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"The Chinese Dream" - the nightmare of Asia? - EastRussia |

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"The Chinese Dream" - the nightmare of Asia?

At the largest annual meeting of officials and experts on Asian security spoke of the aggressiveness of China

"The Chinese Dream" - the nightmare of Asia?

"We do not think that China wants to rule the world. China wants to rule us all, "- so expressed a concerned representative of one of the countries of Southeast Asia on the sidelines of the Singapore summit on security of Asia (Shangri-La Dialogue).

For two days, this observation was repeated time after time, while representatives of almost every Asian and western countries asked the same question in different ways: what happened to the "peaceful rise" of China?

The growing aggressive revisionism of Beijing threatens peace in Asia and the main interests of almost every country in it. Recently, China has been using "gunboat diplomacy" to assert its claims to the vast expanses of the South China Sea; One-sidedly creates an air defense zone above the Senkaku Islands, actually under the control of Japan; Establishes control over the Philippine territories in the South China Sea; Places an oil rig in the territorial waters of Vietnam, which led to the sinking of one of the Vietnamese ships; Intercepts American and Japanese warplanes far from its territory and provokes American, Japanese, Indian, Philippine and Vietnamese warships in international waters, and sometimes even in their territorial waters.

In Singapore, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered a speech, which the allies of the Americans in the region, who obviously needed to be comforted, received very well. He noted the impressive superiority of the United States in military forces and interaction with partners. He also outlined current military exercises, visits of warships, arms sales and other actions that strengthen the US as a guarantor of the existing order in the region. He rejected the use of force as a way to assert territorial claims or restrict freedom of flight and maritime navigation, and suggested that China had a choice: to return to the provisions of international law that guarantee pluralism and peace, or move away from them and risk the possibility of war.

This is exactly what the region wanted to hear. Many in Asia believed that China uses the "salami tactics" in the East and South China seas, which consists in establishing control over the reef here and shoaling there, using armed forces in the course of oil searches in the waters of other countries without their consent, demanding To obtain permission for Japanese aircraft to fly over the Japanese islands of the Senkaku archipelago and control neutral waters as if they belonged to China for some reason.

Each of these provocations alone is not sufficiently substantial to justify the possible use of force by the United States. However, in aggregate, they represent a decisive challenge to the basics of Asian and global security. China more and more feels entitled to call East and Southeast Asia primarily a sphere of its interests. We see the result of the Russian version of this approach in Ukraine.

At the same time, for some reason, the Chinese government considers the attempts of the Americans and their allies to keep the fragile status quo in Asia as destabilizing. China declares that it is engaged in protection against provocations from other countries - first of all, Japan, whose armed forces cannot even legally defend against American ones in the event of a direct attack, not to mention any offensive actions. China’s Chief Military Representative at the Singapore Summit, Lt. Gen. Wang Guanjon, condemned Hagel’s statements about maintaining the status quo, calling them "full of hegemony, threats and intimidation." “This is not China, but the US is creating destabilizing factors in the Asia-Pacific region in order to stir up the conflict,” he said.



The Kissinger Trap

Perhaps the path to stability in the region is what Chinese leaders call a "new type of relationship between the great forces." Do not let these pesky Japanese and Filipinos drag you into the war far from home - as the Chinese friends of the US advise. It is much better to build a Sino-US sphere of influence that will improve the relations between the current and emerging superpowers and provide an opportunity to respect the basic interests of each other. In the most extreme form, this proposal resembles a treaty in Tordesillas, signed in 15 century by Spain and Portugal, according to which the two powers agreed to share the New World. "We will be the dominant force in the western part of the Pacific Ocean," the Chinese whisper. "Everything that is to the east of the Hawaiian archipelago will remain part of the American world."

The former senior official of the Obama administration called it the “Kissinger's trap”: the belief that a secret deal between China and the United States, which would subordinate American allies, and secondary interests could become the basis for peace between great powers. In fact, the more likely option is that in which such a treaty would force America out of the growing center of world wealth and global influence. In any case, serious forces, such as India and Japan, will not accept a similar scheme; submission of India to China is “incomprehensible,” according to one of the Indian strategists. Indeed, the theme of the summit this year was the complete lack of desire on the part of Asian countries to hand China the role of leader.

"China is interested only in the opinion of the United States," said one of the important Asian officials at the Singapore summit. Indeed, America remains the center around which the security system of East Asia revolves - because the majority of Asian states still consider its leadership role more reassuring than threatening. On the contrary, China seems to be able to offer only the doctrine of “law of force”, voiced by the Chinese foreign minister at a regional forum: “China is a big country and other countries are small, and that’s a fact.” If this is what President Xi Jinping’s “Chinese dream” means for Asia, then China’s neighbors will no doubt want to stay in US orbit.