Analysis: China’s Aggression Requires a More Forceful American ResponsePosted: September 24, 2015 | |
Beijing’s New World Order
Like wedding anniversaries, state visits by foreign leaders are occasions to celebrate the positive, and that’s what the Obama Administration will stress as Chinese President Xi Jinping tours the U.S. this week. Get ready for an announcement about arms-control in cyberspace, a progress report on a bilateral investment treaty, and bromides about mutual friendship.
“Under Mr. Xi, Beijing sees itself as a strategic rival rather than a partner. Its foreign policy is increasingly aggressive, sometimes lawless, a reality that’s become clear even to the Obama Administration.”
These columns have rooted for China’s emergence as a major U.S. trading partner and responsible global power since Deng Xiaoping became the first Chinese Communist leader to visit the U.S. in 1979. And we’ve had more than a few occasions to score China-bashers in Washington, whether over protectionist steel tariffs or allegations of Beijing’s “currency manipulation.”
“China’s lawlessness is most obvious at sea and in cyberspace. Since 2010 Chinese leaders have claimed ‘indisputable sovereignty’ over most of the South China Sea, covering an area more than twice the Gulf of Mexico and among the world’s most heavily trafficked commercial waterways.”
But it is now impossible to ignore that China is attempting to redefine its relationship to America and the rules of world order. Under Mr. Xi, Beijing sees itself as a strategic rival rather than a partner. Its foreign policy is increasingly aggressive, sometimes lawless, a reality that’s become clear even to the Obama Administration. The U.S. needs to show that it will resist this behavior—even as it seeks to steer China’s leadership back toward global norms.
China’s lawlessness is most obvious at sea and in cyberspace. Since 2010 Chinese leaders have claimed “indisputable sovereignty” over most of the South China Sea, covering an area more than twice the Gulf of Mexico and among the world’s most heavily trafficked commercial waterways. The dubious basis for this claim is a dotted-line on a 1947 Chinese Nationalist map—the same Nationalists Mao Zedong exiled to Taiwan in 1949.
Beijing’s leaders have used this map to assert maritime claims against Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. They also make claims against Japan. Their aggressive island-building, which has created 2,900 acres of new land, is the most visible example.
But China has also cut the cables of a Vietnamese oil-exploration vessel, harassed U.S. Navy ships in international waters, and declared an air-defense identification zone over Japan’s Senkaku Islands. This is what Sun Tzu meant when he said that “supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
China has also developed cyberwarfare capabilities that could cripple U.S. infrastructure. This threat can seem abstract, but think of what would happen if, without warning, the U.S. electricity grid went down, air-traffic control systems froze, and U.S. banks lost customer data….(read more)
- Aquino pokes fun at Beijing’s South China Sea claims, praises Japan (globalnation.inquirer.net)
- Third South China Sea airstrip being built, says expert, citing satellite photos (theguardian.com)
- The China Challenge: Island-building – A Military Threat in the South China Sea (freebeacon.com)
- President Xi Jinping’s military reshuffle in China centralises power (irishtimes.com)
- Chinese president Xi to stop in Seattle for 3-day visit next week (komonews.com)
- China to host ASEAN defence ministers amid South China Sea tension (channelnewsasia.com)
- South China Sea images reveal impact on coral of Beijing’s military bases (theguardian.com)
- Ashton Carter: Beijing should end activities in South China Sea (updatednews.ca)
- Philippines leader pokes fun at Beijing’s South China Sea claims, praises Japan (spacewar.com)