It’s a seemingly small event, but Mao Zedong’s long march also began with a few small steps. The jewel, the prize, the coveted article for China is Taiwan. It’s doubtful they would play for the Philipines, but South Korea and Vietnam are definitely in the picture. There is much study in China over the implosion and collapse of the Soviet system and their structure of satellite nations, and China is not likely to attempt to recreate the idea of vassal semi-autonomous states as dumping grounds. But they are working on flexing their intellectual muscles and arriving at a vision of a greater China, the leader on the world stage. There are still echoes of Mao’s “democracy comes from the barrel of a gun.” …
( see link at end) …It may not be an exaggeration to say that the most important Chinese city after Beijing is the new city of Sansha. Sansha occupies a small island in the South China Sea where fresh water is brought in every day by boat. The city” has a population of 1000 people and has just elected a mayor.
The importance of Sansha is its location on Yongxing island and China intends that the island will display its sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands . Vietnam also claims the Paracels while the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have competing claims for the Spratlys….
The Philippines and Vietnam have already protested the Chinese action, but the Chinese Global Times responded that ” China will not back down on sovereignty issues, despite encountering criticism for its establishment of Sansha city in the South China Sea from the US, Vietnam and the Phillipines.
The Philippines and Vietnam are no match for China – they are looking to the United States for assistance. While the United States is willing to back Japan in a territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, it has done little more than mildly scold China for taking unilateral actions….see after break…
You have to figure, America, already stretched, does not want to involve itself in South East Asia militarily again; Niall Ferguson has referred to China as a “free rider” which is not entirely accurate, more a sense of biding time and achieving goals through “soft power”, willing to test American resolve, an dit would seem, based on the timing, to link their potential for affirmation to American involvement in the movement to topple Bashar Assad and the even bigger fish of Iran. Is America ready to sell out South East Asia for the monopoly in the Middle East? Or is this a shot over the bow in the divving up of the goodies as the Euro may see its days numbered; the U.S. behind the Northern Euro and China adopting the African template of soft power in dealing with Greece and company. Certainly worth watching.
…The United States does not want to be dragged into an armed conflict with China over the territorial disputes and is seeking a negotiated settlement. US military spokespersons also contend theat the island city does not alter the balance of power in the region, but merely represents China showing the flag. The American position harks back to the American strategy of island hopping during the 2nd World War, when Japanese island garrisons were simply bypassed and rendered useless.
The problem with the US position is that the Chinese action has a diplomatic, more than a strategic, purpose. The Chinese have replied that Sansha is a domestic affair of China and therefore the US has no reason to intervene. If the US merely acquiesces to the Chinese move, it risks demoralizing Southeast Asian countries w
ad banked on the Americans for support against China and in return for such support were willing to draw closer to the United States.
One analysis in the Philippines is that the country has been left to shift for itself “China is assuming that no nation, including the United States, will confront China with military force in these matters.”
Ruan Zongze, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies speaking to Global Times rubbed it in: “The US should reflect on its diplomatic interference in the region which has sent inaccurate signals to neighboring countries.” In other words the countries in the region should not entertain false hopes that an American ally will rescue them but should try to make the best deal possible with China. Read More:http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/158316#.UBNhM_Vb76M
(see link at end)…1. You’ve often discussed the notion of China’s soft power, noting both its potential sources and its continued weaknesses. What impact, if any, do you think Beijing’s refusal to break with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria will have on its soft power, both inside and outside the Arab world?
China’s ability to get what it wants through attraction and persuasion rests on a number of factors: its culture (witness the Confucius Institutes it promotes); its values (particularly a successful growth model); and its foreign policies (for example, the pledge not to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries). But China’s refusal to support UN resolutions against the Assad regime has hurt more than helped. While Iran applauds the non-intervention policy, most Arab states and publics find China less attractive because of its policy on Syria.
2. Remaining on the subject of Chinese soft power, The Diplomat has featured a number of articles noting that China has usually preferred to use non-military vessels to enforce its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea. Do you think Beijing has pursued this policy in order to retain soft power and how might China’s recent more military-centric South China Sea policy affect its soft power?
China has tried to steer between its soft power objectives in Southeast Asia and its tangible possession goal of controlling resources. The use of civilian enforcement vessels helped somewhat in reducing the offensive nature of Chinese actions in the eyes of Vietnam and the Philippines, but only slightly. The same nationalist pressures that lie behind Chinese actions are reciprocated amongst the publics of its smaller neighbors, regardless of the bureaucracy that controls the vessels.
3. You and Princeton University’s Robert O. Keohane developed the notion of asymmetrical interdependence, whereas even when two countries are highly inter-connected the side that is relatively less dependent on the other can use this as an instrument of coercion. In this context, how much do you anticipate the nature of Sino-American interdependence changing as a result of rising labor costs in China?
As I argue in The Future of Power, some analysts mistakenly think China can bring America to its knees by dumping its large holdings of dollars, but that asymmetry is balanced by another, China’s dependence on access to American markets for the success of its export led growth model. If China dumped its dollars, it could bring the U.S. to its knees but would bring itself to its ankles. If rising labor costs were to make Chinese goods less competitive, and if China were able to truly change its growth model to one based on domestic consumers, it would depend less on the American market and the balance of asymmetries and thus bargaining power would be affected. But this is not likely to happen soon. Read More:http://thediplomat.com/2012/07/26/the-interview-joseph-s-nye/