Thu, Dec 08, 2005 - Page 8 News List

What exactly is China's ambition?

By Hideaki Kaneda

The "pearls" in Africa include Sudan, Angola, Algeria, Gabon, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Djibouti, Mali, Central Africa, Liberia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In each country, China is nurturing special military and commercial relations intended to promote loyalty to Chinese interests.

As in Asia, there is a pattern at work: Growing Chinese influence begets increased support for Chinese policies. Of course, it's a two-way street. Whenever complaints come up in the UN Human Rights Committee, China can count on the support of many African countries that have their own human rights problems. Even the selection of Beijing as the site of the 2008 Olympics benefited from "African votes." And China has publicly stated that it will back African nations in potential disputes at the WTO and other international organizations.

Similarly, many African states now seem to be leaning heavily toward China in its dispute with Taiwan. When Japan's government tried to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, few African countries backed its bid, despite having received economic aid for decades.

China likes to boast of its "peaceful rise." But the rise of Bismarck's Germany at the end of the 19th century was also peaceful -- for a while. The question is not whether China rises to great-power status peacefully, but whether it intends to remain peaceful when it gets there. Just as the world confronted the "German Question" 125 years ago, it is now confronting the "China Question." We need a better answer this time.

Hideaki Kaneda, a retired vice-admiral of Japan's Self-Defense Force, is currently director of the Okazaki Institute.

Copyright: Project Syndicate

This story has been viewed 4457 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top