PEEVED AT TRUMP’S PRO INDIA BENT, CHINESE MEDIA DEFENDS PAKISTAN AND BATS FOR A GREATER CHINESE ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN

Will the US turn Afghanistan into a geopolitical bridgehead in Central Asia or work with China to build peace there?

That is a question posed by an editorial in China’s state-run publication Global Times. The editorial believes that the Afghanistan policy revamp by US President Donald Trump is a step in wrong direction.

Presenting the case for greater Chinese involvement in Afghanistan and defending Pakistan whom Trump again called a safe haven for terrorists and a duplicitous nation, the editorial says that “the US needs to enhance cooperation with China and improve ties with Pakistan to stabilize the Afghanistan situation.”

Reeking of the usual arrogance of Chinese media that threatens India with war every other day in the ongoing Doklam standoff, the editorial argues that it will be stupid on the part of the US “to abandon Pakistan and particularly short-sighted to get too close to India and drift away from Pakistan.” Pushing the Pakistani case further, it says that the US needs to respect and consider Pakistan’s interests and difficulties, and not push the latter too hard on anti-terrorism issues.

Under his government’s Afghanistan Policy, Trump has announced several departures from his established stand to withdraw the US from the war-torn South Asian nation. His emphasis is on increasing the number of US troops in Afghanistan and giving the forces free hand to handle insurgents and not micro-managing then from the Washington. And he clearly said that developing a strategic partnership with India was a critical part of US’ strategy for South Asia.

At the same time, he came down heavily on Pakistan and warned that the US would no longer be silent about Pakistan’s double-dealings and pressed that it had to change immediately. How frustrated the US is with Pakistan becomes clear with Trump’s remarks that “the US has been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that US is fighting.”

Now China is batting for that Pakistan and it tells how hollow these Chinese claims are, either in this boastful editorial about Chinese importance in Afghanistan when it has almost negligible presence there or the response of the China’s Foreign Ministry earlier which defended Pakistan saying the international community should recognize Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism.

Continuing its verbal tirade against the US, which banned some Chinese companies and individuals yesterday for their North Koreans links, the editorial says that there is nothing new in Trump’s Afghanistan policy and it ignores the complicated situation in Pakistan which cannot be handled by a single power.

The editorial accepts that the US doesn’t trust China enough but goes on to say that the US and China share common interests in Afghanistan and proposes that “Afghanistan could become a bridge for the two to expand their cooperation.” While the new US policy sees a clear strategic shift towards India, Afghanistan’s trusted partner in its reconstruction, Global Times finds no initiative on international cooperation and new thinking in Trump’s vision which it believes dangles between the approaches taken by Barack Obama and George W Bush and is aimed at maintaining the status quo.

That line of argument is in stark contrast to what Trump thinks. While detailing the policy in an address to the nation, Trump said, “One way or another, these problems will be solved – I’m a problem solver – and, in the end, we will win.” According to Trump and his aides, lengthy deliberations went into formulating the strategy after which Trump reached to a conclusion that the US could not leave Afghanistan in a state that would make it a breeding ground for terror outfits quoting the example of Iraq where a US withdrawal saw emergence of the Islamic State.

Now if the editorial calls that Afghan policy of the US aimless, it is nothing but driven by its vested interests and anti-India streak. China doesn’t want a US military base in Afghanistan. And China doesn’t want an increased strategic presence of India in Afghanistan that can provide it a vital base overlooking China and deeper access to energy rich Central Asia and Iran.

©SantoshChaubey

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SO MUCH SO FOR CHINESE RESTRAINT, INDIA CHINA BORDER STANDOFF SPILLS OVER IN AUSTRALIA

Some days ago, in a boastful article, China’s hawkish state publication Global Times had claimed that “contrary to India’s nationalistic fomenting, Chinese public was largely calm over border tension” between India and China on Doklam Plateau.

What to say then on these vituperative remarks by Chinese people, “Anyone who offends China will be killed no matter how far the target is”, “Borderline is our baseline” and “China: Not even a bit can be left behind”?

And that too, in a faraway land, almost 9000 Kms from Beijing, in Sydney, Australia, so much so for the so-called Chinese restraint.

According to a report in The Australian, these slogans were carried by Chinese people in a rally in Sydney on August 15 to protest the Indian stand in the Doklam standoff. The Chinese used a convoy of luxury cars covered in Chinese flags and anti-India slogans.

Close on the heels of this, another controversy erupted in the University of Sydney where an Indian origin professor Khimji Vaghjiani used a map during the course of one of his lectures that showed India in control of territory on the Indo-China border, especially Aksai Chin.

The Chinese youth, whom the Chinese media portray as uber cool folks who have shown “no extreme reaction directly related to the standoff targeting India”, lost their temper on such a trivial issue even if the professor clarified his situation for using the map.

“Over 18 months ago, I used an out-of-date map, downloaded from the internet, when discussing characteristics of IT entrepreneurs around the world, however I was unaware that the map was inaccurate and out-of-date. This was a genuine mistake and I regret any offence this may have caused”, The Australian quoted him saying.

Now that is what we call a calm attitude and a gentleman’s reaction, unlike Chinese people or Chinese state media or Chinese government, who have been threatening India of war and dire consequences every other day, ever since the Doklam standoff began in June.

The Australian example once again shows how Chinese scramble to catch up every opportunity to target India. The otherwise calm Chinese youngsters posted articles on different platforms demanding removal of an innocuous map that showed India’s claims on its territory in forceful Chinese occupation, Aksai Chin and parts of Ladakh. After all, what else can be expected from them who threaten to kill anyone who offends China.

©SantoshChaubey

WHERE WAS CHINESE STATE MEDIA’S FUSS THIS WEEKEND?

The weekend passed without any fuss this time. The Chinese state media didn’t come with any editorial warning India of war or disastrous consequences, be it People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party (CPC), or its hawkish tabloid Global Times or China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.

Let’s begin with Global Times, the sister publication of People’s Daily that has been the front of the Chinese state media pushing for an India-China war (scenario?) ever since the border standoff between the two countries on the Doklam Plateau began around mid-June.

The only editorial with harsh war rhetoric available on the opinion section of its website is from August 7. Titled ‘India misjudges China’s hope for peace’, it mocks India for miscalculated assessment of Chinese ‘silence’ and then throws the routine, i.e., ‘countermeasures from China will be unavoidable’.

The pattern of all other editorials, especially during the weekend, have been back to viewpoints like the developments around the South China Sea dispute, or the Sino-US trade row or even the Sino-India trade war but the hawkish tone of military war has taken a leave it seems. Now whether it is temporary or the Chinese propaganda machinery will be back to its virtual war with India only time will tell.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

NOW CHINESE STATE MEDIA WADES INTO US-NORTH KOREA ROW, SAYS CHINA WOULD COUNTER US ACTION AGAINST NORTH KOREA

“China should make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral.”

This is what an editorial in China’s official publication Global Times, known for taking extreme positions, says. The official mouthpiece of the ruling Chinese Communist Party has been issuing war threats and warnings of disastrous consequences to India on a daily basis ever since the India-China border standoff in Doklam Plateau began in June.

It is an established fact that China is the only factor that has let North Korea, a rogue state, become increasingly belligerent over the years in spite of global sanctions that have been in place for decades. China, in fact, is the only major trading partner of North Korea and accounts for over 80 per cent of North Korean trade.

After North Korea’s first Inter-continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) test, that was surprisingly successful, and its increasing threats of launching a nuclear missile on the US, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last week imposed even harsher sanctions on North Korea in an aim to reduce its exports by one-third.

But seeing the history of China always extending olive branch to North Korea, experts are divided on whether imposing more sanctions on North Korea will be of any help. Even though China has announced to support the sanctions, its track record says it has never implemented such international agreements in past and they merely remained on paper.

In the same doublespeak, China’s state run media says here if North Korea attacks the US, China should remain neutral but would prevent any US or South Korean attempt to overthrow the war friendly dictatorial regime of North Korea, “If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

That clearly means China would not take any pre-emptive step to stop North Korea from taking that disastrous step and would not allow even the US and South Korea to do so, even if it means a nuclear attack by the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Clearly taking the line of China’s interests first, the editorial goes on to say that “China will firmly resist any side which wants to change the status quo of the areas where China’s interests are concerned.”

US President Donald Trump has warned that the US is fully prepared, locked and loaded, to face any North Korean threat following his reaction to unleash fire and fury on North Korea after it was revealed that North Korea had developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead for its missiles that could effectively reach the US mainland.

In response, North Korea has said that it is readying plans to launch missile attack on Guam, an US island in the Pacific. Guam is a major US military installation housing the Naval Base Guam and the Anderson Air Force Base. Apart from high-end military assets like the B52 bombers and the nuclear powered fast attack submarines, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), an anti-ballistic missile defence system, are deployed here. Recently, the US deployed THAAD in South Korea to counter any missile attack threat from North Korea. China sees presence of THAAD in the Korean Peninsula a challenge its sovereignty in its area of influence and has been vehemently opposing it.

North Korea has been rapidly revving up its nuclear and missile programme after successful test launches of nuclear capable ICBMs. Trump, who had said earlier that he would not allow North Korea to have an ICBM, had reacted strongly on North Korean ICBM saying the US was drawing plans for its “pretty severe” response.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINESE MEDIA NOW PATRONISES BHUTAN, WARNS INDIA OF DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES YET AGAIN

The article originally appeared on India Today on 9 August.

In a clear attempt to patronize Bhutan, an editorial by China’s official news agency, Xinhua now has blamed India to turn Bhutan into its protectorate. Saying that if there is any dispute, it is between China and Bhutan and “it has nothing to do with India.”

Terming Bhutan a weak country, the editorial says India is recklessly invading its neighbour based on “childish assumptions and foolhardy speculations.” “The bottom line in international justice is that no country may pursue its security at the cost of another’s sovereignty,” the editorial further writes in attempts to provoke Bhutan.

The editorial’s line that “China respects Bhutan as an independent sovereign state and resents India’s attempt to turn it into a de facto protectorate,” may be a new Chinese ploy to mould or pressure Bhutan after India has refused to budge from its position in spite of incessant Chinese threats of military action.

Extending the routine of aggrandizing China’s military prowess, it warns that “India should underestimate neither China’s determination nor its capacity to defend its sovereignty and national interests and must dispel all illusions and avoid disastrous consequences.”

Terming India’s thinking that China will back down a wishful thinking, it further says that India, so far, has done nothing to diffuse the border crisis in Doklam and instead is making eccentric demands even if China is known as an expansionist country involved in territorial disputes with around 20 countries.

China has been ratcheting up its anti-India rhetoric through statements of its foreign ministry, defence ministry, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its state run media, infusing it with war threats, saying it is now up to India to deescalate the border tension and withdraw its troops from an area that it claims as its own.

The editor of the Global Times, a state owned hawkish tabloid, today came up with his second video warning India of war if it doesn’t withdraw its troops from Doklam unilaterally. In his first video message last week, he was seen aggrandizing China’s military strength vis-a-vis India, drawing parallels like ‘if China and India engage in military conflict, the PLA has an overwhelming advantage”. The hawkish newspaper, a sister publication the People’s Daily, Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, has run a number of anti-India editorials laden with rhetoric ever since soldiers from the Indian Army and the PLA first faced off on the Doklam plataue last month.

Doklam that China considers a part of its Donglang region has been a long running territorial dispute between Bhutan and China and Bhutan even issued a demarche to China on construction of road in the area by the PLA. Indian troops entered the area to prevent the road construction with India informing China that it was against the agreement of maintaining the status quo in the area as agreed in the past.

But an autocratic and expansionist China refused to budge, and in fact, unleashed an intense propaganda war against India aimed to dislodge the legally valid Indian claims and employed every possible propaganda tool in its arsenal, be it the high pitched ‘war possibility’ threat or arrogant responses delivered by its higher level officials including daily briefings of its foreign ministry or indiscriminate verbal firing rounds by its official publications.

©SantoshChaubey

DOKLAM STANDOFF: INDIA CHINA DID TRY DIPLOMACY BUT IT HAS HIT A ROADBLOCK

A Reuters report has said that the efforts to diffuse the Doklam border standoff between China and India at diplomatic levels have hit a roadblock. The report quoting people who have been briefed on the talks, said that “India’s diplomatic efforts to end a seven-week military standoff with China have hit a roadblock “as there has been no further development “on the low-key diplomatic manoeuvres that took place outside the public eye.”

Last week, while speaking on the Doklam standoff in the Parliament, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that war was not a solution and diplomatic efforts were needed to resolve the crisis. But, according to Reuters, “China did not respond to India’s suggestion in the talks that it move its troops back 250 metres in return if India has to withdraw its troops from Doklam,” quoting a source with deep access to the Modi government.

“The Chinese countered with an offer to move back 100 metres, so long as they received clearance from top government officials”, the Reuters report further said but there has no further headway after it, as clear from increasing war rhetoric from China. “It is a logjam, there is no movement at all now,” the report said quoting another source.

Meanwhile China has continued ratcheting up its anti-India rhetoric through statements of its foreign ministry, defence ministry, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its state run media, infusing it with war threats, saying it is now up to India to deescalate the border tension and withdraw its troops from an area that it claims as its own.

The editor of the Global Times, a state owned hawkish tabloid, today came up with his second video warning India of war if it doesn’t withdraw its troops from Doklam unilaterally. In his first video message last week, he was seen aggrandizing China’s military strength vis-a-vis India, drawing parallels like ‘if China and India engage in military conflict, the PLA has an overwhelming advantage’’. The hawkish newspaper, a sister publication the People’s Daily, Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, has run a number of anti-India editorials laden with rhetoric ever since soldiers from the Indian Army and the PLA first faced off on the Doklam plataue last month.

Doklam that China considers a part of its Donglang region has been a long running territorial dispute between Bhutan and China and Bhutan even issued a demarche to China on construction of road in the area by the PLA. Indian troops entered the area to prevent the road construction with India informing China that it was against the agreement of maintaining the status quo in the area as agreed in the past.

But an autocratic and expansionist China refused to budge, and in fact, unleashed an intense propaganda war against India aimed to dislodge the legally valid Indian claims and employed every possible propaganda tool in its arsenal, be it the high pitched ‘war possibility’ threat or arrogant responses delivered by its higher level officials including daily briefings of its foreign ministry or indiscriminate verbal firing rounds by its official publications.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINA HAS OVERWHELMING ADVANTAGE OVER INDIA IN CASE OF MILITARY CONFLICT: GLOBAL TIMES CHIEF EDITOR

The article originally appeared on India Today.

China has an edge over the United States’s military presence in the South China Sea and anywhere near China’s coastal waters, and is far more powerful than the India’s overall military strength that is restrained by limited resources, an editorial in Global Times, a hawkish state-run newspaper in China, says.

China also has an ability to upgrade its military capabilities that is unparalleled among other countries, the Global Times editorial goes on to say. China has worked on its core strategic areas in such a streamlined fashion that it can augment the country’s comprehensive military capability faster than others, in fact every few years, the editorial points out.

The editorial comes as China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the world’s largest military force with a strength of around 2.3 million troops, celebrates its 90th anniversary and as the India-China standoff at the Doklam plateau enters its second month.

The article is the latest in a string of India-baiting editorial that have been published by the Global Times, which sometimes is known to take extreme positions not always held by Beijing. The hawkish newspaper has run a number of anti-India editorials laden with rhetoric ever since soldiers from the Indian Army and the PLA first faced off on the Doklam plataue last month.

This time, however, the Global Times seems to have brought out the big guns. The newspaper’s Twitter handle today posted a video in which its editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, a former war correspondent, can be seen aggrandizing China’s military strength vis-a-vis India, drawing parallels like ‘if China and India engage in military conflict, the PLA has an overwhelming advantage’ and ‘if China and the US have a standoff in the nearby waters, the PLA will not lose’.

The editorial runs on similar lines, saying that ‘underestimating the PLA’s strength could lead to a major mistake’. The editorial also boasts of PLA’s ‘all around development’ built on high-tech research and development in military hardware including submarines, aircraft carriers and navigation systems and highlights China’s defence budget of $151.4 billion, three times of India’s $52 billion allocation for its defence sector.

China is rapidly enhancing its strategic capabilities and in fact, has created an advanced weapons research agency, the Scientific Research Steering Committee, modelled on the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, the mother of most innovative defence research in the world giving us technologies like internet, GPS, stealth fighters, precision weapons and electromagnetic cannons.

In March this year, China inducted J-20, its first stealth fighter jet, into active service. The same month, it announced to develop a breakthrough, an electric propulsion technology, that it claimed would make its submarines quieter than US submarines. In April, the country launched its first home-built aircraft carrier in open waters. In June, it launched its home-built guided missile destroyer that it claimed was most advanced in Asia and the world second most powerful.

And as it is the season of army parades in China, the Global Times editorial takes the liberty of issuing warning even to the world on PLA’s behalf it seems. It says as “China’s national interests expand, the PLA will take on greater responsibilities. Other countries need to get used to the presence of Chinese forces outside China’s coastal waters, whether they like it or not.”

Last month, China sent its troops to Djibouti, its first overseas military base. China has entered into an agreement with Djibouti which allows it to station its 10,000 troops in the country till 2026, much higher than 4000 US soldiers stationed at Camp Lemonnier, also in Djibouti, America’s largest permanent base in Africa. And experts say its second overseas naval base is going to come up in India’s backyard, at Pakistan’s Gwadar Port in the Arabian Sea.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINA’S VESTED INTERESTS IN ‘ONE BELT ONE ROAD’ A PRETEXT TO MEDDLE IN KASHMIR ISSUE?

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is modified and extended.

Global Times, China’s official mouthpiece, has called for an increased Chinese role in South and Southeast Asia. Citing Chinese mediation between Myanmar and Bangladesh over the Rohingya refugees issue, in an article published today, it says that it is imperative that China protects the interests of its organizations with their increasing global footprint across the world, saying that ‘Beijing cannot turn a deaf ear to such demands’.

Taking its argument to the next level, the article further says that China has made huge investments in many countries under its ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative and therefore it has ‘vested interests’ to mediate in regional conflicts including the ‘Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan’. According to the article, the Chinese experience over the Rohingya issue should serve as a template for the larger Chinese role in South and Southeast Asia.

Such provocations by the official media in China are gradually becoming a trend. Recently, an editorial had suggested that China should intervene in the Kashmir issue actively after India had declined illegitimate Chinese demands of clamping down on the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal Pradesh visit. China claims Arunachal Pradesh is South Tibet and even went on to rename six Arunachal Pradesh cities in maps released by it.

India has made it amply clear that the whole state of Jammu and Kashmir, including Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan, is an integral part of India and if there has to be a dialogue, it has to be bilateral in nature and would focus on Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. If the official Chinese media is still hell bent on advocating increased Chinese mediation in the Kashmir dispute, it should be construed as an extension of the official Chinese propaganda that tried to demean India whenever it gets a chance.

A significant part of China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ passes through PoK where China is making huge investment and which India has objected to as it is ideally an Indian land.

It also exposes the Chinese double standards. China’s considers Arunachal Pradesh its own territory and therefore disputed and cannot tolerate even an exiled Tibetan person, even if the person is the Peace Nobel Laureate, to venture there, whereas it sends an army of its organizations, workers and, in turn, its forces, in the name of safeguarding them, to a disputed territory that has historically been a part of India.

Though some reports say that Myanmar has turned down the offer of Chinese mediation, Myanmar may finally succumb to the Chinese pressure of meddling into its affairs. China has gradually increased its investments in Myanmar to a significant level including an oil pipeline through Myanmar that gives China direct access to crude oil from Middle East and Africa. The oil pipeline was an important piece of China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ map.

China may be the world’s second largest economy but its global reputation is still of an autocratic country with an expansive mindset that is involved in multiple territorial and sea disputes. China’s one party rule has become synonymous with human rights abuses and meddling in global affairs to protect other autocratic regimes like Syria and North Korea.

©SantoshChaubey

CONTINUING DOUBLESPEAK, NOW CHINESE MEDIA WARNS OF GEOPOLITICAL GAMES IN KASHMIR

How rattled is the Chinese media on the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal Pradesh visit is visible from the flurry of threats, warning and even advices that are appearing in its official publications. After calling India’s stand on the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit an undignified and obstinate stand damaging to the India-China bilateral ties or summoning the Indian envoy in Beijing to lodge its protests, it is now the Kashmir issue that China has threatened to rake up.

A latest editorial in China’s official publication Global Times that has been at the forefront of anti-India tirade on the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit, warns India that the use of the Dalai Lama card is ‘tactless’ and at the same time, threatens to use the Kashmir card against India.

While repeating the oft quoted patronizing tone of the official Chinese publications that how big and powerful China is, militarily and economically when compared to India, the editorial writes, “With a GDP several times higher than that of India, military capabilities that can reach the Indian Ocean and having good relations with India’s peripheral nations, coupled with the fact that India’s turbulent northern state borders China, if China engages in a geopolitical game with India, will Beijing lose to New Delhi?”

But China is already playing the Kashmir card against India with its ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project that passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). India considers PoK as its integral part and has lodged strong protests over the Chinese presence in PoK but the CPEC is going ahead in full steam. Here, China goes on bulldozing, mutilating India’s sovereign claims in PoK, but starts making overtures when it comes to even an innocuous Dalai Lama visit to Arunachal Pradesh, that China considers a disputed territory even if the Indian position has been clear to the world that the state is an integral part of India. China expects India to respect its sensitivities, but conveniently forgets to do the same when it comes to the Indian sensitivities.

The editorial, like a doublespeak, writes that the Indian concerns on China blocking India’s entry in the Nuclear Suppliers Groups (NSG) or China vetoing proposals in the United Nations to ban Masood Azhar are international multilateral issues while ‘the Dalai Lama is purely a China’s domestic issue’.

Well, to remind the Chinese strategists writing such doublespeak editorials here that even Masood Azhar is a pure diplomatic issue for India because India has been facing terror acts of terrorists like him or Hafiz Saeed for decades while they have been under patronage of Pakistan and even now China. China’s obstinate stand on Masood Azhar validates it.

It is India’s unchallenged right to hunt down or corner such terrorists and if China considers India as a friendly neighbour and partner, as the editorial says, then it should, in fact, come forward and help the Indian efforts to ban terrorists like Masood Azhar and should put pressure on Pakistan, India’s pestering neighbour that claims to have brotherly ties with China, to stop sponsoring terror in India.

But no. While the Masood Azhar issue is a technical one for China, the Dalai Lama issue is such that ‘India’s attitude towards the Dalai Lama almost affects the entire relationship with China’, the editorial writes.

This screenshot from the Global Times tells us how obsessed and rattled China has been over the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit where ‘India’s Dalai invites’ figure’s among the hot topics.

©SantoshChaubey