China’s Diplomacy Anxiety

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Chinese have recently been paying more attention to diplomatic issues, with discussion on politics and diplomacy proliferating in social media. And many people aren’t happy with the way things have been going.

Take the attack on two Chinese vessels on the Mekong River, which resulted in the deaths of 13 crew members late last year. There has been a growing sense in online discussions that Chinese diplomacy in that region has failed. Aside from the fact that the culprits remain at large, the attacks have also reminded many Chinese of how tense things are in Southeast Asia.

For a start, there are concerns over Burma, the Philippines and Vietnam. Concerns over Burma stem from what appears to be a democratization process unfolding there, a development that could affect the traditionally close Sino-Burma relations. Already it has been noted that Burma’s ruling junta has halted a controversial Chinese hydropower project in the country, leading many to wonder what will happen next.

Arguably more significant has been the issue of oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea by Vietnam and the Philippines, which has led to the expulsion of Chinese fishermen from some waters. In some cases, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has been left only able to protest the Philippine and Vietnamese moves, provoking derision among many Chinese for the “weak” response.

One reason for the frustration among Chinese may be the contrast in China’s diplomatic and economic prowess. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Le Yucheng, responsible for China’s foreign policy planning, attended a forum on April 10. During the forum, he noted that China is the world’s second largest economy, but he didn’t suggest that it was the second strongest country. Meanwhile, Luo Zhaohui, director general at the department of Asian affairs, was asked by a web user about China’s “soft stance” regarding the South China Sea. He responded: “We won’t compromise on the issue of sovereignty, and advocate the primary ownership…The timing to resolve the issue is still not ripe yet…Diplomacy is an art and we have to use both soft and hard measures to solve the issues.”

His words were interpreted by the media as suggesting that China will use both soft and hard diplomacy as necessary. Some analysts went as far as to speculate that China will use military force to resolve the South China Sea disputes once Xi Jinping succeeds Hu Jintao as president during the leadership transition later this year.

Certainly, the growth in the internet has made diplomacy more transparent in some ways, including in China. But as many Chinese have had their eyes opened, what they see is a country whose closest friends are Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Syria – nations viewed by many others as dangerous. Although Russia and China are ostensibly allies, ordinary Chinese don’t think that Russia can be trusted. As a result, a growing number of Chinese I speak with these days believe that China’s leaders have failed to reflect the public’s views in its diplomacy, including the decision at the United Nations to veto condemnation of the atrocities in Syria.

Chinese leaders are no doubt aware of the Chinese public’s “diplomacy anxiety.” The problem is that making changes will take time, meaning that for now at least, China can’t simply abandon a foreign policy track that it has been pursuing for years.

Comments
29
Chinese
May 2, 2012 at 00:07

@Observer,
Simply put, no neutral source will state attack in their reports, they will only cite different sources, because none of their staff is at site to keep any records of the battle, very simple. Maybe they do not trust claim from China side, but neither they trust Vietnam side. I think here only Gods know what really happened here.If you can provide any guys who state he had seen the whole process of the battle, tell me the name.
@a_canadian_observer, Plainly speaking, I don’t like CCP, but this devil are much wise than all human combined. To be a future teller, you should really know how things going, or you will simply feel frustrated when things go another way.

a_canadian_observer
April 26, 2012 at 01:40

china’s bloggers are like moles in a wack-a-mole game. They keep popping up (a lot of times in disguise) shamelessly after being repeatedly wacked. I don’t understand why the CCP still lets them represent it. With such people, and they want to dream about being a superpower? LOL.

a_canadian_observer
April 26, 2012 at 01:36

@Chinese: You can quote any big source from the US, Canada, Europe… those are trustworthy because they are liable for what they convey.
Sources from china are not considered. They just parrot the propaganda lines the CCP government dictates them to do.

Chinese
April 25, 2012 at 22:25

@a_canadian_observer,
Give me a list which you think trustworthy, state why the source I cited is not trustworthy, you keep any tracking record or just fantasy make you think the info is not trustworthy. Please.

MYK
April 25, 2012 at 17:04

“On the issue of sovereignty, No compromise!”

sweetgrape,

You should read about what happened at Palau when a Chinese ‘mother ship’ with three small speedboats illegally entered the 12-mile territorial waters of this tiny island(s) nation back in 2012 March 31st to April 3 when security forces from Palau shot and killed one of the Chinese speed boat drivers for trying to ram his speedboat into the Palau fisheries boat pursueing them in Palau waters!

After capturing the three small speedboats, the Palau security forces closed in on the Chinese mother ship, when the Chinese crew suddenly set their mother ship on fire to scuttle it from being boarded by Palau forces!

In all, 26 Chinese pirates were taken into custody and Chinese officials were told these 26 men would be released after China paid $1,000 US dollars for illegally entering the sovereign territorial waters of Palau! The President of Palau said that the Chinese officials acted arrogant, aggressive, and were demanding towards the Palau authorities who met with them!

Because of this transgression and ‘bad’ behaviour not only by the Chinese involved in the boating incident, but because of the ‘bad’ behaviour of the Chinese government officials who came Palau to pick up the 26 pirates, a new Compact is being placed on the US-Palau relationship.

The President of Palau has just asked if the United States would be interested in basing US Marines at the Palau islands of Peleliu and Angaur!

The US says they are considering the offer!

This wouldn’t even be happening if China had honored their 1994 signing of the UNCLOS agreement which states that 12-miles is the sovereign territory of any nation from its nearest habited shores, and that an additional 200 miles is the ‘Exclusive Economical Zone’ which grants that country to all of the resources found ‘in or under the sea bed’ to the host nation!

Once again, China breaks the international laws of UNCLOS!

Aogin
April 25, 2012 at 14:54

@Sweetgrape, you poor brainwashed Chinese citizen, do not worry for tomorrow you will wake up in a realization of a new China. It does not have to come outside of China. Soon you will realize that change must come within China, and so far it is brewing up. When the bubble explodes then change shall commence. All you greedy party officials will one by one be exterminated like sewer rats. Fat bloated corrupted sewer rats!

Observer
April 25, 2012 at 12:12

“On the issue of sovereignty, No compromise!”

Oh really? Then what china and chinese are waiting for? Why not take on Russia and take back the land in the Amur river area in which Russia took by force? Why not take on Japan for what they did to your women in 1930′s? Why not take on Britain for how they HUMILIATED and SHAME your whole country? Shall I go on?

Typical of china and chinese. Big empty talk yet so scared of competent military forces. LOL.

sweetgrape
April 24, 2012 at 23:29

The western media win, they demonize the china, In many western’s eyes, china should compromise on the internation affair with other countries, because china is bigger!!
ridiculous, china lack of transparency, but in here, I don’t think you know china!!
On the issue of sovereignty, No compromise!

a_canadian_observer
April 24, 2012 at 21:58

@Chinese: Why are you just dancing around instead of replying to my points? Because you are unable to do so?

BTW, china is still worshipping those who are responsible for 60+ million deaths of their own. What do you say to that?

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