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US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
Topic: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) (Read 49182 times)
Did we just concede the South China Sea to China?!?
Reply #300 on:
May 16, 2015, 12:41:15 PM »
U.S. Seeks Calmer Waters
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls for reduced tensions over China’s building of artificial islands
Photos by satellite-imagery provider DigitalGlobe shows what is believed to be Chinese vessels dredging sand at Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. ENLARGE
Photos by satellite-imagery provider DigitalGlobe shows what is believed to be Chinese vessels dredging sand at Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
May 16, 2015 8:33 a.m. ET
BEIJING—Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing is determined to protect its sovereignty in the South China Sea as his visiting U.S. counterpart John Kerry called for efforts to reduce tensions over China’s stepped-up building of artificial islands.
At a joint news conference Saturday, Mr. Kerry briefly expressed concern about the land reclamation in the South China Sea and urged China to take steps to defuse the situation. He tried to emphasize other positive aspects of bilateral relations, such as cooperation on climate change.
Mr. Kerry didn’t respond to a reporter’s question on whether the U.S. military is planning to send warships or planes within 12 nautical miles of the artificial islands, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
Mr. Wang took up the question, however, saying the structures fall within the scope of China’s sovereignty.
“The determination of the Chinese side to safeguard our own sovereignty and territorial integrity is as firm as a rock and it is unshakable,” Mr. Wang said. “It is the demand of our people on our government as well as a legitimate right of ours.”
Mr. Wang said China is committed to resolving territorial disputes peacefully and would continue ongoing talks about the artificial islands with the U.S. and other nations.
The two men had met earlier for talks on the first day of Mr. Kerry’s weekend visit to Beijing, which officials say is designed to lay the ground for high-level meetings by senior officials in Washington in June, and a state visit to the U.S. by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September.
Mr. Kerry was due to meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday afternoon and Mr. Xi on Sunday before moving on to South Korea.
The visit to Beijing has been overshadowed by differences on the South China Sea, where Beijing’s extensive land reclamation in the past year has raised fresh concerns in Asia and the U.S. that it plans to use force to assert its sweeping territorial claims.
China’s claims cover almost all of the South China Sea—one of the world’s busiest shipping routes—and overlap with those of several neighboring countries, including the Philippines, a U.S. treaty ally.
The U.S. military is now considering sending navy ships and aircraft within 12 nautical miles of the artificial islands to demonstrate that the U.S. doesn't believe China can claim territorial seas around them, U.S. officials say.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a joint news conference in Beijing on Saturday, May 16, 2015. ENLARGE
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a joint news conference in Beijing on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Photo: Zuma Press
Ahead of Mr. Kerry’s visit, U.S. officials had said that he would take a tough line on the issue in Beijing.
At the news conference, Mr. Kerry said the U.S. had already expressed its concern over the pace and scope of China’s island-building.
“I urged China through Foreign Minister Wang to take actions that will join with everybody in helping to reduce tensions and increase the prospect of a diplomatic solution,” he said. The region, he said, needs “smart diplomacy” to achieve a code of conduct for the South China Sea rather than “outposts and military strips.”
Mr. Kerry also played down other points of recent tension, saying the U.S. welcomed China’s establishment of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The Obama administration at first tried to discourage allies from joining, U.S. officials and diplomats from allied countries have said, but switched to a more cooperative position when the bank, which is due to start operating this year, attracted many prospective members.
Mr. Wang said the infrastructure bank and other recent Chinese initiatives weren't aimed at reducing U.S. influence in Asia, noting that 23 of the 57 founding members of the new bank were not Asian nations.
“When we talk about openness and inclusiveness, we’re not simply talking the talk—we’re actually walking the walk,” Mr. Wang said.
Write to Jeremy Page at
Popular on WSJ
It seems China has won a battle without firing a shot. US appears to be fully confused and disoriented as "loopholes" in the global order are ruthlessly exploited by many who like to serve and eat salami slices.
Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
Reply #301 on:
May 16, 2015, 12:46:10 PM »
Anyone surprised? China will take full advantage of our self induced weakness.
Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
Reply #302 on:
May 16, 2015, 12:53:44 PM »
The lack of attention to China seizing control of the open seas wherein 40% of the world's trade transits boggles the mind.
Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
Reply #303 on:
May 16, 2015, 01:02:04 PM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on May 16, 2015, 12:53:44 PM
The lack of attention to China seizing control of the open seas wherein 40% of the world's trade transits boggles the mind.
America is busy watching the Kardashians eat salad.
China warns US overflight
Reply #304 on:
May 22, 2015, 03:02:11 PM »
WSJ: Obama gets one right!
Reply #305 on:
May 23, 2015, 11:18:23 AM »
May 22, 2015 6:23 p.m. ET
The U.S. Navy flew a P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane this week over the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands, where Beijing is building military bases atop reefs and rocks claimed by several of its neighbors. A CNN team invited along for the mission reported that China’s military repeatedly tried to order the U.S. plane away. “This is the Chinese navy,” it radioed in English. “Please go away . . . to avoid misunderstanding.” The U.S. crew responded each time that it was flying through international airspace.
Opinion Journal Video
American Enterprise Institute Scholar Michael Auslin on the Secretary of State’s latest diplomatic efforts. Plus, feminists call for a unified Korea. Photo credit: Associated Press.
By flying over the Spratlys, the U.S. provided its most forceful rejection to date of Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over an area that lies more than 600 miles from China’s coast. It also signaled that Washington would defend the freedom of the seas and the maritime rights of its partners.
And not a moment too soon. In recent years Beijing has expelled Philippine boats from certain fisheries, cut the cables of Vietnamese oil-exploration ships, and intercepted U.S. military vessels. Chinese dredgers have nearly doubled the total landmass of the Spratlys—creating more than 2,000 new acres, or some 1,500 football fields—in an attempt to extend Chinese military reach and its political claims.
For years diplomats got nowhere politely asking Beijing to stop. In 2012 the Obama Administration did not send naval forces to stop Chinese civilian and coast guard ships from banishing Filipinos from Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing area north of the Spratlys and inside the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone. The episode was barely noticed in the U.S. but raised alarms throughout Asia.
To its credit, the Administration has since toughened its response. After China declared an air-defense identification zone over Japan’s Senkaku Islands, a pair of B-52 bombers soon overflew the area. But U.S. officials claimed that was a previously scheduled mission unrelated to China’s gambit. This week’s overflight, by contrast, was an explicit response to China’s island-building, with the military releasing once-classified surveillance footage and bringing the media along for the ride.
In March a bipartisan group of Senate leaders demanded briefings on “specific actions the United States can take to slow down or stop China’s reclamation activities,” including possible military measures, changes in U.S.-China relations and expanded cooperation with Asian allies and partners. U.S. officials also say they are considering sending naval patrols past China’s artificial islands to reinforce that the waters around the Spratlys aren’t China’s to control.
That would be the right move. The longer the U.S. fails to contest Beijing’s South China Sea claims, the more aggressive China will become in asserting those claims—and perhaps the more willing it will be to fight for them. The time to resist Beijing’s maritime pretensions is now.
Popular on WSJ
Obama will do nothing for fear of damaging his legacy of non-involvement. Obama will do nothing about China trying to take over the South China Sea for fear of damaging his legacy of non-involvement. He will do nothing about the lack of education of poor children largely caused by teachers unions putting their pay and pensions way above the needs of poor children. He will do nothing about the lack of meaningful actions by Congress. He will do nothing effective about Putin's actions to increase his power. He will not stop ISIS. He will work on his pitching wedge shots.
Lee Hartwig 2 hours ago
China's Military Blueprint
Reply #306 on:
May 26, 2015, 09:01:39 PM »
China laid out its military strategy in its first-ever defense white paper, promising not to hit first, but vowing to strike back hard if attacked in a world full of what it sees as potential threats.
The paper, released by China’s State Council, the chief administrative body of the Chinese government, is especially noteworthy at a time of heightened tensions with the United States over China’s aggressive behavior in disputed areas of the South China Sea. On Monday, Chinese state media spoke of war with the United States as “inevitable” if the United States keep pressing Beijing on its illegal activities; in the United States, meanwhile, the consensus over accommodating China’s rise seems to have given way to a more hawkish stance on the need to contain the rising Asian giant.
China’s new white paper provides plenty of points of continuity with past strategies, especially with Mao Zedong’s doctrine of “active defense,” known in the United States as the Billy Martin school of conflict management (“I never threw the first punch; I threw the second four.”)
At the same time, though, the defense blueprint breaks new ground. It codifies the ongoing transformation of China into a true maritime power, and puts more emphasis on high-seas, offensive naval operations. More broadly, it envisions a much bigger, global role for Chinese armed forces than had previously been the case, and in some places echoes the famously hawkish Chinese views of thinkers such as Liu Mingfu, whose bestselling book “The China Dream” paints a vision of nearly inevitable conflict between the two global titans.
Here are some of the main takeaways from the white paper’s English-language version.
Times may be peaceful, but things sure look scary in Beijing
The defense strategy’s starting point is a generally benign global environment: “Peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit have become an irresistible tide of the times,” the paper says. “In the foreseeable future, a world war is unlikely, and the international situation is expected to remain generally peaceful.”
But that doesn’t mean everything’s rosy from the vantage point of Chinese leaders. Traditional security threats have been compounded by new threats, from terrorism to cyber war, to make life potentially perilous. One rival country in particular, with a penchant for hanging on to its leading position and supporting treaty allies in the Asia-Pacific region, merits special attention: “There are, however, new threats from hegemonism, power politics and neo-interventionism.”
For a 5,000-year old civilization that has survived invasions from Mongols, Japanese, and Western Europeans, this is a sobering conclusion: “In the new circumstances, the national security issues facing China encompass far more subjects, extend over a greater range, and cover a longer time span than at any time in the country’s history.” Later, the paper notes: “Due to its complex geostrategic environment, China faces various threats and challenges in all its strategic directions and security domains.”
That’s especially true when it comes to the South China Sea
The white paper is mostly focused on higher-level issues of how China’s military will support the realization of China’s national “rejuvenation,” but it pays special attention to a potential area of conflict that’s in the headlines these days, China’s land reclamation efforts at a spate of reefs and rocks in the Spratly and Paracel island groups. Those activities on land features whose ownership is disputed have sparked tensions with the United States, Vietnam, the Philippines, and even Japan, which is shedding much of its post-World War II pacifism.
“On the issues concerning China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, some of its offshore neighbors take provocative actions and reinforce their military presence on China’s reefs and islands that they have illegally occupied. Some external countries are also busy meddling in South China Sea affairs; a tiny few maintain constant close-in air and sea surveillance and reconnaissance against China. It is thus a long-standing task for China to safeguard its maritime rights and interests.”
To underscore the point, and perhaps send a message to the U.S. Navy, the paper speaks at length about the need to ensure “preparations for military struggle” in China’s watery backyard: “In line with the evolving form of war and national security situation, the basic point for PMS will be placed on winning informationized local wars, highlighting maritime military struggle and maritime PMS.”
The paper makes clear that what’s at stake in the South China Sea is not the fate of a few atolls or uninhabited islands, but the very nature of Chinese sovereignty. Among the Chinese military missions in this new world will be to “safeguard national territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and maintain security and stability along China’s periphery.” Such doctrinal stances make it hard to believe China will easily blink first in a showdown over navigation rights in the region.
How do you say Mahan in Chinese?
Building a stronger navy was a priority of former President Hu Jintao, and has only been accelerated under Xi Jinping. But if there were any lingering doubts about China’s aim of transforming itself into a modern, maritime power, the white paper puts them to rest.
For a country whose eyes were locked on the northern and western frontier for millennia, this is noteworthy: “The traditional mentality that land outweighs sea must be abandoned, and great importance has to be attached to managing the seas and oceans and protecting maritime rights and interests. It is necessary for China to develop a modern maritime military force structure commensurate with its national security and development interests, safeguard its national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, protect the security of strategic [sea lanes of communication] and overseas interests, and participate in international maritime cooperation, so as to provide strategic support for building itself into a maritime power.”
Importantly, especially in the context of China’s interest in ports and possibly bases across the Indian Ocean, the white paper’s first order of business for military modernization is the ability to operate far from home: improving logistics.
That’s a very active defense you’ve got there
The white paper couches China’s posture in terms of active defense, a mainstay of Chinese defense thinking since Mao’s guerrilla campaigns in the 1930s: “We will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked.” But the paper itself details just how the Chinese navy and air force are shedding their traditional defensive roles to take up more pro-active positions, including a true blue-water navy: “In line with the strategic requirement of offshore waters defense and open seas protection, the PLA Navy (PLAN) will gradually shift its focus from ‘offshore waters defense’ to the combination of ‘offshore waters defense’ with ‘open seas protection,’ and build a combined, multi-functional and efficient marine combat force structure. The PLAN will enhance its capabilities for strategic deterrence and counterattack, maritime maneuvers, joint operations at sea, comprehensive defense and comprehensive support.”
China is embracing its global role
Finally, the white paper makes explicit what had seemed to be a recent evolution in China’s approach to the world. Traditionally, China focused on economic development and took a hands-off approach to global affairs. But with Chinese interests growing by leaps and bounds in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, China is finding that its defense responsibilities are set to go as global as its economic interests.
“In response to the new requirement coming from the country’s growing strategic interests, the armed forces will actively participate in both regional and international security cooperation and effectively secure China’s overseas interests.”
That may not all be bad news: The West, after all, has been asking China to become a “responsible stakeholder” for a decade. The white paper concludes on just that note:
“With the growth of national strength, China’s armed forces will gradually intensify their participation in such operations as international peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance, and do their utmost to shoulder more international responsibilities and obligations, provide more public security goods, and contribute more to world peace and common development.”
Stratfor on Chinese "Active Defense" paper
Reply #307 on:
May 28, 2015, 11:29:20 AM »
As outlined in China's latest defense white paper, the Chinese military will focus more on the growing internationalization of its role and "active defense."
China's expanding economic and military activities in developing countries will make it increasingly difficult for Beijing to counter accusations of imperialism and convince other countries that it remains both politically neutral and capable of protecting its interests.
As China becomes more involved in global defense, it will struggle to maintain its professed policies of noninterference while protecting its expanding national interests and will be forced to choose sides in political and security issues.
Weaker states or groups within states will attempt to leverage Chinese power for their own interests.
China's defense white papers are less revelations of new direction than partial reflections of current trends, carefully crafted for foreign and domestic consumption. No secrets are revealed, and little new ground is broken, but a comprehensive view emerges of just how China would like the world to interpret the evolution of its defense capabilities and actions. In China's latest such paper, released May 26, China is sending a message that it is a big power with international interests and will shoulder international responsibilities, but that unlike other major powers before it (alluding in particular to the United States), China has no hegemonic designs.
The centerpiece of China's strategy is "active defense," which Chinese defense officials contrast with the "proactive" defense policies of other nations (a clear nod to the emerging Japanese defense doctrine, as well as to existing U.S. strategy). In short, China wants — and needs — to take a stronger and more active role in international security. But it also wants to prevent any of its actions from being interpreted as aggressive or imperialistic to avoid the political and security consequences of being seen as an interventionist power.
Among the shifts in China's overall defense strategy, as laid out in the white paper but already clearly underway, are modifications of the primary roles of the various branches of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). In Section IV of the white paper, China elucidates these changing roles:
The PLA Army "will continue to reorient from theater defense to trans-theater mobility."
The PLA Navy "will gradually shift its focus from 'offshore waters defense' to the combination of 'offshore waters defense' and 'open seas protection.'"
The PLA Air Force "will endeavor to shift its focus from territorial air defense to both defense and offense."
These evolutions match China's expanding strategic interests and reflect the ongoing refocusing of its defense strategy and capability from internal security and territorial integrity to assuring stability in its near abroad and addressing national interests far from China's borders or shores. This international component is summed up in Section I of the white paper:
With the growth of China's national interests, its national security is more vulnerable to international and regional turmoil, terrorism, piracy, serious natural disasters and epidemics, and the security of overseas interests concerning energy and resources, strategic sea lines of communication (SLOCs), as well as institutions, personnel and assets abroad, has become an imminent issue.
The latter half of this quote may highlight the biggest challenge to China's overall foreign policy. Just the assertion of the importance of Chinese interests abroad — shaped by natural resources, transport corridors, personnel and business operations in other countries — places China on a path of likely intervention that follows the United States and other imperial powers (whether intentionally imperial or otherwise) before it. If China is going to protect its physical interests and assets abroad, including its supplies of raw materials and its manufacturing and market bases, it will be forced to choose sides in political and security issues.
The Necessity of Choosing Sides
A shift in internal political alignment, a rising labor movement, the expansion of a militant organization or a change in international relations can all affect the stability and security of Chinese investments, access to raw materials, and the safety and security of Chinese personnel and assets abroad. In recent years, China has experienced these vulnerabilities firsthand, sometimes because of general trends (needing to pull its citizens out of Yemen, for example). At other times, it has been more directly related to Chinese activities (for instance, protests and actions against Chinese business operations in East Africa). China has already begun to face a stream of local accusations of economic imperialism in Africa, for example, and concerns are being raised about China's expanding economic activities in Latin America. Add in a more active military role, and Beijing will find it increasingly hard to convince other countries or populations that it remains both politically neutral and capable of protecting its interests.
An article written by the chief editor of the Sudanese newspaper Al-Ayyam on May 25, timed to nearly coincide with the release of the Chinese defense white paper, highlights this growing challenge for Beijing. Discussing the situation in South Sudan and China's supply of arms to the South Sudanese government, the commentary notes that the situation on the ground is forcing China to take sides and ease away from its noninterference policies, if it truly does want to ensure its own interests. The author then asserts, "China is now speaking the same language as the United States and the West on the South Sudan conflict." This is exactly the image China is trying so hard to deflect, but the reality is that protecting national interests requires choosing sides. And Beijing is finding it increasingly hard to follow its professed noninterference policy — or even its less overt tactic of funding and maintaining political ties with both sides of internal conflicts to ensure it has friends no matter which side wins.
In Africa, Southeast Asia (particularly Myanmar), Central Asia and beyond, Chinese officials face difficult decisions that test the noninterference policies every day. Adhering to noninterference could mean a loss of national interests, of access to strategic commodities, or of ease of passage for goods and services. Violating noninterference presents its own risks, as countries and populations see Chinese actions as more and more selfish and less and less about simply sharing with all in the great rise of the developing nations and the global south. China's clear shift to a more active international defense role shows just how much its thinking and recognition of this change in international relations is a reality. Why develop the ability to intervene to protect Chinese interests abroad if these interests are not threatened and if their status can be resolved through noninterfering political dialogue?
This is not to say that China is about to become the next global policeman, or that Chinese forces will begin deploying around the world on unilateral missions to protect Chinese factories. But the change in defense strategy is tied closely to evolutions in political strategy, and "active defense" to protect "the security of overseas interests" will frequently require choosing a side in internal and regional competitions and conflicts. One of the requirements of a major world power is that it must deal with these sorts of complications and contradictions; it is the cost of an expanded global reach and growing global dependencies.
The Risks of Empire
There is the additional risk that, as China's capabilities increase, countries will attempt to pull China into local or regional conflicts or confrontations to support their own positions. The United States finds itself regularly at the receiving end of requests for military assistance or intervention. And to maintain economic or diplomatic relations, the United States at times finds itself involved in conflicts that are of only tangential interest. For countries with the capability and the need to maintain certain levels of political relations to ensure their economic interests, it can be difficult to avoid being drawn in by third-party interests. Countries and interest groups may seek to exploit China's national interests to compel direct Chinese involvement in issues and cases where Beijing would prefer to remain somewhat distant. The more capability China develops and demonstrates, the more likely it is that weaker states or groups within states will attempt to leverage Chinese power for their own interests.
The United States, which China is always alluding to when it mentions hegemonic powers, did not seek to become a global empire and did not intend to be an interventionist power. U.S. policy was frequently espoused as noninterventionist, particularly in the 1800s as the United States emerged from a backwater nation in virgin lands to a globally active economic and military power at the end of the century. Yet as U.S. business interests expanded abroad, the U.S. Navy became a default tool of forcing changes in local behavior to ensure American economic access and security. The United States' claims of anti-imperialism during the same period stemmed from both a political will to avoid following the United Kingdom's path and a recognition of the weakness of the U.S. position abroad compared with the existing imperial European powers. Anti-imperialism was a tool to allow the United States to gain economic and security benefits at minimal cost and lower risk. As China continues its emergence from a regional to a global power, it is encountering similar compulsions and constraints and the contradictions that power and expanding global interests bring to professed ideological and anti-imperial non-hegemonic regimes.
McCain seeks military defense $$ for allies
Reply #308 on:
May 29, 2015, 10:27:29 PM »
Don't give up on the South China Sea
Reply #309 on:
June 02, 2015, 12:44:25 PM »
and here is this in a similar vein from today's WSJ:
Stephen Peter Rosen
June 1, 2015 6:56 p.m. ET
Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Saturday called for “an immediate and lasting halt” to China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea. In Singapore for the annual Shangri-La Dialogue with Asian nations, Mr. Carter voiced U.S. concerns about the “prospect of further militarization as well as the potential for these activities to increase the risk of miscalculation or conflict among claimant states.”
The Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia notwithstanding, tensions are clearly on the rise as Beijing becomes more assertive in the Asia-Pacific region. Less clear is what should be done about it. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for a “stable regional balance.” Meanwhile, the Chinese government expands the land around disputed islands and deploys ground forces to them, while prominent Chinese academics discuss the need to end the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.
How can a “stable regional balance” be achieved? China’s relative economic and military power will continue to grow. Asia is far from North America. Washington can stand up today for freedom of navigation and multilateral diplomacy, but some argue that geography and the steady shift in power toward China stacks the deck against the U.S. If China continues to build islands in disputed waters, what can the U.S. do?
The message, always there but seldom articulated, is that the U.S. should concede gracefully to the inevitable and make the best deal it can before it is even relatively weaker. This is a superficially appealing argument, but it is shortsighted and self-centered. It looks only at the U.S. But the question of what to do about a rising China cannot be answered by America alone.
China’s ascendance became apparent toward the end of the 1980s. What is forgotten is how unusually favorable to China the Asian environment was from 1990 until 2010. All of Beijing’s important enemies and rivals were neutralized during those 20 years. Soviet rule collapsed along with Russia’s sphere of influence in the region, eliminating what had been China’s main continental rival since the 18th century. Japan was constrained militarily and diplomatically by the consequences of its wars of aggression.
The U.S. became the ally of China during the Cold War and was actively supporting the growth of the Chinese economy and even of its military. When Washington started having second thoughts about this strategy at the turn of this century, they were soon subordinated to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The rise of China was thus neither motivated nor hindered by foreign hostility. It was facilitated by the most benign Asian security environment that China had experienced for 200 years.
China’s rise also took place when its Asian economic rivals were stunted. The so-called Asian Tigers—Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan—grew rapidly but were small. Japan was crippled by its financial crisis. India was hobbled by 40 years of socialist mismanagement and only began its slow journey toward economic reform in the early 1990s, some 15 years after China rejected Maoist economic policies. Vietnam, now a unified country of more than 93 million people, was recovering from 30 years of war. Russia suffered from a succession of kleptocracies. The countries that could provide investments, markets and exports to rival China in Asia were not there.
There are signs that this period has ended. Chinese economic growth has slowed. Japan is emerging as an independent military power; it is investing abroad, and its economy may be recovering from its long stagnation. India’s economic growth is now more rapid than China’s and is likely to remain so. Indian military spending is making up for decades of inattention. Indonesia and Vietnam have achieved modest rates of economic growth.
Russia is likely to remain a nuclear superpower with a decaying society. Moscow’s anxiety about Beijing is real but has been suppressed, if only for the time being, by President Vladimir Putin’s need to find a friend after his Ukraine excursion. Russia’s national anxiety will re-emerge when he goes.
Does this mean that all is well and the U.S. can turn away from Asia? Hardly. It will be at least a generation before other Asian countries have, in the aggregate, enough economic and military power to create some kind of equilibrium relative to China.
The period in which they catch up with China is likely to be dangerous. Facing multiple rising Asian powers that are divided and smaller, Beijing will try to woo, thrash or thwart them one by one. Only the U.S. can provide the security umbrella within which the balance of Asia can be safely restored.
But unlike the postwar struggle with the Soviet Union, Washington is not facing a choice between an endless Cold War with China or negotiations in which the only question is how much regional influence the U.S. gives up. If Washington is able to deny Beijing the opportunity to achieve easy coercive gains for about 25 years—the amount of time since the Cold War ended—Asia is likely to change in ways that make China a strong country among other strong countries. This would be a satisfactory outcome for Asian countries and the United States. And it ought to be satisfactory to a Chinese leadership that does not seek hegemony.
Mr. Rosen is a professor of national security and military affairs at Harvard.
Popular on WSJ
Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 12:48:25 PM by Crafty_Dog
WSJ: Malaysia wakes up to China
Reply #310 on:
June 10, 2015, 10:55:40 AM »
June 9, 2015 7:32 p.m. ET
The Journal got the scoop Monday that the Malaysian government will loudly protest the Chinese coast guard’s incursions into its exclusive economic zone. National Security Minister Shahidan Kassim said in an interview that Prime Minister Najib Razak will raise the issue personally with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Malaysians are upset that a Chinese coast-guard ship is anchored in the waters around the Luconia Shoals within their exclusive economic zone. The state-owned company Petronas has active gas wells nearby.
Kuala Lumpur played down such provocations in the past; Chinese ships have frequented the area for at least two years, and Malaysia made pro forma protests. The Chinese disrupted oil survey work nearby in August 2012 and January 2013. Yet Malaysia took a low-key approach when Beijing’s ally Cambodia shut down discussion of the South China Sea disputes at regional summits in 2012.
Malaysia has changed its attitude over the past year as China started reclaiming land for military bases on the disputed shoals and rocks it controls. Last year Kuala Lumpur offered to let the U.S. fly P-8 surveillance planes from Borneo airbases. At the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore at the end of May, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein warned that the dispute could “escalate into one of the deadliest conflicts of our time.” Two weeks ago Mr. Najib was in Tokyo to discuss maritime defense-technology transfer with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The Malaysians used to chastise Vietnam and the Philippines for being too confrontational toward China and called for diplomatic solutions. But it didn’t do them much good. The Chinese military is using the same tactics of creeping assertiveness in the Luconia Shoals that it employed in 2012 to take Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines. Beijing’s aggressive behavior has created such fear among Southeast Asian nations that a new unity may be emerging.
WSJ: A new diplomacy to stem Chinese expansion
Reply #311 on:
June 10, 2015, 11:10:08 AM »
A New Diplomacy to Stem Chinese Expansion
The time for choosing sides in Southeast Asia has come.
Daniel Blumenthal And
June 10, 2015 12:01 p.m. ET
China’s aggression is pushing the South China Sea to a boiling point. Beijing’s massive island-building project is militarizing the territorial disputes, changing the territorial status quo and shifting the region’s balance of power. The U.S. response has been reactive, rhetorical and confused.
To stop and reverse Chinese expansion, the U.S. needs a bold and comprehensive strategy. So far, Washington’s approach has consisted of strong remonstrations that call upon China to respect “norms,” exercises of military power in the South China Sea to protect these norms, and the shoring up of alliances and partnerships in Asia.
Missing is a clear explanation of U.S. interests and a diplomatic approach that defends them. Washington doesn’t just have an interest in maintaining respect for abstract norms. It has a vital interest in keeping the South China Sea an open maritime commons free of Chinese coercion, as well as in stopping Beijing’s changes to the territorial status quo.
To date Washington has played a behind-the-scenes diplomatic role, encouraging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take the lead in managing maritime tensions.
This approach has outlived its usefulness. For one thing, only five of Asean’s 10 states are parties to the disputes (Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam all make claims to physical features; Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone overlaps with China’s “nine-dash line”). Asean also has had little success in recent years acting in a united manner: Members still argue among themselves over maritime territory; meanwhile China actively sows divisions within the institution. And Washington has no assurance that Asean’s efforts will result in a solution that is in line with U.S. interests.
Thus the U.S. needs to play a far more active role in addressing the territorial disputes. A new diplomacy should have three prongs.
First, the U.S., in coordination with allied maritime powers such as Australia, Japan and the Philippines, should delineate what features in the South China Sea it considers to be islands warranting 12-nautical-mile territorial zones, and what features cannot legitimately be claimed as sovereign territory. The allies should make clear what areas of the sea they consider to be high seas, regardless of who ultimately controls the territories, and their militaries should regularly operate in those waters.
Second, the U.S. should lead a new diplomatic process to secure an agreement on the peaceful use of resources in disputed waters and develop clear rules guiding the conduct of claimants in disputed waters, including regulations on land-reclamation construction activities, ultimately leading to a resolution of territorial disputes.
At present, China is the primary obstacle to such a process. It has slow-rolled negotiations with Asean over a code of conduct and insists on bilateral rather than multilateral negotiations over territorial claims.
A new U.S.-led diplomatic process should encourage Chinese engagement, but should not depend on Chinese participation. If China chooses to boycott talks, the U.S. should lead an effort by its Southeast claimant partners to decide on territorial delineation and the proper use of resources in the seas.
This diplomacy would imbue with a political purpose the displays of U.S. and allied force. U.S. military power should be used to enhance Southeast Asian capabilities, to keep the South China Sea an international waterway, to counter Chinese territorial encroachment and to give allies and friends the security and space to develop economically and politically.
This strategy may not reverse China’s already completed land reclamation, but it will render those new Chinese islets indefensible and Chinese sovereignty over them unrecognized internationally. Beijing can choose to enter into a negotiating process over territorial disposition or see disputes resolved without its input. Either way, the U.S. will work with its East Asian friends and allies to demarcate territorial boundaries and gain agreement on how the seas will be used. It will use its power in support of these agreements.
This course of action is not without risk. Beijing will be angered by U.S. “meddling.” It could opt for confrontation, but bullies rarely pick fights they can’t win.
For their part, Southeast Asians prefer a nonconfrontational approach and may be initially discomfited by the U.S. adopting a leading role in finding solutions to territorial disputes. But Beijing has already upended the status quo in the South China Sea. Without action, Washington’s Asian friends will see their territorial holdings eroded and the broader balance of power shift in China’s favor.
Received wisdom is that Southeast Asians do not want to choose sides between China and the U.S. That may have once been true, but China is forcing its neighbors’ hands. The time for choosing has come.
The U.S. can present the Southeast Asians with an alternative to Chinese hegemony. It must do so before yet another regional competitor threatens the peaceful order Washington and its allies have built with blood and treasure.
Mr. Blumenthal is the director of Asian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, where Mr. Mazza is a research fellow.
Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
Reply #312 on:
June 10, 2015, 01:26:45 PM »
Anyone think Buraq will stand up to the Chinese? The Chinese don't.
Stratfor: Incipient Japan-Philippines alliance?
Reply #313 on:
June 10, 2015, 02:24:36 PM »
A busy day on this thread!
On Tuesday, the Philippine military announced that it would hold joint naval drills with Japan on June 22-26. Just four days before the announcement, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III concluded a state visit to Japan. In addition to signing a deal to buy 10 Japanese patrol boats and other Japanese defense equipment, Aquino announced that the Philippines and Japan were ready to begin talks on a visiting forces agreement. Under the proposed agreement, the Japan Self-Defense Forces would be allowed to refuel ships and aircraft in the Philippines, and Japanese military personnel would be able to use Philippine bases on a rotational basis. If signed, the visiting forces agreement would mark the second time that Japan has been able to secure basing rights abroad since the end of World War II (the first time being the small Japan Self-Defense Forces outpost in Djibouti that opened in 2011).
The final terms of the potential visiting forces agreement are not yet clear. However, the Philippines' efforts to augment a similar agreement with the United States give clues about its intent with the Japanese pact, if not necessarily the specifics. In April 2014, as China was pressuring the Philippines at the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, the Philippines signed an agreement with Washington allowing the United States to station forces rotationally in Philippine bases and stockpile supplies at these facilities. The Philippines-Japan visiting forces agreement, driven by these same tensions, could include similar terms.
What is a Geopolitical Diary? George Friedman Explains.
The initiation of defense talks between Japan and the Philippines is significant but not unexpected, given their convergence of interests. With its weak external defense capabilities, the Philippines is eager to bring in as many outside parties as possible to bolster its position in its territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea. A visiting forces agreement with Japan could give the Philippines improved access to training from Japan's world-class maritime forces, repair services desperately needed by the Philippine navy and coast guard, and maritime reconnaissance data. This support would become all the more crucial as the Philippines begins to take more deliveries of Japanese equipment.
The Japanese, for their part, are happy to oblige. In recent years, Japan has taken greater action to secure its interests far from its shores. The expansion of Chinese activity in the South China Sea threatens the sea-lanes that are the lifeblood of the Japanese economy. This is a major factor in Japan's remilitarization. In recent months, Japan has moved to strengthen engagement with South China Sea claimants, signing a defense pact with Indonesia in March, conducting joint naval exercises with Vietnam in April and signing a defense technology transfer deal with Malaysia in late May. Japanese activities in the South China Sea are likely to intensify if the Japanese legislature passes measures in July expanding the scope of Japan Self-Defense Forces activity. The Philippines' location makes it a natural partner for Japan as Tokyo seeks footholds for its forces in the South China Sea.
If the Philippines-Japan visiting forces agreement is signed, it could take some time to overcome domestic barriers. Domestically, the implementation of the enhanced Philippines-United States agreement has been sensitive since some are wary of welcoming back a former colonizer; the agreement is awaiting a ruling by the Philippine Supreme Court. A comparable pact with Japan could face similar opposition. However, Aquino's decision to announce and move forward on an agreement with Japan despite likely opposition shows Manila's recognition of the basic fact that the Philippines will not be able to secure its maritime interests without outside help. Manila's relations with Beijing are likely to grow strained as ties with Japan deepen, which could harm economic ties between the Philippines and China, but Aquino appears to have calculated that the Sino-Philippine relationship is at the point where it will make no difference (as evidenced by his comments likening Chinese activities in the South China Sea to aggression by Nazi Germany). Moreover, additional aid from Japan — perhaps as part of the $110 billion infrastructure aid package Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced in May — will make up for the potential loss of Chinese investment.
This is a data point in another trend that Stratfor has been following: the United States' attempts to shift some of the burden of regional security to its allies. This plan has led to the slow reconfiguration of the U.S. alliance system in Asia, still largely based on a Cold War alliance structure called the hub-and-spoke system. This was a series of bilateral alliances between the United States and its Asian treaty partners featuring strong ties between each of the allies and Washington but limited collaboration among the Asian states themselves. The hub-and-spoke system enabled the United States to both check its adversaries and dominate aggressive allies such as South Korea and Taiwan, preventing them from dragging the United States into unwanted conflicts in an era of nuclear hair triggers. The United States quashed allies' attempts to independently build regional alliances among themselves. In return, the Americans shouldered the main burden of defending their partners, stationing large garrisons in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines.
Times have changed. The U.S. alliance system is no longer made up of weak but militarily adventurous regimes, reducing the need to maintain a tight grip on relations between allies. Some U.S. allies, such as Japan and South Korea, are rich and boast significant militaries, yet nearly 80,000 U.S. soldiers are garrisoned in these two countries in the name of providing regional security. These garrisons, plus the U.S. operations to secure the region's sea-lanes, are extremely costly and tie down significant American resources.
Therefore, the United States wants capable partners such as Japan to pick up some of the slack in supporting weaker allies such as the Philippines. Washington has pushed its allies to build their own bilateral security ties, which had been lacking during the Cold War. Although the effort has so far yielded some modest successes, a Philippines-Japan visiting forces agreement could be a landmark as the United States reconfigures its alliance structure in Asia, potentially leading to similar arrangements between other American allies in the future.
Send us your thoughts on this report.
WSJ: War with China coming?
Reply #314 on:
June 29, 2015, 01:12:30 AM »
Updated June 28, 2015 10:32 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON— Peter Singer, one of Washington’s pre-eminent futurists, is walking the Pentagon halls with an ominous warning for America’s military leaders: World War III with China is coming.
In meeting after meeting with anyone who will listen, this modern-day soothsayer wearing a skinny tie says America’s most advanced fighter jets might be blown from the sky by their Chinese-made microchips and Chinese hackers easily could worm their way into the military’s secretive intelligence service, and the Chinese Army may one day occupy Hawaii.
The ideas might seem outlandish, but Pentagon officials are listening to the 40-year-old senior fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank.
In hours of briefings, Mr. Singer has outlined his grim vision for intelligence officials, Air Force officers and Navy commanders. What makes his scenarios more remarkable is that they are based on a work of fiction: Mr. Singer’s soon-to-be-released, 400-page techno thriller, “Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War.”
“World War III may seem like something that was either a fear in the distant past or a risk in the distant future,” Mr. Singer told a dozen Air Force officers during a Pentagon briefing last week. “But, as the Rolling Stones put it in ‘Gimme Shelter,’ ‘It’s just a shot away.’ ”
Pentagon officials typically don’t listen to the doom-and-gloom predictions of fiction writers. But Mr. Singer comes to the table with an unusual track record. He has written authoritative books on America’s reliance on private military contractors, cybersecurity and the Defense Department’s growing dependence on robots, drones and technology.
The Army, Navy and Air Force already have included two of his books on their official reading lists. And he often briefs military leaders on his research.
“Ghost Fleet,” co-written with former Wall Street Journal reporter August Cole is based on interviews, military research and years of experience working with the Defense Department.
“He’s the premier futurist in the national-security environment,” said Mark Jacobson, a special assistant to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who made sure his boss read the book. “Peter’s always where the ball is going to be. And people in the Pentagon listen to what he has to say.”
Release of the book by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on Tuesday comes during a new period of soul-searching for the U.S. military.
President Barack Obama’s pledge to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was supposed to usher in an era of restrained military intervention world-wide. Budget cuts and shifting priorities have forced the Pentagon to shelve plans to carry out costly nation-building operations like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But threats posed by Islamic State militants reluctantly have pushed Mr. Obama and the U.S. military back into a limited war against the irregular insurgents in Iraq and Syria.
The end of the Cold War and the rise of al Qaeda compelled the U.S. military to reorient its priorities to focus on threats posed by small, stateless militants.
Pentagon officials have elevated military officers who embraced the “small war,” counterinsurgency dogma that guided the U.S. through a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Russia’s military operations in Ukraine and China’s aggressive attempts to extend its control in the South China Sea have forced the Pentagon to re-evaluate its world view and think anew about the threats posed by powerful rivals.
“Ghost Fleet,” which includes hundreds of endnotes, challenges conventional military doctrine and relies on real events to warn that the U.S. military is vulnerable to cyberattacks that could cripple its ability to win a war with China.
The time has come, Mr. Singer tells military officials in his briefings, for the Pentagon to consider the possibility that Americans could face real dog fights in the sky and deadly naval battles unlike anything the U.S. has seen since World War II.
“It may not be politic, but it is, in my belief, no longer useful to avoid talking about the great power rivalries of the 21st century and the real dangers of them getting out of control,” he told Air Force officers at the Pentagon. “Indeed, only by acknowledging the real trends and real risks that loom can we take the mutual steps to avoid the kind of mistakes that would set up such an epic fail in both deterrence and diplomacy.”
After the briefing, Col. Randall Reed, director of the Air Force Executive Action Group who hosted Mr. Singer, said it helped spark debate about how to respond to real-world threats. “Having various ways to view any issue is diversity of thought and that’s healthy,” he said.
Paula Thornhill, a retired Air Force brigadier general who brought Mr. Singer to the Pentagon to speak about his work on robotics, said Mr. Singer “did an excellent job of challenging some of the Air Force’s finest emerging scientists and engineers to think about the strategic and operational impact of robotics many of them were studying, and I knew he could do the same for a more operationally focused military audience.”
“This would help them better envision the human dimensions of conflict rather than trying to contemplate what that might look like by working mostly with high-tech weapons and drafting operations plans,” said Ms. Thornhill, who is now a senior political scientist at RAND Corp.
One of America’s biggest vulnerabilities is in cyberspace, where Chinese hackers have secured access to White House computers, defense industry plans and millions of secret U.S. government files.
American officials have long warned that the nation is at risk of a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” and the Obama administration has been quietly developing more proactive steps to reduce the country’s vulnerabilities.
In “Ghost Fleet,” the authors envision a cyberwar where Beijing uses hidden technology baked into Chinese-made chips to help bring down one of America’s costly, controversial next- generation F-35 fighter jets.
In another creative hack, China uses a gardener’s cellphone to get inside the Defense Intelligence Agency computer system. The U.S. has to turn to Silicon Valley to develop a modern day cyber Manhattan Project and rely on help from hackers to try to gain an advantage. Meanwhile, Americans in Hawaii launch an insurgency against the occupying Chinese forces.
The book is fiction, but Mr. Singer wants Pentagon leaders to see it as a cautionary tale.
Mr. Singer pointed out to the Air Force leadership that the opening scene of “Ghost Fleet,” featuring a showdown between a U.S. P-8 plane monitoring Chinese ships, played out in real life last month in an increasingly concerning dispute over islands in the South China Sea.
“War is not just revolutionary, it’s evolutionary,” he said. “It’s survival of the fittest. And the real world is moving in such a way as to make this book potentially a work of prediction, which I’d rather never come true.”
Write to Dion Nissenbaum at
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Our war with China is already over.
Here is why.
Yesterday the remote control of my DVD player quit.
Turns out one of the Energizer batteries had exploded.
I read the fine print on the other one. Yup, made in China.
As Singer sings, how we gonna go to war against the country that supplies everything we'd need to wage war, right down to the AA batteries?
And all that stuff they be makin' for us, such as the avionics in our aircraft, do you think they haven't had the foresight to build in remote controls to take it over? We may not be that smart when it comes to military sales, but they are. Heck, they can read our encrypted classified emails, while most of our leaders (think Hillary Clinton) don't even know how to use classified email.
No, if we want to fight somebody, we should try for Iran. They're still backward enough for us to stand a chance. But not for much longer.
If Americans want to understand China better, they need to read Sun Tzu's Art of War. For the chickenhawks, their disappointment will be that China is more for us than against us.
Have no doubt, China is at war. One leg of this war is the information war, in which state-paid patsies like Dans Zhang, possibly, are goaded to influence world opinion, especially Western opinion.
I have lived in China and I believe I know China better than many Westerners. China, the mainland Communist variety, is a neo-fascist state. Most Chinese do not even realize they live in a neo-fascist state.
Peter Singer is on the right track. Power compels its own logic, and when China has sufficient power to wage war against the U.S., it will. And have no doubt that China will not stop at Taiwan, because the trajectory of its own culture and history will compel it to go as far as it can go.
POTH: China's Global Ambitions
Reply #315 on:
July 24, 2015, 09:21:02 AM »
China’s Global Ambitions, With Loans and Strings Attached
The country has invested billions in Ecuador and elsewhere, using its economic clout to win diplomatic allies and secure natural resources around the world.
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS and KEITH BRADSHERJULY 24, 2015
点击查看本文中文版|Leer en español
Water pipes set aside near where Ecuador wants a Chinese oil company to build a giant refinery, outside the port of Manta. China has invested heavily in overseas oil projects. Credit Ivan Kashinsky for The New York Times
EL CHACO, Ecuador — Where the Andean foothills dip into the Amazon jungle, nearly 1,000 Chinese engineers and workers have been pouring concrete for a dam and a 15-mile underground tunnel. The $2.2 billion project will feed river water to eight giant Chinese turbines designed to produce enough electricity to light more than a third of Ecuador.
Near the port of Manta on the Pacific Ocean, Chinese banks are in talks to lend $7 billion for the construction of an oil refinery, which could make Ecuador a global player in gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products.
Across the country in villages and towns, Chinese money is going to build roads, highways, bridges, hospitals, even a network of surveillance cameras stretching to the Galápagos Islands. State-owned Chinese banks have already put nearly $11 billion into the country, and the Ecuadorean government is asking for more.
Ecuador, with just 16 million people, has little presence on the global stage. But China’s rapidly expanding footprint here speaks volumes about the changing world order, as Beijing surges forward and Washington gradually loses ground.
While China has been important to the world economy for decades, the country is now wielding its financial heft with the confidence and purpose of a global superpower. With the center of financial gravity shifting, China is aggressively asserting its economic clout to win diplomatic allies, invest its vast wealth, promote its currency and secure much-needed natural resources.
It represents a new phase in China’s evolution. As the country’s wealth has swelled and its needs have evolved, President Xi Jinping and the rest of the leadership have pushed to extend China’s reach on a global scale.
China’s currency, the renminbi, is expected to be anointed soon as a global reserve currency, putting it in an elite category with the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen. China’s state-owned development bank has surpassed the World Bank in international lending. And its effort to create an internationally funded institution to finance transportation and other infrastructure has drawn the support of 57 countries, including several of the United States’ closest allies, despite opposition from the Obama administration.
Even the current stock market slump is unlikely to shake the country’s resolve. China has nearly $4 trillion in foreign currency reserves, which it is determined to invest overseas to earn a profit and exert its influence.
China’s growing economic power coincides with an increasingly assertive foreign policy. It is building aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and stealth jets. In a contested sea, China is turning reefs and atolls near the southern Philippines into artificial islands, with at least one airstrip able to handle the largest military planes. The United States has challenged the move, conducting surveillance flights in the area and discussing plans to send warships.
China represents “a civilization and history that awakens admiration to those who know it,” President Rafael Correa of Ecuador proclaimed on Twitter, as his jet landed in Beijing for a meeting with officials in January.
China’s leaders portray the overseas investments as symbiotic. “The current industrial cooperation between China and Latin America arrives at the right moment,” Prime Minister Li Keqiang said in a visit to Chile in late May. “China has equipment manufacturing capacity and integrated technology with competitive prices, while Latin America has the demand for infrastructure expansion and industrial upgrading.”
But the show of financial strength also makes China — and the world — more vulnerable. Long an engine of global growth, China is taking on new risks by exposing itself to shaky political regimes, volatile emerging markets and other economic forces beyond its control.
Nearly 1,000 Chinese engineers and workers have been pouring concrete for the dam and a 15-mile underground tunnel that is part of the $2.2 billion hydroelectric plant project. Credit Ivan Kashinsky for The New York Times
Any major problems could weigh on China’s growth, particularly at a time when it is already slowing. The country’s stock market troubles this summer are only adding to the pressure, as the government moves aggressively to stabilize the situation.
While China has substantial funds to withstand serious financial shocks, its overall health matters. When China swoons, the effects are felt worldwide, by the companies, industries and economies that depend on the country as the engine of global growth.
In many cases, China is going where the West is reluctant to tread, either for financial or political reasons — or both. After getting hit with Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, Russia, which is on the verge of a recession, deepened ties with China. The list of borrowers in Africa and the Middle East reads like a who’s who of troubled regimes and economies that may have trouble repaying Chinese loans, including Yemen, Syria, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
With its elevated status, China is forcing countries to play by its financial rules, which can be onerous. Many developing countries, in exchange for loans, pay steep interest rates and give up the rights to their natural resources for years. China has a lock on close to 90 percent of Ecuador’s oil exports, which mostly goes to paying off its loans.
“The problem is we are trying to replace American imperialism with Chinese imperialism,” said Alberto Acosta, who served as President Correa’s energy minister during his first term. “The Chinese are shopping across the world, transforming their financial resources into mineral resources and investments. They come with financing, technology and technicians, but also high interest rates.”
China also has a shaky record when it comes to worker safety, environmental standards and corporate governance. While China’s surging investments have created jobs in many countries, development experts worry that Beijing is exporting its worst practices.
Chinese mining and manufacturing operations, like many American and European companies in previous decades, have been accused of abusing workers overseas. China’s coal-fired power plants and industrial factories are adding to pollution problems in developing nations.
The China Factor
Articles in this series explore how China is exerting its financial heft and economic influence around the world.
A few miles from the site of the hydroelectric plant, the Coca River vaults down a 480-foot waterfall and cascades through steep canyons toward the Amazon. It is the tallest waterfall in Ecuador and popular with tourists.
When the dam is complete and the water is diverted to the plant, the San Rafael falls will slow to a trickle for part of the year. With climate change already shrinking the Andean glacier that feeds the river, experts debate whether the site will have enough water to generate even half the electricity predicted.
Ecuadoreans on the Chinese-run project have repeatedly protested about wages, health care, food and general working conditions. “The Chinese are arrogant,” said Oscar Cedeno, a 20-year-old construction worker. “They think they are superior to us.”
Last December, an underground river burst into a tunnel at the site. The high-pressure water flooded the powerhouse, killing 14 workers. It was one of a series of serious accidents at Chinese projects in Ecuador, several of them fatal.
The Rise of China
When the research arm of China’s cabinet scheduled an economic development conference this spring, the global financial and corporate elite came to Beijing. The heads of major banks and pharmaceutical, auto and oil companies mingled with top Chinese officials.
Some had large investments in the country and wanted to protect their access to the domestic market. Others came to court business, as Beijing channeled more of its money overseas.
At the event, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, commended China’s efforts to engage globally through investment and trade, as well as to enact economic reforms. It “is good for China and good for the world — their fates are intertwined,” she said in her keynote address.
Chinese men, in Ecuador for the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric project, in their room in a camp for workers. Credit Ivan Kashinsky for The New York Times
China’s pull is strong.
It is the world’s largest buyer of oil, which gives China substantial sway over petropolitics. It is also increasingly the trading partner of choice for many countries, taking the mantle from Western nations. China’s foreign direct investment — the money it spends overseas annually on land, factories and other business operations — is second only to the United States’, having passed Japan last year.
Chinese companies are at the center of a worldwide construction boom, mostly financed by Chinese banks. They are building power plants in Serbia, glass and cement factories in Ethiopia, low-income housing in Venezuela and natural gas pipelines in Uzbekistan.
This striking evolution happened in a short time.
While China made some economic progress under Mao Zedong, his policies left the country turbulent and isolated. Hundreds of thousands of people were executed after the Communist takeover in 1949, accused of opposing the revolution or owning too much land. Famine killed tens of millions starting in the late 1950s. The Cultural Revolution, beginning in 1966, unleashed a decade of violence and economic stagnation.
When China started to open its economy in the late 1970s, it was among the poorest nations. Beijing had to court companies and investors.
One of the first multinationals to enter was the American Motors Corporation, which built a factory in Beijing. The project was initially aimed at producing Jeeps for export to Australia, rather than building cars for Chinese consumers, who still largely rode bicycles.
The Chinese market seemed unimportant, said Gerald Meyers, then the chief executive of the carmaker. He didn’t even bother to visit the country. “We didn’t devote a lot of our boardroom discussions to it,” he said. “We were really trying to scrape out a living in our domestic market.”
At night, some of the Chinese workers at the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant walk to the local brothel (prostitution is legal in Ecuador) and sit at separate tables from the Ecuadorean workers. Credit Ivan Kashinsky for The New York Times
Today, China produces two million cars a month, far more than any other country. It mirrors the broader transformation of the economy from an insular agrarian society to the world’s largest manufacturer.
The change has showered wealth on China. But it has also brought new demands, like a voracious thirst for energy to power its economy. The confluence of trends has compelled China to look beyond its borders to invest those riches and to satisfy its needs.
Oil has been on the leading edge of this investment push. Energy projects and stakes have accounted for two-fifths of China’s $630 billion of overseas investments in the last decade, according to Derek Scissors, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute.
China is playing both defense and offense. With an increased dependence on foreign oil, China’s leadership has followed the United States and other large economies by seeking to own more overseas oil fields — or at least the crude they produce — to ensure a stable supply. In recent years, state-controlled Chinese oil companies have acquired big stakes in oil operations in Cameroon, Canada, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sudan, Uganda, the United States and Venezuela.
“When utilizing foreign resources and markets, we need to consider it from the height of national strategy,” Prime Minister Li said in 2009, when he was a vice premier. “If the resources mainly come from one country or from one place with frequent turmoil, national economic safety will be under shadow when an emergency happens.”
Road to Dependence
For President Correa of Ecuador, China represents a break with his country’s past — and his own.
His father was imprisoned in the United States for cocaine smuggling and later committed suicide. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mr. Correa focused his doctoral thesis on the shortcomings of economic policies backed by Washington and Western banks.
A few miles from the site of a hydroelectric plant, the Coca River vaults down a 480-foot waterfall, the tallest in Ecuador. When the dam is complete and the water is diverted to the plant, the falls will slow to a trickle for part of the year. Credit Ivan Kashinsky for The New York Times
As a politician, he embraced Venezuela’s socialist revolution. During his 2006 campaign, Mr. Correa joked that the Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez’s comparison of President George W. Bush with Satan was disrespectful to the devil.
In an early move as president, Mr. Correa expelled the Americans from a military base in Manta, an important launching pad for the Pentagon’s war on drugs. “We can negotiate with the United States over a base in Manta if they let us put a military base in Miami,” President Correa said at the time.
Next, he severed financial ties. In late 2008, Mr. Correa called much of his country’s debt, largely owned by Western investors, “immoral and illegitimate” and stopped paying, setting off a default.
At that point, Ecuador was in a bind. The global financial crisis was taking hold and oil prices collapsed. Ecuador and Petroecuador, its state-owned oil company, started running low on money.
Shut out from borrowing in traditional markets, Ecuador turned to China to fill the void. PetroChina, the government-backed oil company, lent Petroecuador $1 billion in August 2009 for two years at 7.25 percent interest. Within a year, more Chinese money began to flow for hydroelectric and other infrastructure projects.
“What Ecuador wants are sources of capital with fewer political strings attached, and that goes back to the personal history of Rafael Correa, who holds the United States directly or indirectly responsible for his father’s death and suffering,” said R. Evan Ellis, professor of Latin American studies at the United States Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. “But there is also a desire to get away from the dependence on the fiscal and political conditions of the I.M.F., World Bank and the West.”
The Ecuadorean foreign minister calls the shift to China a “diversification of its foreign relations,” rather than a substitute for the United States or Europe. “We have decided that the most convenient and healthy thing for us,” said the foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, is “to have friendly, mutually beneficial relations of respect with all countries.”
The Chinese money, though, comes with its own conditions. Along with steep interest payments, Ecuador is largely required to use Chinese companies and technologies on the projects.
China has lent nearly $11 billion to Ecuador, much of which has gone for hydroelectric, bridge, road and other infrastructure projects.
The Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric facility, which is being built by Sinohydro for $2.2 billion, is the largest Chinese construction project in Ecuador. Other such projects include Sopladora, in Morona Santiago province, built by Gezhouba, and Toachi Pilatón, financed by a Russian consortium, but built by the China International Water & Electric Corp.
A 1.25 mile, four-lane bridge over the Babahoyo River was built by the Guangxi Road & Bridge Engineering Corp. at a cost of over $100 million. It opened in 2011.
A $55.6 million project to redirect the flow of the Bulubulu, Cañar and Naranjal rivers was completed this year. It was built by a consortium of Chinese firms — Gezhouba, Hydrochina and China CAMC Engineering.
The Chinese oil companies CNPC and Sinopec, as the Andes Petroleum consortium, run various oil projects in the Amazonian province of Sucumbios. In Orellana and Pastaza provinces, PetroOriental and Andes Petroleum manage concessions.
China’s Sinohydro is reconstructing and modernizing several roads in Azuay and Morona Santiago provinces.
A Chinese joint venture, CRCC-Tongguan Investment, paid $100 million to the Ecuadorean government in 2012 for the rights to the Mirador Copper Mine, with a commitment to invest $1.4 billion over five years. Its Ecuadorean subsidiary, EcuaCorriente, also holds copper and gold properties further north, in Morona Santiago province.
The wind farm at Villonaco, which generates 16.5 megawatts of power, began operations in 2013. It was built by the Chinese company, Xinjiang Goldwind.
By The New York Times
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International rules limit how the United States and other industrialized countries can tie their loans to such agreements. But China, which is still considered a developing country despite being the world’s largest manufacturer, doesn’t have to follow those standards.
It is one reason that China’s effort to build an international development fund, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, has faced criticism in the United States. Washington is worried that China will create its own rules, with lower expectations for transparency, governance and the environment.
While China has sought to quell those fears over the infrastructure fund, its portfolio of projects around the world imposes tough terms and sometimes lax standards. Since 2005, the country has landed $471 billion in construction contracts, many tied to broader lending agreements.
In Ecuador, a consortium of Chinese companies is overseeing a flood control and irrigation project in the southern Ecuador province of Cañar. A Chinese engineering company built a $100 million, four-lane bridge to span the Babahoyo River near the coast.
Such deals typically favor the Chinese.
PetroChina and Sinopec, another state-controlled Chinese company, together pump about 25 percent of the 560,000 barrels a day produced in Ecuador. Along with taking the bulk of oil exports, the Chinese companies also collect $25 to $50 in fees from Ecuador for each barrel they pump.
China’s terms are putting countries in precarious positions.
In Ecuador, oil represents roughly 40 percent of the government’s revenue, according to the United States Energy Department. And those earnings are suddenly plunging along with the price of oil. With crude at around $50 a barrel, Ecuador doesn’t have much left to repay its loans.
On the beach in Manta, a port city in Ecuador. After Ecuador was shut out from borrowing in traditional markets, the country turned to China to fill the void. Credit Ivan Kashinsky for The New York Times
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“Of course we have concerns over their ability to repay the debts — China isn’t silly,” said Lin Boqiang, the director of the Energy Economics Research Center at Xiamen University in China’s Fujian province and a government policy planner. “But the gist is resources will ultimately become valuable assets.”
If Ecuador or other countries can’t cover their debts, their obligations to China may rise. A senior Chinese banker, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity for diplomatic reasons, said Beijing would most likely restructure some loans in places like Ecuador.
To do so, Chinese authorities want to extend the length of the loans instead of writing off part of the principal. That means countries will have to hand over their natural resources for additional years, limiting their governments’ abilities to borrow money and pursue other development opportunities.
China has significant leverage to make sure borrowers pay. As the dominant manufacturer for a long list of goods, Beijing can credibly threaten to cut off shipments to countries that do not repay their loans, the senior Chinese banker said.
With its economy stumbling, Ecuador asked China at the start of the year for an additional $7.5 billion in financing to fill the growing government budget deficit and buy Chinese goods. Since then, the situation has only deteriorated. In recent weeks, thousands of protesters have poured into the streets of Quito and Guayaquil to challenge various government policies and proposals, some of which Mr. Correa has recently withdrawn.
“China is becoming the new company store for developing oil-, gas- and mineral-producing countries,” said David Goldwyn, who was the State Department’s special envoy for international energy affairs during President Obama’s first term. “They are entitled to secure reliable sources of oil, but what we need to worry about is the way they are encouraging oil-producing countries to mortgage their long-term future through oil-backed loans.”
Plagued by Problems
A pall of acrimony surrounds the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant, Ecuador’s largest construction project.
José Tixi, who works at the hydroelectric plant project, with his family in their home in San Luis. Ecuadoreans on the Chinese-run project have repeatedly protested about the working conditions. Credit Ivan Kashinsky for The New York Times
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1 minute ago
Sounds like USA over the past 40 years. Ironic eh?
1 minute ago
We play world policeman, others get a free security ride. We bomb, so they can build.
2 minutes ago
"...Beijing surges forward and Washington gradually loses ground."That's because Washington chooses to sink billions into an ungrateful...
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Few of the Chinese workers speak Spanish, and they live separately from their Ecuadorean counterparts. When the workers leave their camp in the village of San Luis at noon for lunch, they walk down the main street in separate groups. At night, they also walk in separate groups up the hill to the local brothel. (Prostitution is legal in Ecuador.) The workers sit at separate tables drinking bottles of the Ecuadorean beer, Pilsener.
When the Chinese and Ecuadorean workers return to camp, typically drunk, there have been shoving matches. Once a Chinese manager threw a tray at an Ecuadorean worker at mealtime.
“You make a little mistake, and they say something like, ‘Get out of here,’ ” said Gustavo Taipe, an Ecuadorean welder. “They want to be the strongmen.”
Like other workers, Mr. Taipe, 57, works 10 consecutive days. Then he drives seven hours home to spend four days with his family, then returns for another 10 days. Mr. Taipe and others have complained about low pay for grueling work. He initially made $600 a month. After work stoppages, he now earns $914 a month, a decent wage by Ecuadorian standards.
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Kevin Wang, a Chinese supervisory engineer at the project, played down the issues, saying, “Relations are friendly.” He predicted that the project would be a success. “We can do something here really important,” he said.
The hydroelectric project — led by Sinohydro, the Chinese engineering company, and financed by the Chinese Export-Import Bank — was supposed to be ready by late 2014. But the project has been plagued by problems.
A drilling rig jammed last year, suspending the excavation for a critical tunnel. Then in December, 11 Ecuadorean and three Chinese workers were killed and a dozen were hurt when an underground river burst into the tunnel and flooded the powerhouse. Workers drowned or were crushed by flying rocks and metal bars.
At a legislative hearing after the accident, one worker, Danny Tejedor, told the lawmakers, “I am a welder, and on various occasions I have been obligated to work in extreme conditions of high risk, deep in water.”
Last Edit: July 24, 2015, 09:24:32 AM by Crafty_Dog
Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
Reply #316 on:
July 24, 2015, 04:30:20 PM »
China is doing the same thing all over the African continent too and in a big way.
Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
Reply #317 on:
July 27, 2015, 12:36:38 PM »
Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc)
Reply #318 on:
July 27, 2015, 08:01:54 PM »
And all the sniveling lefties will have nothing to say about what Imperial China does.
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