Russia’s Moscow Times listed four top projects of cooperation between China and Russia to describe the increasingly closer ties between the two de factor allies.
We do not know whether the newspaper’s description aims at countering the closer ties between the US and Japan resulting from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s current visit to the US. However, the four projects, especially the establishment of a joint base on the moon do indicate the exceptional close ties between countries in the world.
The four top projects mentioned by the newspaper are:
- Joint space base on the moon;
- Joint development of M-26 helicopter;
- Transaction of S-400 missile system; and
- Joint development of large airliner
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Russian media lists four top projects between China and Russia: Probable establishment of space base on the moon” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
I am surprised by US strategists’ lack of global vision when I read Robert D. Blackwill and Ashley Tellis’s report for the Council on Foreign Relations titled “Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China” and Stephen M. Walt’s article in Foreign Policy magazine on the report titled “Where Do We Draw the Line on Balancing China?”.
China is indeed the strongest emerging economy, but not the only one. If the US wants to remain world leader, it has to deal with not only China but also lots of other emerging economies especially a community of them. That is the real problem a declining United States will be facing and the trend China is exploiting.
In the past, France tried to grow into a rival to the US but failed. It realized that France alone was not large enough and had not enough resources to contend with the US. It develops the initiative of European community to have a strong Europe to be America’s rival.
The EU has expanded too fast and therefore has some teething problems, but its potential to be US rival is obvious.
In my post “CHINA’S GREATER ASIA CO-PROSPERITY SPHERE” on January 29, 2012, I point out China’s idea to learn from the EU to set up what I called China’s Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere (Co-prosperity Sphere)
In the post, I said, “China is now at a turning point. For further economic growth to realize its dream to become too strong to be bullied by other countries, it needs a huge market, lots of natural resources and cheep labor.”
China has succeeded in copying the models of Asian emerging economies such as Singapore, Taiwan, etc. in growing rich first by exploiting its own cheap labor and then keep up the growth through investment abroad to exploit the cheap labor in other countries.
China wanted to export its Chinese model. At that time, it chose North Korea as a country to turn from extreme poverty to prosperity by copying the Chinese model but failed.
Now, Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched his initiative of the Silk Road economic belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road (One Belt, One Road) as China’s first step to establish the Co-prosperity Sphere, which if successful may become something similar to European Community.
What China is doing is to turn the poor and backward countries in the Belt and along the Road into emerging economies so that China may exploit the cheap labor and natural resources while providing them with China’s vast market to enjoy the cheap products provided by them.
That is what Xi means a win-win result he pursues through his initiative.
China and ASEAN’s quick success in their free trade area (FTA) proves that China’s approach is indeed a win-win one. It is so convincing that two major Asia-Pacific economic powers South Korea and Australia agreed to have FTA relations with China last year.
Now, China has FTA with lots of Asia-Pacific countries. In addition, it has iron-brother relations with Pakistan and Shanghai Cooperation Organization with Russia and Central Asian countries.
That enables China’s pursuit of a Free Trade Area Asian Pacific (FTAAP) to become a reality in the foreseeable future. The FTAAP will be the embryo of China’s Co-prosperity Sphere or an Asia Community similar to European Community.
Robert D. Blackwill and Ashley Tellis suggest in their report the following prescriptions to balance China: revitalizing US economy, building preferential trading arrangements with Asian partners (such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership), denying critical technology to China, shoring up U.S. and allied military capabilities in Asia, etc.
Stephen M. Walt says in his article, “Needless to say, it is hard for a realist like me to find much fault with these prescriptions (and other prominent realists have been sounding similar warnings for some time now).”
It seems American prominent realists including Robert D. Blackwill, Ashley Tellis and Stephen M. Walt all lack global vision. They all fail to realize that the issue is not to balance China but the Asian community China will establish.
US politicians’ lack of global vision is typically reflected in their entire ignorance of Russia in their strategic switch to pivot to Asia.
Perhaps the ignorance is due to their arrogance. I am not sure. I only know that President Bush boasted that the US was capable to fight two wars simultaneously but made his successor President Obama unable even to fight one war against ISIS that has publicly announced its intention to attack the US.
Let’s return to US pivot to Asia. Everybody knows the pivot aims at containing China though the US denies that.
It has failed to convince China as China begins its arms race with the US for that. However, the denial makes Russia believe the pivot is also aimed at containing Russia.
There is the following section in my post “South China Sea dispute: Encirclement of China” on July 8, 2013:
Encirclement of Russia, a Byproduct of Encirclement of China
Like German strategists in World War II, US strategists miscalculated.
Germany knew well that it should not fight a war on both eastern and western sides, but it attacked the Soviet Union and finally lost the war for that.
Now, in formulating the new strategy of “return to Asia”, the United States neglects the potential of Russia, the major part of the disintegrated Soviet Union with the ambition to succeed the Soviet Union as another number one in the world, an equal rival to the United States.
At that time, Russia was in dire predicament. All former Soviet constituent and satellite countries have been or are being drawn away by the EU. It has almost no influence in Europe.
In the strategic areas for its security in the Middle East, the West lead by the United States have been cutting Russian ties with the countries there, first Iraq, then Libya and now Syria. It seems that Russian influence will remain only in Asia mainly in India and Vietnam.
If by its return to Asia, the US has substituted its influence for Russia’s in India and Vietnam and subdued China by encircling it, then it will be Russia’s turn to be closely encircled by the US.
Without Russia, there will be a large hole in China’s Co-prosperity Sphere, but it was very difficult for China to win over Russia as Russia regarded China’s rise as a threat to its security.
However, US pivot made Russia understand the need to have China and Japan as its allies or at least friends to counter US encirclement. It gave China the opportunity to win over Russia as its ally. In that process, Russia tried hard to win over Japan as a balance to China while improving its relations with China.
China’s support for Russia in Ukraine issue has made Russia its de facto close ally while Japanese Prime Minister failed in his efforts to build close ties with Russia to balance China as he takes side with the US in Ukraine issue.
Now, US President Obama is stupid again to say that his tightening of US ties with Japan does not target China. He makes Russia believe that Russia is also the target.
Through estranging Ukraine from Russia, Europe and the US have succeeded in encircling Russia in the west. They have forced Russia to go east, but the US and Japan are trying to encircle not only China but also Russia in the East. The natural outcome of US and Japan’s efforts to tighten their ties is closer ties between Russia and China.
Previously, Russia was afraid of Chinese people’s infiltration into Russia’s Siberia, but now Russia has to go east to develop Siberia with Chinese assistance as Russian people do not want to go east. Russia will become an enthusiastic member of China’s Co-prosperity Sphere.
Do US politicians have the vision to foresee that consequence? No, that is why I regard them as strategy illiterates.
US strategists seem also to ignore Indian Prime Minister Modi’s desire to copy Chinese model in economic development. India as an emerging Asian power may become an important member of China’s Co-prosperity Sphere.
US problems lie in its declining economic strength instead of China’s rise to contend with it for world leadership.
China is rising but so are other countries. An alliance of two or a few rising countries, especially between China and Russia may put an end to US world leadership unless the US keeps growing at similar growth rate.
Source: Council on Foreign Relations “Revising U.S. Grand Strategy Toward China”
Source: Foreign Policy “Where Do We Draw the Line on Balancing China?”
Full texts of the Council on Foreign Relations report and Foreign Policy article are respectively available at: http://www.cfr.org/china/revising-us-grand-strategy-toward-china/p36371 and https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/04/27/where-do-we-draw-the-line-on-balancing-china/
Instead of protesting against China’s large-scale land reclamation in the South China Sea as requested by the Philippines, ASEAN leaders have expressed in their chairman’s summit statement their “serious concerns” on China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea though refrained from naming China. They worry that it “may undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea” and be detrimental to “freedom of navigation in and over-flight over the South China Sea”.
They certainly referred to the military threat those artificial islands may constitute to neighboring states but did not say so directly.
Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of US Pacific Fleet, however, made it very direct and clear. Washing Post quoted him in its report “U.S. Navy alarmed at Beijing’s ‘Great Wall of sand’ in South China Sea” on April 1 as saying, “China is creating a Great Wall of sand with dredges and bulldozers over the course of months.”
In my post “China’s Economic v. US Military Approach Regarding Artificial Islands” on April 16, I said, “China must use the vast sea areas it claims in the South China Sea for economic development instead of military purpose.
“That is very important because if China is so stupid as to use those islands for military purpose now, it will make its repeated statements on its pursuit of peaceful rise a 100% lie.”
Moreover, there is no need for China to militarize those islands now, therefore, China will not be so stupid now to turn any of the artificial islands into its military base.
If the US and Japan really begin to patrol the areas near those artificial islands or conduct military provocation in any other manner, it will be a favorable timing for China to militarize those islands.
For now, it is very good timing for China to conduct large-scale land reclamation as the US attention has now been diverted to the ISIS in the Middle East and Ukraine in Europe.
At the end of the day, what counts is the exploitation of the energy and other natural resources, fishery, fish farming and tourism potential there. Only by such exploitation can China really be benefited from its sovereignty over the vast sea area there.
China’s military development and the potential militarization of the artificial islands will cause the US, Japan and China’s other neighboring countries to devote most of their available resources to acquisition of military hardware while neglecting the development of economic exploitation of the islands and areas. Commercial enterprises certainly think it too risky in investing in land reclamation there. As a result, this is the best timing for China to conduct large-scale land reclamation.
The US and China’s contending claimants will realize their error in neglecting the economic exploitation there when China has obtained substantial economic benefits from its artificial islands, but it will be too late for them.
I have mentioned several times in my posts Chinese Confucian Sage Mencius’ well-known saying “favorable timing is not as good as geographical advantage; while geographical advantage is not as good as popular support.”
I have described the favorable timing. The geographical advantage of the artificial islands for control of the vast sea area claimed by China is obvious.
As for popular support, as China lost substantial territories in the century it was weak, Chinese people certainly support their government in maintaining China’s sovereignty over the vast sea areas and the small islands and reefs there as those are the legacy left behind by their ancestors. However, those areas, islands and reefs are remote from Chinese mainland and Chinese people can see them only on the map.
However, if popular holiday resorts have been built on those artificial islands, lots of Chinese tourists will enjoy the blue sky and beautiful clouds in the day and bright stars at night and swim in the crystal clear water there. Chinese people will have a physical sense to love the Chinese territories that they formerly could only see on the map.
That will be the best education of patriotism to gain great popular support for China’s fight in defending its sovereignty over the areas, islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
Source: ASEAN website “Chairman’s Statement of The 26th ASEAN Summit Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi, 27 April 2015”
Source: Washington Post “U.S. Navy alarmed at Beijing’s ‘Great Wall of sand’ in South China Sea”
I have written quite a few posts about US leaders’ stupidity to entertain my readers. My deeper intention is to warn American people about the problems in its system in selecting its leaders, which if without reform, cannot enable the US to have wise leaders.
China however knows it has to conduct not only economic but also political reforms to enable it to have talented leaders and prevent the emergence of a despotic leader. The US wants it to copy US system but fails to see the problems in its own system.
The problems now are China is able to have talented leaders for decades: Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping.
When they are stupid, I will also describe their stupidity to entertain my readers. However, I do not have many opportunities. Hu Jintao was weak and unable to turn his good ideas into reality, but his scientific outlook on development, especially the key part of it “putting the people first” similar to US talented president Lincoln’s government for the people is really wonderful.
Now, Xi Jinping is carrying out Hu Jintao’s scientific outlook on development.
Since Xi took over the reign, he has been carrying out his political reforms of the rule of law and democratic supervision through his mass-line campaign, but such reforms does not please Western media as they are not the westernization but the political reforms with Chinese characteristics.
Here I have to repeat my heroic conception of history. History is created by leaders of nations. There must be a wise talented leader if a country wants to be strong and prosperous.
Times report on Carter’s view that he is not able to be elected US president now as he lacks money reflects the serious problem in US presidential system. Carter words that one shall have $200 million election funds to join the competition proves that the US presidential election is a first of all a competition for the talents to raise election funds instead of a competition for the talents to run the country.
With such a system, it is difficult for a wise talented president to emerge in the US to compete with China’s extremely wise, talented and popular leader Xi Jinping.
Source: Times “Carter: Can’t afford to be president today”
Full text of Times report is available at http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/carter-can-t-afford-to-be-president-today-1.1870924?via=newsletter&source=CSPMedition#.VT6HXXZHYR4.twitter
CCTV says in its report today that there is great boosting force now to implement the 10-year idle Pan-Asia Railway Network Agreement among Governments thanks to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative.
The Pan-Asian Railways contains east, middle and west lines that all start from Kunming and go respectively through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and merge at Thailand’s Bangkok. It finally go through Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to its final destination Singapore.
China is building 7-km Baofeng tunnel in Yunnan-Yuxi Railway, the Chinese part of the network.
Other countries are speeding up the construction of the railways outside China. Laos regards the section in it as a priority project in its eighth five-year plan. China and Thailand entered into a contract for China-Thailand Railway at the end of 2014 and construction of the railway will begin later this year. When the railway opens to traffic, Bangkok will be an important hub of the 21st century maritime Silk Road.
China has formulated and implemented its national standards for high-speed rails, which will provide the standards for connection of various countries’ railways.
Source: CCTV “One Belt, One Road joint construction for prosperity: speeding up the construction of Pan-Asian Railway for connection of ‘One Belt, One Road’” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report I Chinese)
Pakistan can be regarded as a violent, lawless and run-down place with great risk of infiltration of Islamic extremists. It is in economic difficulties as no one in the world is willing to take the risk in investing in it.
According to quanzhan.com’s report on April 23, due to the risks, Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain told Chinese President Xi Jinping when he met Xi on April 22 that the Pakistani government has approved the plan to establish an armed force of 10,000 personnel specialized in protecting Chinese workers in Pakistan.
That proves the high risks in investing in Pakistan.
Why Chinese President is willing to invest more than $6 billion in a country no businessmen in the world are willing to take the risk to invest there?
Xi’s investment is a gamble with a huge stake!
First, it is a political instead of a commercial investment aimed at ensuring the safety of China’s trade lifelines to the Middle East and Europe. Compared with China’s annual trade volume of around $700 billion with Europe and the Middle East the $6 billion investment in a few years is not a big amount.
Moreover, Xi has certainly analyzed the risks and potential gains there. The investment risks in Pakistan are mainly due to infiltration of Taliban from Afghanistan in its fighting with US troops. When US troops leave Afghanistan, Taliban will leave Pakistan.
Moreover, like China in the past, poverty and lack of education are the major causes of political instability. China has the experience in bringing prosperity to poor and uneducated people. Moreover, overseas Chinese were able to develop economy and become rich in Southeast Asia when there was political instability there.
There is the chance for China’s success in doing so. The economic rewards will be quite substantial as labor is very cheap there. China is in dire need for cheap labor as labor has become increasingly expensive in China.
Where there are risks, there is opportunity. Due to Pakistan’s strategic importance to China, Xi has to take the risks.
Source: qianzhan.com “What is China’s iron brother Pakistan? Pakistani President: There will be 10,000 troops to protect Chinese workers” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
I have to quote Chinese Confucian Sage Mencius’ teaching again: “Favorable timing is not as good as geographical advantage, while geographical advantage is not as good as popular support.”
As usual, the US fails to pay attention to the three essential factors in making its moves.
Reuters report today says in its title that the US seeks access to Philippine bases as part of its pivot to Asia.
If the US wants to contain China, its pivot to Asia shall not be the transfer of its military to areas near China to be vulnerable to missile attack from China’s land-based missiles and air force. It shall make diplomatic efforts to contain China by its allies and friends around China and the establishment of its Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Militarily, it can contain China whenever it likes by cutting China’s trade lifelines at high sea with its dominant navy.
Transferring 60% of its military to areas near China will enable China to wipe out most US navy and air force near China and greatly reduce US capabilities in cutting China’s trade lifelines at high sea.
Like his predecessors, new US Defense Secretary Ash Carter is also strategy illiterate though it is said that he has studied China’s gifted strategist Sun Tze’s book The Art of War.
Reuters says in the report, “U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia ‘pivot’, deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region”. He also wants valuable US military assets to be destroyed by Chinese missiles.
According Reuters, “The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea.”
There is the report based on some photos that China is building an airstrip on the artificial island it has built on Fiery Cross Reef, but the so-called airstrip indicated by the photo is not straight enough to serve that purpose.
China plays the trick by saying that the artificial islands it is building are for civil purposes but it has the right to use them for military purposes.
The US chooses the bad timing to ask for access to Philippine military bases as that will give China the excuse to militarize its artificial islands. As a result, all the military facilities in Philippine bases will be within the range of Chinese intermediate ballistic missiles based on the artificial islands and the cruise missiles from Chinese warplanes taking off from the airfields there.
The US chooses unfavorable timing!
As US military only have access to Philippine military bases but cannot deploy its radar, intermediate ballistic missiles or other facilities there, it has no geographical advantage.
Moreover, the US has no popular support in the Philippines as it is only interested in deploying its military to contain China but has taken no action at all to support the Philippines in its disputes with China.
The best example is the Scarborough standoff. China has been driving away Philippine vessels from the shoal since the standoff but the US has taken no actions whatsoever to support the Philippines.
The lack of the three factors is not something new. The US carried on its war in Vietnam in spite of the weather, the geographic difficulties and long-distance transport and American people’s protest against the war US war. It would not have started the war if it has made calculation and found it lacked any of the three factors. When it had found that it lacked all the three factors, it should have ceased the war immediately but US president did not have the wisdom and determination to do so until it entirely lost the war and enabled Vietnamese communists to get lots of US advanced weapons to become a regional hegemon.
Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping was much wiser, when he encountered setback in attacking Vietnam, he immediately withdrew Chinese troops.
However, the US has never learnt lessons from its failures. President Bush junior committed the blunders of conducting two prolonged wars at the same time that have made Islamic extremists stronger and the US heavily in debt but the president’s brother is still a favorite Republican candidate for US presidential election next year.
China’s successes lie in its wise leaders; while US failures, its poor leaders.
Source: Reuters “United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot”
Full text of Reuters report can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/25/us-philippines-usa-idUSKBN0NG05R20150425
Since US President Obama adopted his new policy of pivot to Asia, the US has made great efforts to encircle China. It has exploited China’s maritime territorial disputes with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam and border disputes with India to encircle China militarily in China’s east, west and south and tried hard to exploit the disputes to pit ASEAN against China diplomatically and establish its Trans-Pacific Partnership to contain China economically.
It has made some progress though has not achieved substantial success there. However, it leaves a large hole in its encirclement to the west of China: Pakistan in addition to its failure to contain China in its north through Russia.
In fact, Russia is of key importance to the encirclement. It is relatively easy for the US to pit Russia against China as there was military conflict between China and Russia’s predecessor the Soviet Union in late 1960s and early 1970s. Moreover Russia regards China’s rise as a threat.
However, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping exploit the remnant enmity between Russia as the successor of the Soviet Union and the US to develop an alliance with Russia. Xi is lucky that the Ukraine issue almost entirely diverted the bunt of US pivot from China to Russia.
Due to US strategy illiteracy, the US has focused on developing its anti-A2/AD capabilities against China but fails to see that China’ geographical advantage in using its land-based missiles and air force to defeat any US anti-A2/AD attempts.
If the US had been wise, it should have adopt the strategy of maintaining naval dominance at high sea to enable it to cut China’s marine trade lifelines at any time. On the other hand, it would have pit Russia against China to prevent China from having an alternative trade lifeline through Russia on land.
That is not a big error as the US always has difficulties in dealing with Russia, while the land route is too long for China.
US critical strategy illiteracy lies in its failure to see the vital importance of Pakistan in its encirclement of China.
Pakistan has long been a close US ally due to US support for it in its conflicts with India. US efforts to win over India to encircle China alienated Pakistan.
In secret, Chinese leaders see the tremendous importance of Pakistan as its link to the west. Pakistan may provide an alternative land and sea route for China’s trade with the Middle East and Europe.
If China has succeeded in developing such an alternative trade lifeline, it will not fear that US navy may cut its trade lifelines to the west especially its vital oil supply from the Middle East.
Therefore, China has made decades of efforts to tighten its ties with Pakistan. Now, there is the best timing for China to develop its alternative trade lifeline through Pakistan as US has alienated Pakistan by its infringement on Pakistani territorial sovereignty in sending its special force to kill Bin Laden in Pakistan and efforts to win over India while China has become very popular in Pakistan through decades of efforts.
In addition, China has abundant financial, technical and industrial resources to develop that alternative trade lifeline.
Four generations of Chinese leaders Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping have the vision to make the trade route possible through decades of efforts while none of US leaders have ever had such vision.
China is lucky that not only its leaders but Iranian leaders also see the importance of Pakistan as a link with China.
Iran Daily says in its report “Iran backs pipeline to China under ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative’ yesterday, ‘Iran says it has ambitious plans to extend its energy delivery network to China under Beijing’s massive ‘One Belt, One Road’ push to boost regional connectivity.
“This has been announced by Iran’s Ambassador to China Ali Asghar Khaji.
“Khaji said Iran would expand its railways, roads, ports, telecoms sector and energy security under a five-year development plan. ‘Setting up an extended network of energy pipelines would help regional security and development,’ he told China’s media.”
There has already been an agreement between Iran and Pakistan to build a gas pipeline between the two countries. Iran has built the part of the pipeline in it, but Pakistan lacks the fund to build it in spite of its urgent need for the gas to ease its pressing energy shortage.
During Xi’s recent visit to Pakistan, an agreement was signed for China to build the pipeline for Pakistan.
Iran Daily quote Khaji as saying, “I don’t think it’s too far away [for] this pipeline [from Iran] to be extended to China through Pakistan. That is something that would be of common interest to Iran, China and Pakistan.”
The three countries are now making China’s alternative trade lifeline through Pakistan a reality in a few years.
Source: Iran Daily “Iran backs pipeline to China under ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative”
Full text of Iran Daily’s report may be viewed at http://www.iran-daily.com/News/116546.html?catid=3&title=Iran-backs-pipeline-to-China-under–One-Belt–One-Road–initiative
China has completely mastered the technology of its fourth-generation high temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor, able to make more than 95% of it except the graphite.
It has built an 10-mW experimental reactor and successfully used it to provide electricity to power grid since January 7, 2003.
Construction of an exemplary power plant using such a reactor is almost completed in Rongcheng, Shandong Province and will generate electricity in 2017.
Now, it is designing a 600-mW nuclear plant in Ruijin with two such reactors. The reactors will begin to be built in 2017 and supply electricity in 2021.
The official in charge stressed that the new power plant will be called Ruijin High Temperature Reactor Power Plant instead of Ruijin Nuclear Power Plant.
The new type of nuclear reactor is extremely safe. Tests have proved that in a serious accident, such as entire loss of cooling capability, the reactor is able to remain safe without human or machine intervention.
Due to such an advantage, China will use such reactors to build lots of nuclear power plants at home and will export them.
China has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dubai for cooperation in building such reactors and provided Saudi Arabia with a design plan for using such a reactor in desalting sea water.
Source: people.com “China has systematic mastery of the technology of high temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor with more than 95% of it made in China” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Four ASEAN members Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines are contending claimants against China in the South China Sea.
Among them, Malaysia is comparatively quite a strong nation but has never been vocal in protesting against what China has done in the South China Sea, even China’s large-scale land reclamation in building quite a few artificial islands.
Reuters says in its report titled “Host Malaysia avoids Chinese ire over disputed sea at ASEAN summit” today, “Philippines President Benigno Aquino has called on leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to issue a collective statement condemning China’s reclamation in the disputed waters at the end of their Kuala Lumpur meeting.”
However, “ASEAN summit host Malaysia, which has close economic ties with China, has traditionally downplayed tensions in the South China Sea. An advance copy of (Malaysian Prime Minister) Najib’s statement, as of April 16, makes no mention of China’s reclamation work in the area.”
Why China is able to silence Malaysia, Brunei and even Vietnam, the three ASEAN members that have maritime territorial disputes with China?
In early April, US President Obama accused China of bullying its neighbors by its “sheer size and muscle”.
We now seem to have answer: Malaysia has been silenced by China’s bully with “sheer size and muscle”.
Do not underestimate Malaysian people! If Malaysian people were unhappy with their Prime Minister’s silence, they might protest as strongly as Vietnamese people when China deployed an oil rig in disputed waters.
The fact is that Malaysia has nothing to complain. Chinese coast guards have not forbidden Malaysian fishermen from fishing in the disputed waters. China even turned a blind eye to Malaysian exploitation of oil in disputed waters and establishment of a diving resort on a disputed island.
China adopts a zero-sum policy with the Philippines in driving away Philippine fishing boars as the latter adopted such a policy to forbid Chinese fishermen from fishing at Scarborough Shoal that started the Scarborough standoff.
China is really seeking a win-win solution to the disputes with Malaysia and so is Malaysia. As a result, the two countries have agreed to resolve their disputes through bilateral consultations, but no consultations have so far been held as there have been no complaints.
The above-mentioned facts prove that Obama’ accusation of China bullying its neighbors is groundless at least in the case of Malaysia.
Reuters regards close economic ties between Malaysia and China as the factor that makes Malaysia silent.
Close economic ties certainly count but as Malaysia is a democracy, popular support is more important.
Chinese Confucian sage Mencius says, “Favorable timing is not as good as geographical advantage; while geographical advantage is not as good as popular support.”
Mencius stresses popular support in that well-known saying, but the US, on the contrary seems never take popular support into account in its major moves.
The most obvious example was its Vietnamese War. The US also failed to consider that factor when it has made its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan too long to maintain popular support.
It is now also repeating that error of neglecting popular support. It has made Russian President Putin increasingly popular by its erroneous way in dealing with the Ukraine issue. As a result, Putin has Russian people’s support even in fighting a nuclear war in dealing with Ukraine issue.
However, while European countries are making efforts for peace, the US is helping Ukraine to continue the war. It has no idea that even if the war is justified, Ukrainian people will grow weary of the war if it drags on endlessly. When Ukrainian government has lost popular support, it will definitely lose.
Can US advanced weapons and training help? No, the advanced weapons supplied to China’s KMT and South Vietnamese governments supplemented by training went to the communists, and those to Iraqi government went to ISIS. We can predict that the advanced weapons supplied to Ukrainian government supplemented by training will finally go to Russia.
Most Chinese leaders consider the three factors, especially popular support, in their major moves.
They have won popular support in both China and Russia in China’s alliance with Russia, which has enabled Putin to claim that Russian-Chinese relations are better ever in history. He means that the de facto alliance between the two countries now is better than the alliance based on a treaty in 1950s.
Bloomberg says in its report titled “China Picks Pakistan as First Stop on $40 Billion Silk Road” on April 21, “Pew Research Center found in a poll conducted last year. Pakistanis gave a 78 percent favorable rating to China, compared with 14 percent for the U.S., the poll showed.”
Before Chinese President Xi Jinping provided Pakistan with billions of US dollars for economic development in his recent visit, China had already been popular in Pakistan, but the US has been unpopular in spite of the much bigger aids it has given to Pakistan before the visit.
Xi’s big spending is popular in Pakistan but not so in China; therefore, Chinese media has to publish lots of articles to praise Pakistan for what favorable things it has done for China in the past to justify the spending.
Xi pays great attention to winning popular support.
China has won popular support in ASEAN due to the success in its free trade area (FTA) with ASEAN. It will gain popular support through its FTA relations with South Korea, Australia and New Zealand if China keeps on carrying out its win-win policy.
The US may gain popularity if Obama succeeds in his TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) initiative, but it is still a question whether he will be able to win popular support for TPP in US Congress.
How can Obama achieve his rebalance against China’s FTA in East and Southeast Asia if he cannot make his TPP a reality?
Source: Reuters “Host Malaysia avoids Chinese ire over disputed sea at ASEAN summit”
Source: Bloomberg “China Picks Pakistan as First Stop on $40 Billion Silk Road”
The full text of the two reports are respectively available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/23/us-asean-summit-philippines-idUSKBN0NE0TL20150423 and http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-21/china-picks-pakistan-dam-as-first-stop-on-40-billion-silk-road