NOW, HAWKISH CHINESE MEDIA TARGETS BRITAIN WITH ITS WAR RHETORIC

The article originally appeared on India Today.

It seems that after India, Britain has now come in the firing line of the hawkish Chinese state media. The reason is another territorial dispute – the South China Sea – where China is flexing its muscles, like it’s trying to do with India in the Doklam dispute.

Britain has announced it will send its two aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth – the largest in the British fleet – and HMS Prince of Wales to the South China Sea. It does so in solidarity with the international community’s pledge to ensure freedom in navigation operations in international waters, and to counter China’s attempts to dominate the area by building artificial islands and militarising it with warships and fighter jets.

An editorial in the official Chinese publication Global Times, which regularly threatens India of war over the India-China Doklam plateau border standoff, has warned Britain that sending warships to the South China Sea would be a provocation that would force China to take retaliatory measures.
Questioning the British motive behind the move, the editorial says “it is no longer 1840 and there are no longer any British colonies in East Asia” and that Britain has wrongly taken this decision under Australian and American influence. It describes the “US as a police officer, Australia as its assistant and the UK as its accomplice.”

‘BREXIT WEAKENING BRITAIN’S INFLUENCE’

The editorial says in a patronizing tone that Britain needs to maintain its self-esteem and should not allow itself to “be stupidly dragged back to Asia,” which will only disgrace and humiliate it.

Brexit has been ill-quoted as an example of Britain’s waning influence by the editorial here to justify its arguments. “Brexit is weakening Britain’s influence, and it appears that the country needs to do something to assert its sense of identity.”

The editorial continues to berate Britain as a much weaker country that cannot afford a “new Opium War with China off the China coast,” while aggrandising China’s military prowess that it says has changed the balance of power around the globe.

‘AUSTRALIA CAN ONLY BARK’

Blaming Australia for lobbying hard to instigate Britain, the editorial says Australia “can only bark” and if Britain follows suit, its stature will reduced to “being an accomplice or a dupe.” Canberra has traditionally maintained that China mustn’t build artificial islands in the South China Sea or militarise it.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson revealed his country’s plans to send warships to the South China Sea during his meeting with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop on Thursday. Bishop was recently in India, where she reiterated the traditional Australian stand on the South China Sea dispute.

Australia has indicated that it may join British efforts directed towards ensuring freedom of navigation patrol in the international waters of the South China Sea – a vital trade route for many countries, and the global economy.

In May, during his Australia visit, US Senator John McCain urged Australia and other nations to conduct naval exercises in the South China Sea, to challenge China – which was acting like a bully.

SEVEN-WAY DISPUTE

The territorial dispute in the South China Sea involves seven countries – China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. A busy trade route passes through it and all other countries except China are in favour of keeping its status as free, international waters.

China wants to control it as it imports most of its oil through this trade route and has built artificial islands in the sea. Doing so would enable China to establish hegemony in East and Southeast Asia. As well, it would keep foreign military forces like the US away from the region.

The US Navy has a sizeable presence in the South China Sea and it routinely carries out patrols in the area to deter the Chinese efforts, maintaining that the South China Sea waters must remain free for international navigation. China doesn’t recognize these claims – including the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) which has invalidated the Chinese claims on the South China Sea – and says China has controlled these areas since ancient times and if there’s any dispute, it should be resolved by the concerned nations through bilateral discussions.

©SantoshChaubey

US SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN CALLS FOR SOUTH CHINA SEA DRILL TO CHALLENGE ‘BULLY’ CHINA

The article originally appeared on India Today.

US senator John McCain has called China a bully nation. McCain who is in Australia said “he believed China had been throwing its weight around too much thanks to its development as an economic powerhouse,” a report in The Australian said.

Saying that “the challenge is that China is acting more like a bully” in the Asia-Pacific region, McCain who was the Republican Party nominee in the 2008 US Presidential Election, pressed on the need for the US and Australia to work together “when dealing with economic and strategic issues involving China”, The Australian further wrote. McCain, who is the chairman of the important US Senate Armed Services Committee, is in Australia for security talks and his remarks on China was part of a speech he delivered yesterday. Australia responded to McCain calls saying it would continue to follow “freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight” in accordance with the international laws.

McCain slammed China for its stand on the South China dispute. According to another report in the ABC News, he “called for naval exercises in the South China Sea to challenge Beijing”. McCain said that nations could come together for a multilateral exercise under the US leadership to resist Chinese advances in the disputed territory. “If the Chinese are able to stop us exercising freedom of navigation then that has severe consequences for the whole region”, the report quoted him saying.

Territorial dispute in the South China Sea involves seven countries, i.e., China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. A busy trade route passes through it and all other countries except China are in favour of keeping its status as free, international waters. China wants to control it as it imports most of its oil through this trade route and has built artificial islands in the sea. Doing so would enable China to establish hegemony in East and Southeast Asia that no other country involved in the dispute is capable of. Also, it would keep foreign military forces like the US away from the region.

The US Navy has a sizeable presence in the South China Sea and it routinely carries out patrols in the area to deter the Chinese efforts maintaining that the South China Sea waters remain free for international navigation. China doesn’t recognize these claims including the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) that has invalidated the Chinese claims on the South China Sea and says China exercises control over these areas since ancient times and if there is any dispute it should be resolved by the countries directly concerned through bilateral discussions.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has compared Chinese acts in the South China Sea to the Russian aggression in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. On May 24, China saw the first direct challenge to its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea by the Trump Administration when USS Dewey, a US Navy destroyer, sailed close to an artificial island built by China. China reacted furiously saying it “warned and dispelled” the US Navy destroyer. With this US act, it has become clear that there has been no change in the US policy of “performing freedom of navigation operations” in the South China Sea as opposed to the claims that Trump Administration was deliberately going soft on China’s claims over the South China Sea to bargain trade deals with China and to get Chinese help in controlling North Korea.

©SantoshChaubey

CHINESE MEDIA HITS BACK AFTER TRUMP’S SECRETARY OF STATE REX TILLERSON’S SOUTH CHINA THREAT

The article originally appeared on India Today.

China has hit back through its state media after the next US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson threatened Beijing to block it from the South China Sea.

Continuing the dismissive tone taken by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kong, a Global Times editorial has termed Tillerson’s remarks during his confirmation hearing an indignant talk with little effect and questioned whether it was a bluff for the US Senate. Global Times is the official mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party and represents the country’s official line on issues.

Rex Tillerson, former ExxonMobil CEO and US President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for his ‘Secretary of State’, had told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing that China would not be allowed to build more islands in the South China Sea and at the same time, would not be allowed access to those islands it has already built.

TILLERSON’S VIEWS SELF-PROCLAIMED

Terming Tillerson’s remarks ‘self-proclaimed’, the editorial wrote that ‘China has enough determination and strength to make sure that his rabble-rousing will not succeed and unless Washington plans to wage a large-scale war in the South China Sea, any other approaches to prevent Chinese access to the islands will be foolish’.

While saying that the US has no absolute power to dominate the South China Sea, the editorial says that the remarks made by Tillerson are the most radical of all the US statements towards China so far.

The editorial expects that Tillerson’s words on South China Sea are aimed at merely securing his confirmation from the US Senate and will not translate into policy priorities of the Donald Trump administration or else ‘the two sides had better prepare for a military clash’.

EDITORIAL MOCKS TILLERSON’S CREDENTIALS

Mocking Tillerson for his credentials, the editorial says probably he just had oil prices and currency rates on his mind as former ExxonMobil CEO when he made those remarks. Bragging of China as being a big nuclear power, the Global Times piece opines that ‘Tillerson had better bone up on nuclear power strategies if he wants to force a big nuclear power to withdraw from its own territories’.

In its initial response yesterday, China had dismissed Tillerson’s claims. Lu Kong had said that what Tillerson said was ‘hypothetical’ while asserting the Chinese supremacy over the South China Sea.

©SantoshChaubey

REX TILLERSON, TRUMP’S SECRETARY OF STATE, SAYS WOULD BLOCK CHINA FROM SOUTH CHINA SEA

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Rex Tillerson, former Exxon Mobil CEO and US President Elect Donald Trump’s pick for his ‘Secretary of State’, has told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee that China will not be allowed to build more islands in the South China Sea and at the same time, will not be allowed access to those islands it has already built.

During his confirmation hearing, Tillerson said that ‘he is going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed’, a Reuters report said.

He compared Chinese acts in the South China Sea to the Russian aggression in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. The Reuters report quoting him said that Tillerson considered China’s South China Sea activity “extremely worrisome” and that it would be a threat to the “entire global economy” if Beijing were able to dictate access to the waterway.

CHINA DISMISSES TILLERSON’S REMARKS

The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Lu Kong, has dismissed Tillerson’s words ‘as hypothetical’ in his initial response while asserting the Chinese supremacy over the South China Sea. Lu Kong said that the situation in the South China Sea has cooled down as countries in the region have come round to the agreement. We hope that countries outside the region will respect such an agreement that serves the common interests of the region and beyond.

BUT CHINESE EXPERTS WARN THE US

While Lu Kong said that Tillerson’s words didn’t matter, Chinese experts have warned that China is going to retaliate heavily to any US attempt to block China access to the South China Sea.

South China Morning Post wrote ‘what’s been built has been built’, quoting Wu Xinbo, head of American Studies at Shanghai’s Fudan University. It quoted another expert as saying “China is not Cuba, and the South China Sea is not the Caribbean. The South China Sea is not under the US sphere of influence, it’s China’s territorial waters.”

South China Morning Post is a prominent English language newspaper of China and is now controlled by Hangzhou based e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. And we know that nothing appears in the Chinese media, especially on international policy matters like this, without the state approval.

SETTING A CONFRONTATIONAL TONE?

Though analysts have pointed out that it may be Tillerson’s personal opinion and he would have said so to hide his inexperience in diplomatic affairs, when we see it in the context of what Donald Trump has been saying about China, Tillerson’s words well may be the indication of the things to come.

Trump has been targeting China pre or post his election, especially on trade imbalances and the loss of US jobs to China. He quotes Russia and China when he makes pitch for military and nuclear expansion of the US. He became the first US President-Elect in decades to defy the US policy of following One China norm and called the Taiwanese President angering Beijing. China considers Taiwan as its renegade province.

DISPUTED WATERS

Territorial dispute in the South China Sea involves seven countries, i.e., China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. A busy trade route passes through it and all other countries except China are in favour of keeping its status as free, international waters. China wants to control it as it imports most of its oil through this trade route. Doing so would enable China to establish hegemony in East and Southeast Asia that no other country involved in the dispute is capable of.

Also, it would keep foreign military forces like the US away from the region. The US Navy has a sizeable presence in the South China Sea and it routinely carries out patrols in the area to deter the Chinese efforts maintaining that the South China Sea waters remain free for international navigation. China doesn’t recognize these claims including the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) and says China exercises control over these areas since ancient times and if there is any dispute it should be resolved by the countries directly concerned as Lu Kong said in his press briefing today.

©SantoshChaubey