Can China Handle America’s Return?
Image Credit: White House

Can China Handle America’s Return?


Talks last week between Michèle Flournoy, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, and China’s Gen. Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the People’s Liberation Army general staff, were heavy on feel-good bromides about mutual interests and peaceful cooperation in the western Pacific. However, they predictably left the issues most roiling this critically important region unresolved.

Similar high-level talks, including those held last month between Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao during the APEC summit in Hawaii, are all part of a series of top-level discussions that have been taking place over the past year that have in part been aimed at mollifying a somewhat volatile Beijing in the face of America’s return to the Pacific.

Made possible by the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States’ strategic shift has come not a moment too soon for Washington's friends and allies in the region. These countries have long sought greater U.S. political support and military presence in the face of China’s aggressive employment of its growing power.

While U.S. focus has necessarily been on Southwest Asia, Beijing has been using its rapidly growing military to back up tendentious claims on energy fields hundreds of miles from its coast beneath the South China Sea. China’s attempt to mark claims lying within the Philippine and Vietnamese exclusive economic zones has sparked small-scale naval confrontations. Tensions continue to run high. China also maintains claims in the waters abutting Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

In flagrant breaches of international protocol, Chinese naval flotillas appeared unannounced near Japanese territorial waters several times over the past couple of years, unsettling Tokyo. Taiwan, a U.S. treaty partner, has also suffered from lack of attention in the security realm. The China lobby has thus far prevented the U.S. government from providing Taipei with new, sorely needed F-16 fighters. Instead, older models will be updated. Disappointingly, U.S. efforts to get Beijing to stand down the thousands of missiles pointed at Taiwan have met with little success. South Korea, another U.S. treaty partner, is both unnerved by North Korea’s continued bellicosity and frustrated by Beijing’s unwillingness to bring Kim Jong-il's regime to heel.

Though ostensibly employed to secure the transport of vitally needed energy resources, China’s “String of Pearls” strategy has still unnerved countries in the Pacific Rim. Beijing has established naval bases or secured docking and landing rights for its navy and air force in Sudan, Kenya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Burma. Accompanying the securing of such far-flung ports is China’s push to field a true “blue water” navy capable of operating thousands of miles from home.

Since the turn of the century, China has ramped up production of oceangoing warships including amphibious assault ships and nuclear-powered submarines, to replace what had been a fleet comprised primarily of coastal patrol vessels and short-range diesel-electric subs. China recently began sea trials of its first aircraft carrier, a refurbished Soviet model, and is developing its own indigenously designed and built carriers. Of particular concern is China’s DF-21D ballistic missile program, which could target aircraft carriers and other large ships. This satellite-guided weapon was clearly developed with deterring the U.S. Navy in mind.

no more bias please
August 31, 2012 at 18:40

1. I agree with you that China so far has never partaken of such illicit invasions or illegal toppling of other regimes as the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, which led to innumerable civilian fatalities in those places mentioned.
2. please take a look at "Newspeak in the 21st century" by David Edwards and David Cromwell, in which you will find the atrocities committed by the self-proclaimed democracy-exporting and politically sacrosanct American forces cold-bloodedly slaughtering Iraqis civilians while remaining scot-free. HAve a clear glance at what the American government has done before pointing your finger to others.
3. You got to be kidding me. Has the US  committed itself to any legal-binding international treaty that limits its own carbon contribution yet? 
4.I would agree with u on this one. But the fact that you childishly believe that the US is the "white knight" who selflessly entertains only visions of exporting its democratic structure or ideas to the world , who has never committed anything vile, rapacious and avaricious makes me want to slap you in the face

December 22, 2011 at 14:23

@ 2 cents

US has EPA agency with rules and regulations to control pollution. What does china have? Nothing. Google “china pollution pictures” and open your eyes. No one is pulling a gun to make china to pollute its air, land, water, etc.

US is leaving Iraq and about to leave Afghan soon. What about china/chinese in Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Paracel Islands, ect.? Nope, chinese is still there occupying, just like cockroaches.

It is better for you to take your own advise of STFU and here from me to you. GFYA and GTFOA.

2 cents
December 19, 2011 at 19:13

US is or at least has been the largest contributor to world pollution, if I remember correctly. When you add the context of population, your claim of USA not being a polluter is rather stupid. And remember pollution in China is also partly caused by you since you use it as your manufacturing base and India as a base to perform human tests just because you get it cheaply. STFU!!!
I do not know whether US demanded ransom from poor fishermen, but to give a blatant disregard for UN and attack a country on unfounded claims, with the intent of overthrowing or killing one human has never been done in recent history except by US.
Moreover, sidelining the sovereignty of an ally of a war, and to attack its own people without its knowledge has also never been done by anyone else.
If US has not faked maps, it has fak reasons to start a war with all the Weapons of Mass destruction back its home. I would be really enlightened, if you can spot out a single weapon which is more destructive with Iraq than what US had some 2 decades back.
The financial crisis, Two wars, Killings of innocent thousands, Disregard for UN, Asking CHina to appreciate currency while subsidizing your Agriculture, threatening others with military might, Selling crude for Dollars, contributing the largest to pollution and highest debt mostly if not all, being done by the only country which regards freedom and human liberty as its principle is rather ironic. Is it coincidence or rather a mask of hypocrisy that you people choose to relish.

December 17, 2011 at 02:52

Matt wrote:

December 16, 2011 at 1:32 am

Hey Liangading,

Ask Ai Weiwei about who is lying! Not that you don’t already know. You are probably a paid propagandist! But its ok cause you would be hanged if you focused on your own country.

Liang’s response:
I’m not paid by anybody. Least of all by the Chinese government. If you had read my other comments you’d know I often criticize the CCP government. But I give constructive criticism by offering better policies calculated to make China rich and strong. I’d condemned the CCP government’s foolish reliance on exports of cheap labor intensive products. I’ve also condemned the CCP government’s foolish “opening up” policy that is allowing the foreign enemies to dominate excessive share of China’s domestic market. For example, China’s car market is dominated to some 80% or more by foreign car companies such as Toyota. Therefore, Matt is wrong to say I don’t criticize the Chinese government. I criticize it all the time.

December 17, 2011 at 01:55

I suggest you do more reading and go to library to look up history. Especially if you can find history books that written down form Tang and Sung; then you will see a whole different sky. Your info have been from English language (European & imperialistic) historian so they are bias. Taiwan does not start in 1700! Just like North America Columbia only discovered but it is there all along with natives! Engish language written about Taiwan history only started at that time with the landing of Portuguese in Taiwan they call Formosa. Chinese history is each dynasty have assimilated more peoples into herself and do not equate that as imperialism. As Chinese saying you are viewing the universe from the bottom of a well.

December 17, 2011 at 01:26

Do you know what’ll happen to a manufacturer when it could not sell its products to customers? It’ll go bankrupt & out of business very soon! In the case of China, there will sure be social unrest & of course economic collapse!!

December 16, 2011 at 23:46

Based on how it was written it looked very similar to the nationalist, anti-American statements I’ve seen here before.

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