China risks war as it pushes territorial claims on three fronts
By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun columnist April 29, 2013
As it pursues its territorial ambitions, China is following an increasingly belligerent course that could easily tip into war with its neighbours.
In the last few days, elements of the People’s Liberation Army have aggressively intruded into the territory of both Japan and India.
At the same time, China has ratcheted up its rhetoric with Vietnam and the Philippines as those countries attempt to assert their sovereignty over disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Of the three flashpoints, by far the most threatening is the increasingly aggressive games of chicken Beijing’s military forces are playing over and around Japan’s Senkaku Islands, known in Chinese as the Diaoyutai, in the East China Sea.
Last Tuesday, 40 Chinese military planes, mostly jet fighters, flew close to the cluster of five uninhabited islands, prompting Japan to scramble F-15 fighter planes from an airbase on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
At the same time, eight Chinese maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone around the islands marking Japan’s territorial waters.
Japanese newspapers quoted a Tokyo government official as describing last week’s actions by the Chinese forces as “an unprecedented threat. If such a show of force continues, it is feared it could lead to a situation where the Japanese air defence force may not be able to cope.”
The incursions are the biggest since China started this campaign of elbowing the Japanese defence forces on Dec. 13 last year.
That was the anniversary of the 1937 capture of the Chinese city of Nanking by invading Japanese forces, which was followed by a massacre of civilians.
One of the most aggressive Chinese moves was on Jan. 30 when a Chinese frigate locked its missile-control radar on a Japanese navy destroyer and later on a Japanese helicopter.
Locking radar onto a target is the last step before firing a missile, and tells an adversary that an attack could be just seconds away.
In such a situation, it is all too easy for misjudgments to be made and a conflict to start by accident.
But China is evidently prepared to take that risk in pursuit of its claim to the Senkakus.
On Friday, a spokeswomen for China’s Foreign Ministry told reporters that the Senkakus are one of the country’s “core interests,” a phrase it usually reserves for issues which Beijing considers non-negotiable and over which it is prepared to go to war.
The “core interests” phrase is also applied by Beijing to its claim to the island nation of Taiwan, and to almost the entire South China Sea as far south as the territorial waters of Indonesia.
Beijing’s long-standing border dispute with India in the Himalayas, which spawned a brief but intense war in 1962, comes from China’s occupation of India’s northern neighbour, Tibet.
In recent years, both China and India have beefed up their military presence on the border, and although there are mechanisms in place to minimize conflicts on the ground, these happen with regularity.
On April 15, China sent a platoon of soldiers 20 kilometres inside Indian-controlled territory, where they have established a camp.
The camp is at Ladakh, close to the strategic Karakoram Pass.
India has called on China to remove the soldiers, but several meetings between local army commanders and diplomats have failed to resolve the issue.
The incursion by the Chinese has raised a public storm in India, with many commentators accusing Beijing of taking advantage of the weakness of the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is set to retire before next year’s elections.
There are also demands that India use force if necessary to get the Chinese to withdraw, otherwise Beijing will be encouraged to continue trying to change the reality on the ground.
The reality on the ground is also changing rapidly in the South China Sea, where China is moving forcefully to establish a presence and thus a semblance of sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly chains of islands, islets and shoals.
The Spratly and Paracel groups, whose exclusive economic zones include bountiful fishing grounds and large submarine oil and gas deposits, are also claimed in part by Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia.
But China is acting with bullish belligerence in defence of another of its “core interests,” confronting Philippines’ coast guard vessels and harassing Vietnamese survey ships in contested waters.
China’s state-controlled media has threatened both Vietnam and the Philippines with war, and on Friday, Beijing condemned the Manila government for taking their dispute to the United Nations.
Vietnam, meanwhile, is strengthening its relations with the United States as a bulwark against China.
In a highly visible sign of Washington’s support for the Hanoi government, on Tuesday last week the U.S. consul-general in Ho Chi Minh City accompanied Vietnamese officials on a visit to an island claimed by China in the Paracel group.
China officially labels Senkakus a ‘core interest’
BEIJING – The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced for the first time Friday that China regards the Senkaku Islands a “core interest.”
“The Diaoyu Islands are about sovereignty and territorial integrity. Of course, it’s China’s core interest,” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press conference, using China’s name for the Japanese-administered isles in the East China Sea. Taiwan claims the isles as the Tiaoyutai.
China usually uses the term when addressing such issues as Taiwan, Tibet and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Now Beijing has clarified that it also pertains to the Senkakus.
The statement suggests that China does not intend to make any concessions on the islets, which it claims have been its inherent territory since ancient times.
Hua made the comment after Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told NHK in Tokyo that Chinese officials repeatedly told him during his visit to Beijing earlier in the week that the Senkakus are “one of China’s core interests.”
After China Declares Senkaku/Diaoyu a Core Interest, U.S. Will Pressure Japan to Negotiate
Chinese troops erect 1 more tent at DBO, standoff enters 3rd week
By PTI | 29 Apr, 2013, 07.44PM IST
LEH/NEW DELHI: Chinese troops have erected one more tent in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector in Ladakh raising to five the number of such structures in the area of incursion, as the standoff between India and China today entered the third week.
With China showing no signs of withdrawing its troops from the Indian territory, Sources said efforts to break the impasse over the incursion are yielding no results because of its insistence that some bunkers constructed by India at a key vantage point be dismantled.
China is understood to have laid down this condition before the Indian side for pulling back from the place 19 Km inside the Indian territory in DBO where around 50 troops have been camping for the last over two weeks, sources said.
The Government is seized of this issue at the meetings of the China Study Group headed by the National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and including Secretaries of key Ministries such as Defence, Home and External Affairs, sources said.
The rigidity shown by the Chinese over its demand is also one of the reasons behind more Flag meetings between the two sides not being held for over a week, they said.
Sources said the vantage point is at a junction between two mountains in Ladakh area from where the Indian troops could remain unseen and oversee the activities of the Chinese troops in that area.
After the Chinese troops observed the Indian position there due to the movement of vehicles and soldiers, they intruded into Indian territory on April 15 to press for their demands, the sources said.
The vantage point is at a location which is claimed by both sides as their territory, they said.
The sources also said Chinese soldiers are getting continued supplies from trucks and light vehicles from its side of the border.
According to a detailed report from the site of incursion, the additional tent has come up after three failed Flag meetings between Indian and Chinese Armies at Chashul.
As the government came under opposition attack on the incursion issue, Congress said it is well aware of the situation in Ladakh. "As and when an appropriate action is necessary, the government will take it," Congress spokesperson Sandip Dikshit said.
He also emphasized that war is not an option in such scenarios.
Chinese troops 19km inside Indian territory, govt admits
TNN | Apr 27, 2013, 01.13 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The government on Friday for the first time admitted that People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops had intruded as much as 19 km inside Indian territory to pitch their tents there, even as it kept a third flag meeting between local commanders in eastern Ladakh "on hold'' to give China "time and space'' to withdraw its soldiers on its own.
This formal admission came in a note submitted by defence secretary Shashikant Sharma to the parliamentary standing committee on defence, which said India has "deployed forces to keep a close watch on the border'' after over 30 PLA troops intruded 19 km into the Depsang Bulge area of Ladakh on April 15.
With rival soldiers locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation for the last 11 days at an altitude of 16,300 feet, this is the worst-ever standoff between the armies in over 25 years. Amid the flurry of top-level meetings among defence minister A K Antony, national security advisor Shivshankar Menon and Army chief General Bikram Singh on Friday, contingency plans to plug operational gaps and defences in Chumar, Spanggur Gap and the areas surrounding Depsang Valley were also reviewed.
The IAF, too, resumed its air-dropping of supplies to Army troops on the ground in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector after they were briefly stopped in wake of the "deep'' Chinese intrusion.
Sources said India is "not in a hurry'' to hold another flag meeting in Ladakh after the first two such meets on April 18 and April 23 failed to break the deadlock and ended with only charges being traded between the two armies. China, in fact, is believed to have now asked for a flag meeting but India has kept the request "pending'' to see if diplomatic channels being worked deliver results over the next few days.
A day after foreign minister Salman Khurshid held India was "not a pushover'' and that he hoped the Chinese incursion issue would be resolved before he visits Beijing on May 9, defence minister A K Antony said, "Negotiations and consultations are going on at various levels to find a peaceful solution to the Chinese incursion issue.''
The defence secretary and other MoD officials appeared before the parliamentary committee after its members wanted to know the actual ground situation in Ladakh. The meeting of the committee was cut short as the "quorum'' was incomplete and the members present were also dissatisfied with the sketchy information provided by the officials. The next meeting of the committee on May 30 will now take up the matter.
As per the note, it was on April 16 that Indian Army patrols reported the presence of the PLA troops in Depsang "19 km west of the Line of Actual Control and beyond our understanding of the Chinese perception of LAC''.
"As per established mechanisms, the issue has been taken up at the level of flag meetings and through diplomatic channels to maintain status quo and resolve the issue through existing mechanisms,'' it said.
China's Conquest of Africa
By Andreas Lorenz and Thilo Thielke
China is conquering Africa as it becomes the preferred trading partner of the continent's dictators. Beijing is buying up Africa's abundant natural resources and providing it with needed cash and cheaply produced consumer goods in return.
Thomas Mumba was a devout young man. He spent his free time studying the Holy Scriptures and directing the church choir at the United Church of Zambia in his hometown of Chambeshi. Mumba, a bachelor, was also committed to abstinence -- from beer and from sex before marriage. A larger-than-life depiction of Jesus Christ surrounded by a herd of sheep still hangs in his room. The poster is pure "Made in China" kitsch, like most things here in the Zambian copper belt, located more than a six hours' drive north of the capital Lusaka.
Mumba, a shy, slight young man, bought the Chinese-made religious image at a local market and hung it up at home. It was cheap, cheaper than goods from Europe, at any rate. Mumba's Chinese Jesus cost him 4,000 kwacha, or about 75 cents. "It was his first encounter with the evil empire," says Thomas's mother Justina Mulumba, two years after the accident that would change her entire life.
Thomas Mumba died on April 20, 2005 when an explosives depot blew up in the Chambeshi copper mine. He had just turned 23 and had been working in the mine for two years. To this day, no one knows how many people died that day, because the mine's Chinese owners attempted to cover up what they knew about the accident. Besides, they had kept no records of who was working near the explosion site on the day of the accident.
According to the memorial plaque, there were 46 victims, but it could just as easily have been 50 or 60. Only fragments of the remains of most of the dead were recovered. Mukuka Chilufya, the engineer who managed the rescue team, says that his men filled 49 sacks with body parts that day. The Chinese have deflected all inquiries about the explosion.
1946 China occupied East Turkistan aka Xinjiang Uyghurunder under the name of peace.
1947 Invasion and occupation of Inner Mongolia under the name of liberation.
1949 China invaded and occupied Uighur.
1950 People's Volunteer Army conducted an armed intervention in the Korean War. The another purpose of the intervention is to eliminating
the number of ex-soldiers of Kuomintang (KMT). If it wins or loses, there was a cruel plot behind.
1951 Invasion of Tibet.
1958 Great Leap Forward caused millions of deaths of starvation. Protestors were suppressed, tortured and slaughtered.
1959 Border conflict with India.
1962 Several border conflicts and skirmishes between China and India. Southern part of the feet of Himalaya Mountains and Ladakh region in Kashmir state
were put under occupation.
1966~ It killed millions of people during the era of The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
1969 China and Soviet joined battle over Zhenbao Island.
1979 China invaded Vietnam to "punish" them. Although the Vietnamese government requested an official apology for the invasion from the them,
the Chinese government rejected it, commenting "We must look for the future. On the one hand, it has requested Japan to be sorry for the past.
1989 The Tiananmen Square Massacre. The People's Liberation Army suppressed pro-democracy students' protests, using tanks.
1992 It claimed Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands with the adoption of the Law on the Territorial Waters and Contiguous Areas (domestic law of China)
1995 Mischief Reef, which Philippines had claimed, was occupied by China.
1996 Series of missile tests were conducted by China in Taiwan Strait. Intimidation to Taiwan.
1997 China claimed Senkaku islands which Japan asserted to be indigenous to itself.
China is a nation without true friends
Sergei Karpukhin, Reuters
Internal reform, not charm offensives, will make its neighbours less anxious
(Mar 31, 2007)
Like the emergence of Germany in the 19th century and of United States in the 20th, China's rapid rise to superpower status generates as much fear as admiration. The fears are most acute in its own neighbourhood.
Yet from a historical perspective, one of the more remarkable developments of recent years may be China's submission to the tiny threads of international constraint, especially in its own region.
It belongs to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, whose members span the Pacific. The East Asia Summit and the regional forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) tie it closer to its Asian neighbours. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation links it with Russia and Central Asia.
More than this, it has shown active good-neighbourliness. A generation ago, China disputed most of its borders. Almost all have been settled, with the notable exceptions of those with Japan at sea and India in the Himalayas.
Even in the case of the huge claims China and India have on each other's territory, China has acquiesced in seemingly never-ending talks allowing relations to improve in other areas.
It no longer routinely provokes its southern neighbours by flexing naval muscle around the sand-and-coral specks in the South China Sea where six countries' claims overlap. It has begun to "consult," after a fashion, the states affected when it dams its rivers, such as the Mekong and the Salween.
This political tactfulness has been accompanied by an unplanned makeover of its economic image. A decade ago, China's new role as the world's workshop was one indirect cause of regional financial crisis.
Investors began to take fright at the scale of current-account deficits in countries such as Thailand, where export growth had stalled or slowed, in part as a result of new competition from China.
Many in the region saw China's supercharged growth as a threat. Many still do, but these days just as many see it as an opportunity. Most Asian countries enjoy surpluses in their trade with China. And yet, if you scour the region for China's firm friends it is hard to find them. Even Russia, where China's president, Hu Jintao, was this week pressing the flesh, is a fair-weather friend or rather sees China as a foul-weather insurance policy. India and Japan, China's other big regional counterparts, both view it with suspicion at best and, at worst, paranoia.
That leaves as China's chums a scanty list of Neanderthal dictatorships, such as Myanmar and North Korea, and even their friendship does not amount to much. Far from being a loyal client, Myanmar plays China off against India and its fellow members of ASEAN. And China's relationship, famously "as close as lips and teeth," with North Korea spawned a mouth ulcer last October when North Korea let off a nuclear weapon.
North Korea's cruel but cunning despot Kim Jong Il exploits China's fear that, if his vile regime collapses, China might have a strong, U.S.-allied democratic Korea on its border.
Why are China's neighbours not always susceptible to its charms? Of course, any rapidly emerging big power is unsettling. Like the U.S., China can still display a penchant for unilateralism that undermines all its careful diplomacy. As it overtakes United States as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, its cavalier disregard of the global environment will become an ever bigger issue in its foreign relations.
More traditional fears also unsettle China's neighbours. This month China's annual budget called for another big increase (nearly 18 per cent) in military spending. Most analysts believe the published budget is understated, in which case why trumpet such a big number? And why, without warning, blow up a satellite in space as a Chinese missile did in January?
A perception, therefore, persists that China's goodwill extends only so far as its interests are not affected. In its dispute with India, for example, it is the status-quo power: it is happy with the present arrangements, so what has it to lose by talking forever?
In one crucial respect, however, it is far from a status-quo power: its historically dubious and morally untenable claim on Taiwan.
This is one big reason, other than merely acting the big-power part, for the military buildup and could one day bring war with the real superpower.
A much better Taiwan policy is available to China. The "one country, two systems" formula promised to Hong Kong in 1997, which mirrored that offered to the Dalai Lama's Tibet in 1951, was aimed in large measure at the more important goal to China of coaxing Taiwan back into the "motherland."
But China has sabotaged its own strategy. Like the long history of repression in Tibet, the farcical "re-election" on March 25 of Hong Kong's British-trained, Chinese-adopted chief executive Donald Tsang by a committee dominated by China's placemen shows how little China cares to lend substance to its promises of autonomy and democracy -- even though Tsang would probably have won a real election anyway.
Murder made in China
THERE WAS A time when Americans worried about China because it was communist. But times change, and
today the reason to worry about China is that it is capitalist -- in an especially unrestrained, unprincipled way.
Some baleful consequences of China's idolatry of pure market forces are illuminated in a new report from
Amnesty International on Chinese arms exports: ``China: Sustaining Conflict and Human Rights Abuses."
The Amnesty report is particularly compelling because it is free of ideological or geopolitical polemics.
Amnesty's purpose in disclosing Beijing's arms transfers to murderous regimes in Sudan, Burma, Nepal,
and Iran is simply to help protect the victims: to defend the universal principle of human rights.
the state of Arunachal Pradesh is the Chinese territory
NEW DELHI, Nov 14 (AP) _ China's ambassador to India reiterated his country's claim to a wide
swath of northeastern India, prompting a sharp reaction from Indian officials Tuesday, barely
a week before the Chinese president's visit. Chinese Ambassador Sun Yuxi repeated the claim
in an interview broadcast Monday night, telling the CNN-IBN news channel that ``the whole
of what you call the state of Arunachal Pradesh is the Chinese territory. ... We are claiming the
whole of that.'' Early Tuesday, Indian officials struck back. ``Arunachal Pradesh is an integral
part of India,'' Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters. In Beijing, Chinese Foreign
Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China's position on the issue ``has been clear.'' ``It can
be resolved through friendly consultation,'' Jiang said without giving any more details. Chinese
President Hu Jintao is scheduled to visit India Nov.20-23
US, Australia, Japan focus on China's growing might in defense talks
Sydney: China's growing power will top the agenda in unprecedented security talks between
the United States, Japan and Australia during a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week.
Rice arrived in Australia Wednesday evening and begins three days of meetings Thursday, culminating
in the first ministerial-level Trilateral Security Dialogue with the Australian and Japanese foreign ministers,
Alexander Downer and Taro Aso.
China map lays claim to Americas
Assembly members alarmed by road construction across northern boundary
Posted on Wednesday, June 08
The members of the National Assembly expressed their shock and alarm when the Haa chimi
informed the house that the Chinese were building motor roads across the international border
and into Bhutanese territory… 中国（チベット地域）との国境で、中国人たちが国境を越えて
Stand-off in the skies as Chinese planes buzz Japan's airspace
CHINESE aircraft are looking for blind spots in Japan's air defences in regular sorties reminiscent of Cold War tactics
used by the Soviet Union.
Regional 'godfather' or local bully?
A look at China's relations with its neighbors
(CNN) -- China's policies concerning its regional neighbors appear, at first, to be quite idiosyncratic.
One year after its founding in 1949, the People's Republic entered a war on the side of Communist ally North Korea against an anti-Communist United Nations force. Three decades later Chinese troops clashed with forces from Communist Vietnam in a brief war that combined a border dispute with ideological issues.
In recent years China has quarreled with Japan over who controls a desolate group of islands 112 miles northeast of Taiwan. The islands, which the Chinese call Diaoyu and the Japanese call Senkaku, are known historically as productive fisheries, but the area also may contain oil and gas reserves.
Beijing also has claimed total control over the Spratly Islands, an archipelago believed to be rich in oil and mineral deposits off the coast of southern Vietnam in the South China Sea. That assertion is contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, each of which claims all or part of the Spratlys.
China's mixed signals
China officially pursues what it calls an "independent and peaceful foreign policy."
"China does not participate in the arms race, nor does it seek military expansion," said then-Chinese Premier Li Peng in a 1996 speech intended to clarify Beijing's foreign policy.
Li also underscored China's opposition to hegemonism -- one nation seeking greater influence over another. China, he said, was against "power politics, aggression and expansion in whatever form, as well as encroachments perpetrated by one country on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another, or interference in the internal affairs of another nation under the pretext of ethnic, religious or human rights issues."
Warren Cohen, professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, says Beijing's regional policies are sending a mixed message.
"What you get is a signal that 'We have the power.' But there's a certain amount of restraint. They want very much to be the dominant power in East Asia without having to use force," said Cohen, author of several books on China, including "America's Response to China."
Michael Swaine, research director for the Rand Corporation's Center for Asia-Pacific Policy, believes China wants to assert its control over certain parts of East Asia without letting the process escalate into a military confrontation.
Swaine says there have been exceptions to that rule, such as China's brief wars with India in 1962 and with Vietnam in 1979.
"The Chinese have used military force in the past in the belief they could convey a lesson," he says. "They do believe military force can be applied in a limited situation to back up diplomacy."