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A collision in the Asia-Pacific region

8 May 2013 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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 ‘Asian and Western observers have noted that China blamed the United States as the one destabilising the region, and predicted its rise as a new world superpower.’
China has blamed the United States as the one destabilising the Asia-Pacific Region, ignoring its own bullying of Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, which have territorial claims in the South China Sea. This was contained in a white paper written by China’s Ministry of Defence released by Beijing last week. 
 
It spelled out its strategic world-view, security priorities, military programmes, and the armed forces with a headcount of 1.4 million.
 
Both Asian and Western political observers and analysts have interpreted China’s strategic weltanschauung as an assertion of itself as the world’s new superpower. And this is the reason why, as I wrote in last week’s columns, the Asian colossus has been acting so arrogantly, brushing aside the calls of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a Code of Conduct and peaceful dialogue in settling conflicting territorial disputes in the South China Seas.And now one perceptive China watcher, Bernie Lopez of the Australian-based EastWind Journals, has emailed to us this commentary (titled “Towards a U.S.-China Confrontation”) about what he described as China’s own brand of hegemony as compared to that of the U.S. Here is his six-paragraph commentary in full:
 
“China recently criticised the White House for strengthening military forces and alliances in Asia under the so-called ‘pivot’ to Asia policy, which China said was destabilizing the Asia-Pacific region. The protest cited specifically four US allies – Vietnam, Philippines, and South Korea, and Japan. Ironically, Vietnam was a former ally of China during its war with the U.S. The goal of ‘pivot’ to Asia is to have 60% of US naval forces in the APR by 2020.
 

“But China also has its own brand of hegemony, varying only in style. Whereas the U.S. resorts to physical military presence through bases, troops, and mobile carriers and subs, China resorts to territorial takeovers. China has unilaterally occupied disputed islands such as Spratleys in the Philippines, Senkaku and Diaoyu in Japan, and the Paracels in Vietnam, which they acquired in 1974, to name some. China has territorial disputes with Brunei, India, and Malaysia, not to mention its occupation of Tibet. The US style is expensive, the Chinese cheaper by far.
 
“China has quintupled its annual defence budget within the last 14 years, and has inched closer as the second highest in military spending, with a frenzy of new lethal weapons in the last decade, including a Mac-10 missile, against which a US carrier may theoretically not be able to react in time, stealth aircrafts with larger payload and range, a maiden carrier, no matter how crude, new stealth subs and drones to rival those of the US, and a vast underground Air Force with nuclear missiles.
“The way the Bear and the Eagle are in a drive to frenzy all over Asia, there is bound to be a collision of massive proportion, perhaps even by accident. A potential war between two nuclear giants, no matter how cautious they are, gives us sleepless nights. North Korea is just one of many potential flashpoints. 
 
“The entire Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Chinese and Japanese seas are vast potential points of accidental stealth submarine encounters. The catalyst to Armageddon is the grapple over the last dwindling energy and raw materials, which is concentrated in the Asia -Pacific region. China’s rapid economic growth is demanding vast amount of resources.
 
“An ominous Chinese statement reads: ‘We will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked.’ When you use the word ‘attack’ three times in a sentence, you are giving a veiled threat. The key to a collision is the mindsets of trigger happy warriors on both sides, even if the rulers are cautious pacifists.”
 
Other China watchers, like Uli Schmetzer, German-born and well-known foreign correspondent and author of “The Chinese Juggernaut” and Martin Jacques, who currently writes a regular column for The Guardian in London and author of “When China Rules the World,” have both predicted the rise of China as a new world superpower.
 
Schmetzer, who has been based in Beijing and Manila for many years, wrote that “similar to America, whose main ambition is access to resources and guarantees for investments, the Chinese will become part of our populations, leaders in academia, the economy and politics, if only because their commercial acumen and their ruthless determination to succeed has made them the new settlers of the world.”
 
Jacques, who is not only a columnist of The Guardian but also a senior fellow at the London School of Economics Asia Research Center, predicted China as “a rising global power.” China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy by 2027, he said, and by 2050 its economy will be twice as large as that of the U.S. But he also revealled that Chinese influence will extend beyond the economic sphere. 
 
Their predictions are indeed bold and probably credible, but only time will tell us how those prophesies will pan out or turn out well in the coming decades of the 21st century. Courtesy: www.malaya.com
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