zhan — which came shortly after four Japanese were arrested in China for allegedly trespassing in a military zone, a move widely seen as tit for tat — was supposed to defuse the diplomatic crisis. Although the ruling Democratic Party of Japan faced sniping from hard-liners for capitulating to Beijing's hardball tactics, most Japanese understand that the countries' economies are too closely linked for a single fishing trawler to derail relations. But after the skipper's release, China showed few signs of wanting to ease tensions. The state-run China Daily opined that the incident had "caused irreparable damage to bilateral ties." Beijing demanded an apology and compensation from Tokyo. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan responded sniffily, saying, "We have absolutely no intention of responding to [such demands]." A day later, Tokyo proposed that Beijing pay for damages to the Japanese patrol boats caused by the trawler collision.
    (See TIME's photo-essay "Japan Then and Now.")
    Changing Currents
    Japan credits its long rise to a commitment to peace after its catastrophic losses in World War II, while China has linked its recent economic-boom trajectory to a philosophy of "peaceful development." But while both nations use the word peace, or a variant of it, whenever they can, China and Japan have become locked in a nasty war of words, with many wondering what will come next.
    The growing friction reflects the shifting power dynamic in the Asia-Pacific region. This summer, if Beijing's official figures are to be believed, China surpassed recession-plagued Japan as the world's second largest economy. Now, a resource-hungry China is flexing its geopolitical muscle too. The Diaoyu/Senkaku islands may be uninhabited rocks, but they are thought to be surrounded by major underwater deposits of natural gas; not coincidentally, in August Beijing announced that it had dispatched a manned submarine more than two miles beneath the South China Sea to plant a Chinese flag on the seafloor. China's increasingly assertive claim to nearly all of the South China Sea has riled other Asian nations, who believe they're entitled to at least part of that vast aquatic expanse. Most contentious are the Spratly and Paracel islands, a scattering of coral atolls across much of the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by six governments and are located in waters — surprise, surprise — believed to hold significant untapped oil and natural-gas reserves. Even as China complained about the treatment of its trawler and crew by Japanese forces, Vietnamese officials have been quietly grumbling that Chinese naval boats routinely detain Vietnamese fishermen who venture into waters Beijing considers its own.The country that has best kept the peace in this fractious neighborhood is also the one not nursing any territorial grievances: the U.S. Under long-standing security alliances, Washington vows to deploy U.S. forces to protect its Asian allies if any hostile nation — for which read: China — were to attack. In late September, around the same time Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao refused to meet his Japanese counterpart in New York City because of the island spat, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told him the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands were covered by Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security pact, which calls for America to defend territories under the administration of Japan should they come under attack.
    It's hard to believe that the U.S. would truly contemplate a war with China over a sprinkling of rocks in the East China Sea. Nevertheless, Washington's assurances were welcomed in a country increasingly insecure about being overshadowed by its giant neighbor. It's not just Japan that feels that way. With China's economic and political sway expanding in Asia just as Washington seems distracted by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, other Asia-Pacific nations have been urging the U.S. to reorient its foreign policy in the region. "China will enlarge its influence in Asia and will be competing with the U.S. for influence in Asia," says Niu Jun, professor of international relations at Peking University. "Whether this competition is good or not for Asia, we will have to see in the future."
    (See pictures of the making of modern China.)
    The U.S. has taken notice. In a frank assessment earlier this year, Admiral Robert Willard, head of U.S. Pacific Command, told the House Armed Services Committee that China's rapid military modernization — as evidenced by double-digit growth of its military budget over the past decade — appears "designed to challenge U.S. freedom of action in the region or exercise aggression or coercion of its neighbors, including U.S. treaty allies and partners." To counter China, President Barack Obama, who spent part of his childhood in Asia, has been assiduously reaffirming U.S. ties with its Asian partners. On Sept. 24, Obama held a summit with leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes key American friends such as Singapore and Thailand. Pledged Obama: "As President, I've made it clear that the United States intends to play a leadership role in Asia."
    (Comment on this story.)
    Home Game
    There's reason to think he means what he says. Bilateral relations with Vietnam, for example, have blossomed to the point where the countries conducted joint military exercises in the South China Sea in August. That didn't please China any more than did recent naval drills by U.S. and South Korean troops in the Yellow Sea, which borders China's coast. Along with other ASEAN members vying with China over the Spratly and Paracel islands, Vietnam was delighted when Secretary Clinton said in July that a peaceful resolution of territorial spats in the South China Sea was an American "national interest." China hated that too. "There is a perception among some Chinese that the U.S. wants to weaken China and is using other countries to contain China," says Shen Dingli, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.
    (See pictures of China-Vietnam border war.)
    Of course, foreign policy often has as much to do with domestic affairs as international ones. It makes sense for Obama to get tough with China when the supposed manipulation of its currency is being blamed at home for U.S. job losses. Similarly, Japanese Prime Minister Kan, who just survived a leadership challenge from within his own party, may have used a firm stance on the Diaoyu/Senkaku issue not only to placate a public ever more wary of Beijing but also to bolster his own precarious political position.
    Strange though it may be to contemplate — the Chinese leadership is hardly bound by the ballot box — the same domestic imperative probably applies in Beijing too. Nationalist sentiment is on the rise in China, which doubtless makes its leaders feel that they need to talk tough on any territorial disputes involving the nation responsible for the brutal 1931-45 occupation of much of the country. The fishermen of Gangfu had better get used to choppy waters.
    This article originally appeared in the October 11, 2010 issue of Time Asia magazine.

    Read more: Asia's New Cold War - TIME

    Read more: Asia's New Cold War - TIME
  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Why China's Air Force in Turkey?

    Sometime during September, an unknown number of China's People's Liberation Army Air Force Russian-built Su-27 and Mig-29 fighters landed at the huge Konya airbase in Turkey's central Anatolia region.
    Sunday, 10 October 2010 09:16

    China's Air Force Goes Abroad

    By Gavin M. Greenwood

    Dudgeon and dragons for the Americans

    Sometime during September, an unknown number of China's People's Liberation Army Air Force Russian-built Su-27 and Mig-29 fighters landed at the huge Konya airbase in Turkey's central Anatolia region. Within a few days they were training with Turkish US-built F-16 fighters in the first ever military exercise of its kind between China and a NATO country.

    The brief training exercise, significantly held under the aegis of the 'Anatolian Eagle' series of joint military manoeuvres with NATO and other friendly powers, reflects multiple factors that will take some time for Turkey's allies to fully decipher. From a western perspective, China's sudden appearance on NATO's southern flank and other Chinese military adventures in the so-called 'Stans of Central Asia at about the same time was provocative in a period when relations between Beijing and Washington and many European countries are strained by a mixture of economic and military tensions.

    This may have been the immediate – if probably opportunistic - intention as the Turkish deployment presaged China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's attendance at a summit with the EU commission in Brussels on Oct. 6 which was widely anticipated to be tense and probably fruitless.

    The other, more strategic message embedded in the dog fights over Anatolia is nearer to China's core concerns. The deployment will strengthen the agenda of those within China's government and military who are keen to demonstrate Beijing's reach and ability to surprise. While some remain unsure whether the training event ever actually occurred, most are looking at what the episode may reveal about Turkey's motives and the country's future relationship with NATO and the European Union.

    Certainly, China and Turkey appear an uneasy fit for any form of military co-operation beyond the institutional round of bland functions and stilted social events intended to somehow soothe mutual suspicions and calm often barely concealed enmities.

    In particular, both countries have recently experienced serious differences over the treatment of the Uighur community, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority long settled in western China. The Uighurs are widely viewed with suspicion by Beijing and many of the Han Chinese now living among them as both a source of separatist unrest and potential Islamic extremism. Equally, many Turks view the Uighurs as victims of Chinese colonial persecution and readily offer their support in the name of pan-Turkic solidarity.

    The strength of emotion the issue can generate was evident in Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's accusation that the situation in Xinjiang in July 2009 following clashes between Uighurs and Han Chinese was akin to "genocide." Once it became evident that the majority of the casualties among the nearly 200 dead and thousands of injured where ethnically Chinese, the Turkish government moderated its language – even if the overwhelming mood among many Turks remained pro-Uighur if not anti-Chinese.

    Erdogan's seemingly instinctive if overblown response and his subsequent softer tone towards China - perhaps reflecting Ankara's grudging recognition that Beijing's position towards the Uighurs echoes Turkey's own problems with Kurdish separatists – is likely to have been regarded in the Chinese foreign ministry as an opportunity to strengthen ties. China's diplomats were aided in this potentially tricky task by Ankara's own calculations following a series of diplomatic reversals that required a powerful, if indirect, response.

    It is certain that Turkey's increasingly fraught relationship with the European Union, where a strong 'Gates of Vienna' tendency filters any efforts by Ankara to move closer to the European heartland while playing on atavistic memories of Muslim expansion, will have contributed to the decision of invite Chinese fighters to train in NATO airspace

    Similarly, the March 2010 vote by US legislators that agreed the 1915 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks was genocide, coupled with Washington's failure to seriously censor Israel over its killing of nine ethnic Turks on the Gaza "aid flotilla" in May 2010, have convinced many in Turkey that their country occupies a lowly position in the US pantheon of allies.

    Another, perhaps irresistible, motive for the invitation to the Chinese airmen may have been to emphasize the difference between Turkey and Greece. The parlous state of the Greek economy has left the country in the position of permanent mendicancy, most recently relying on China to buy its debt and finance its key shipping sector. Turkey's action, by contrast, demonstrated – if mainly to a domestic audience – the country's independence and sovereign parity with a major power.

    China's motives for accepting a Turkish invitation to send its aircraft to Konya also reflects interests that have little to do with the location or significance of their host. While Beijing is now far more comfortable seeing its military deployed further from the country's self-determined core areas of interest, China's often cautious diplomats appear to be increasingly overruled or ignored by political and military factions who value the utility of such displays for a nationalistic domestic audience.

    This mood was captured when the despatch of warships in January 2009 to the Gulf of Aden to take part in anti-piracy operations evoked official comparisons with the 15th century Admiral Zheng He's seven voyages to the Middle East and Africa.

    The People's Liberation Army and Air Force also participated in the "Peace Mission 2010" series of military exercises conducted in September 2010 in Kazakhstan with military personnel from the other Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia. Although the ostensible purpose of the exercise was to test and coordinate joint counter-terrorist operations, in reality the 'Peace Mission' gave China a unique opportunity to deploy land and air units in strength beyond its borders.

    According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, at least eight Chinese fighters, bombers, airborne early warning and tanker aircraft flew an unprecedented round trip from Urumqi in western China to an unnamed location in Kazakhstan, where they carried out practice air strikes. The aircraft that flew to Turkey must have taken a similar route, before heading south to Iranian airspace and on to Konya in Turkey.

    More pressing, given the persistent tensions in the South China Sea between the US and China, the dramatic appearance of Chinese fighters maneuvering in a NATO country should also enliven the conversation between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Chinese counterpart General Liang Guanglie when they meet in Hanoi at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference on 12 October.
  4. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

    Aug 10, 2009
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    Main factors which have contributed to the decision of invite Chinese fighters to train in NATO airspace:-

    1 Once it became evident that the majority of the casualties among the nearly 200 dead and thousands of injured where ethnically Chinese, the Turkish government moderated its language –

    2. Turkey's increasingly fraught relationship with the European Union,

    3 vote by US legislators that agreed the 1915 killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks was genocide, coupled with Washington's failure to seriously censor Israel over its killing of nine ethnic Turks on the Gaza "aid flotilla" in May 2010, have convinced many in Turkey that their country occupies a lowly position in the US pantheon of allies.
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    China's 'New Cold War' puts democracies in danger

    The spread of two authoritarian streams, Chinese communism and the Islamic fundamentalism, in combination or otherwise, threaten the survival of democracies in Asia.

    First, Beijing deftly sucked in most of the democracies in its economic orbit by making China a very cheap manufacturing destination of the world. This simultaneously created gigantic hard currency reserves and vast political influence. Second, from the inflow of foreign direct investments, a modern lethal military machine was forged. Third, Beijing skillfully invested in dictatorial or Islamic fundamentalist regimes in Asia like North Korea, Pakistan, and Myanmar.On one hand, this boosts Pakistan and North Korea’s capability to tie down democracies like India, South Korea and Japan without the necessity of China being involved overtly. On the other, by transferring sensitive technologies to these countries, China deflects the attention of major powers from itself and conveniently shifts the debate to the rogue nations clandestinely supported by it. Thus the energies and resources of the other big powers are consumed handling the fall out in Pakistan, Myanmar, Iran and North Korea.

    Accretion of extraordinary power allows China to escape unscathed, bringing to an end, the phase of ‘Peaceful rise of China’! The ongoing coercive diplomacy against Japan marks the beginning of ‘Rise of the expansionist China.’

    The Islamic fundamentalists and other dictatorial regimes like the military junta of Myanmar by themselves do not constitute dire threat to democracies in Asia as they individually lack capabilities.

    However, to gain supremacy in Asia, extreme ideologies supported by Chinese machinations constitute a dangerous tool that can cause mayhem.

    To dominate Asia, China will ensure that Islamic regimes come under the Chinese tutelage. Their rigid philosophies have more in common with each other than with the democracies. This helps Beijing in two ways. First, it keeps the Islamic fundamentalists in check and prevents insurrection in Sinkiang inhabited by a large Muslim population.

    Second, by way of investment, aid and transfer of sensitive technology, Beijing uses the ‘barbarians’, i.e., Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Maoists in Nepal or authoritarian regime in North Korea to tie up in knots democracies like India, Japan, South Korea or America and its allies within Asia.These dark forces are an extension of the Chinese war machine to ensure that democracies become dysfunctional and ultimately redundant.

    If the multi-cultural democratic Indian role model succeeds in Asia, the single party Chinese model is bound to fail.

    Pakistan is a classic example, which China treats as its colony. Beijing worries that its dreams to reach Gwadar port by land will come to a naught, if Pakistan splinters. This is the singular reason for the Chinese military to be inducted into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, lest this area, which includes Gilgit and Baltistan, rejoin the Indian state of J&K.

    Similarly, if North Korea unites with South Korea, China will feel threatened by the formidable new power equation in its vicinity.

    Washington’s attempts to woo Islamabad away from Beijing will not succeed as both nurture an anti-America and anti-India orientation.

    The falling apart of Pakistan or uniting of the Koreas, therefore, will certainly curtail Chinese ambitions and enhance footprints of the democracies in Asia.

    A win-win for democracies of all hues!The battle in Asia in many ways, therefore, is poised between the forces of darkness led by China, and the light of freedom and hope being nurtured by the democracies.

    If the groups or nations with extreme philosophies led by China succeed, the economic powerhouse of the world in the twenty-first century, i.e., Asia will be under the control of authoritarian regimes. The Western influences led by America’s global interests will be obliterated. Islamization of Europe will become a certainty. North America will feel the heat. India, the softest target, of course, will get the first jolt.

    To contend with the American power, Beijing desires a multi-polar world, but in Asia it is determined to achieve China-centric unipolarity.

    What should be India’s game plan?

    India can be to Asia what America is to the world- a symbol of hope, freedom, justice and liberty.

    First, India must attract massive inflow of foreign direct investment by creating the requisite business environment. The red tape that is retarding India’s economic growth should be immediately dispensed with. It is essential we emerge as the leading alternate manufacturing and technology research hub in Asia. Those who bring in the sunrise technologies in joint ventures must be rewarded and encouraged.

    The cutting edge technological research requires huge investments, young skilled demographic profile and friendly business environment, where all partners profit in a variety of ways. India boasts of potential to lead Asia in all these parameters.

    Keeping Indian societal characteristics in view, American economic model with minor modifications incorporating some of the social welfare features of Europe will be a huge success that can propel India to the top.

    Less government and more governance will lead to creation of unprecedented wealth.

    Second, New Delhi so far has grossly underutilized the potent geo-economic card held in the Indian arsenal. For example there is ban by the West in transfer of sensitive technologies to China. Many of such technologies can be transferred to India, if the FDI in defense sector is increased to 49 percent from the present unviable 26 percent! Further, to realize the full potential, if defense sector is opened to the private sector, India can be fairly self-sufficient in defense equipment in the next ten years.

    Importantly, when other democracies are allowed substantial stakes in the Indian economy, which is mutually beneficial, there will be an automatic increase in New Delhi’s international clout. Therefore, New Delhi must heal these self-inflicted wounds borne out of myopic policies.Today India’s appetite and the resources to modernize are gigantic. It has enough eggs to put in different baskets that can leverage influence to its benefit.

    Third, ‘Guest is not God!’ as touted by Indians. The Chinese and Pakistani guests want a fair chunk of this country’s territory. They have used every dirty trick in the trade to de-stabilize India. Guests must strictly be made to adhere to the passport control regime. More vital is the fact that New Delhi to survive the hostile two-fronts must create extraordinary military capabilities with the help of democracies of the West led by America.

    Modern military power capable of dominance in space, air, land and sea in Asia is key to India’s future. It should be able to defend the wealth we create as well as the democratic space.

    Fourth, India must shape strong economic and military relationships with democracies like Japan, South Korea and others within Asia. This relationship can further acquire muscle by forming similar networked partnerships with the Western democracies led by America.

    Twenty-first Century will witness a robust partnership between India and the United States due to the extraordinary synergy of purpose. The former to protect its democratic fabric and the territorial integrity, and the latter to defend its global stakes in Asia, which includes, access to this huge market.

    This relationship between the two democracies can effectively compel Beijing to abandon New Cold War started by it in Asia and revert to ‘Peaceful rise of China!”

    These dark forces are an extension of the Chinese war machine to ensure that democracies become dysfunctional and ultimately redundant.

    If the multi-cultural democratic Indian role model succeeds in Asia, the single party Chinese model is bound to fail.

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