Thu, Jan 13, 2011 - Page 8 News List

The Chinese dragon bares its teeth

By Sushil Seth

Third, China didn’t expect that its Asian neighbors would be unduly upset by its proclamation of a new Chinese version of the Monroe Doctrine, believing that by now they had already been resolved to accepting Beijing’s regional primacy.

However, it had the opposite effect of bringing countries like Japan, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Singapore and others closer to Washington. In other words, Beijing overestimated its regional role.

Xu Guangyu (徐光宇), a retired Chinese general, reportedly said: “We kept silent about territorial disputes with our neighbors in the past [in the South China Sea and elsewhere] because our navy was incapable of defending economic zones, but now the navy is able to carry out its task.”

Of course, these disputes had existed and China had pledged to solve them peacefully.

However, reflecting China’s new confidence, Wang Hanlin (王漢林), a maritime expert, said: “Even if they [China’s Southeast Asian neighbors] succeed in joining together [against China], they are still not strong enough to defeat China.”

Fourth, with its growing economy, China’s military budget over the years has grown annually by double-digit figures — now at around US$100 billion — which is enabling Beijing to build up a powerful military machine both for offensive operations, as well as creating a powerful deterrent against US naval supremacy.

According to recent reports, China has been developing missiles to sink US aircraft carriers.

And along the imperialist tradition, China is building a strong navy to protect its economic interests across the world.

As Chinese Rear Admiral Zhang Huachen (張華臣), deputy commander of China’s East Sea Fleet, has reportedly said: “With the expansion of the country’s economic interests, the navy wants to better protect the country’s transportation routes and the safety of our major sea-lanes” (including by purporting to annex the South China Sea).

If China’s purpose last year was to formally assert its regional supremacy, it hasn’t succeeded all that well.

Over the past few years, China has sought to convince the world, especially its neighbors, that its rise would be peaceful and that it would never aspire for hegemony. What it did and said last year, however, didn’t square with any sort of “peaceful rise.”

There is disturbing arrogance emanating from Zhongnanhai. An example of this was recounted by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Beijing correspondent, John Garnaut, in an interview he did last month with the state-run Global Times editor Hu Xijin (胡錫進).

“In our interview, he [Hu] didn’t seem to care whether his [verbal] missiles were aimed at me personally or my profession, my country or the wider Western world,” Garnaut wrote.

For Hu, Australia was too insignificant to lecture China, because “you are driving a cart and we are driving a truck,” according to Garnaut.

“Ditto for Japan, given its entire stock of highways was no greater than China could build in a single year. And the New York Times was ‘full of lies,’” Garnaut wrote.

In other words, last year was an ugly year for the region, with the Chinese dragon baring its teeth, indicating turbulent times ahead.

This story has been viewed 14985 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