South China Sea dispute: Who is bullying who?

Washington DC

Washington DC

June 26, 2013

The South China Sea Dispute, the writer claims, is a clash of SAM_0232civilisation ala Samuel Huntington and it could lead to war between the United States and China. That to me is too alarmist. Why should both United States and China take the route to mutual destruction and  bring untold collateral damage to the peoples of  ASEAN, Japan, South Korea and Australia. After all the dispute has nothing directly with the United States since it involves some claimants like Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei who are members of ASEAN.

We should, therefore, allow diplomacy to take its course. Yes, there will be no bullying by China and anybody else.The Chinese leadership is enlightened enough to know that China cannot impose its own solution to the South China Sea dispute and must respect the legitimate interest of other claimants. Given goodwill and soft diplomacy, the South China Sea dispute can be resolved. But it is difficult to predict Chinese behavour since it has begun to take a tough stance on the matter.–Din Merican

South China Sea dispute: Who is bullying who?

by chankaiyee2

China South China Sea Claim

On June 25, an article titled “China’s bullying tactics backfire in Australia” was posted at China Daily Mail, providing statistics about China’s unpopularity.

First, China has never bullied Australia. Most of the content of the article is correct but the title is wrong.China is indeed becoming increasingly unpopular in Western countries.

Second, what shall Chinese people do to make them not so unpopular in other countries. They have to improve their behaviors and shall not be rude or ignore other countries’ rules or ethics when they travel abroad.

Third, what shall Chinese government do? Isolation may be better. However, that is impossible in a globalized world especially when other countries are trying to restrain China.

Neither China nor those countries are to complain. The problems lie deeply in the conflict of civilizations which according to American gifted political Scientist Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations may lead to a war between the United States and China.

Some people have tried to deny such clash, but has 911 not proved that? By denying it, the United States has failed to deal with the root cause: Islamic radicals’ hatred against the United States. As a result, US people live in constant fear of terrorist attack.

Fourth, who is bullying who? In fact, no one is bullying anyone.What people regard as bullying originates from the clash of civilizations.

In my post South China Sea Dispute: Chinese People’s obsession, I said, “First of all, Chinese people regard as top priority keeping the legacy they have inherited from their ancestors, but such legacy may perhaps be useless or even an expensive burden.”

Now due to the clash of civilizations, such obsession in fact may lead to a war as predicted by Huntington. Chinese people regard Taiwan as a part of such legacy. Japan seized it and due to the separation caused by Japanese occupation, some Taiwanese people have been alienated from China and want independence.

The United States supports them as according to Western values, people have the right to do so, but due to difference in values, almost all Chinese people do not allow that. They support Chinese government’s stance that if Taiwan announces independence, Chinese troops will take Taiwan back by force.

The United States has passed a law that if Taiwan is attacked, US troops will interfere.If the United States does so when Taiwan declares independence, what will be the consequence?

A war between China and the United States. China has been preparing for such a war even a nuclear one for a long time. There is quite a detailed description of that in my above-mentioned post.

There is no use to talk about China bullying Taiwan (lots of Western people believe so) or the United States bullying China (almost all Chinese people think so).

Luckily, neither the United States nor China wants a war. The United States told Taiwan it would not support Taiwan if it declared independence when the pro-independence DPP was in power for 8 years in Taiwan; while China, though refuses to waive its option of a military solution if Taiwan announces independence, has tried its best to win over Taiwan peacefully.

Now, war is even more possible because of the South and East China Sea disputes. Why Western countries do not regard the Republic of China as aggressive in claiming those islands and even almost the entire South China Sea before communist takeover of the Chinese mainland or Taiwan after the takeover? Chinese people wonder.

Chinese people do not know that it is understandable that Western people feel threatened when China may become a superpower. That is natural due to the uncertainty. No one knows whether China will become a source of war like the sudden rise of Germany in the 20th century.

US switch of pivot and support for contenders for China’s claim make Chinese people believe that the United States is bullying China; while the United States and quite a few Western countries believe China is bullying contenders by sending its navy to safeguard its sovereignty.

In fact, no one is bullying anyone. The misunderstanding is caused by difference in values.

Westerners have their theory to negate China’s historical grounds for its claim. China refuses to accept Western theory on the ground that it is a colonist theory based on which Western aggressors took lots of colonies.

Will this clash of civilizations lead to a war? At least, it has led to a cold war now?

China’s recent purchase of lots of Russian oil and most advanced Russian fighter jets and Chinese support for Russia on the Syrian issue are a clear signal that a cold war partnership is taking shape.

In the Russia-China camp, there will certainly be Iran and some autocracies like Russia and China.Do you like that scenario?

Make allowance for Chinese people’s obsession. Understand that Chinese people will even risk a nuclear war to keep their legacy. Try to find a peaceful solution when China is willing to resolve the disputes peacefully. Each country’s dispute with China is different, why insist on a group solution? Why does the United States believe that it shall support contenders militarily to force China to accept a group solution?

If Western countries do not welcome China into their community, they will drive China to Russia’s and other autocracies’ side.That is very dangerous.

Westerners’ enmity will cause Chinese people to rally around the Chinese Communist Party that knows how to exploit such enmity for its popularity. Chinese democracy and human rights fighters will have an increasingly difficult environment because of that!

Are Westerners really support those fighters or merely exploit those fighters to restrain China? Are you not blocking China’s transformation from an autocracy into a democracy?

Do not have the illusion that China will not become powerful if it remains an autocracy. When Germany launched the two world wars, it was an autocracy! The world can only be safe when China is a democracy!

14 thoughts on “South China Sea dispute: Who is bullying who?

  1. While China cntinues her policy of bullying in the SCS, United States must not be perceived to be in at least, if not absolute decline…as far US maritime power is concerned. Whereas during the Reagan era the US Navy boasted almost more than 600 warships, compared presently the numbers about 284 as quoted by media source.

    Of course numbers of warships are only one dimension of naval supremacy, while others include gross tonnage, weapon systems and armament on board, the level of training for the crew and interoperatibility across the difference military services. The US is definitely in little danger of ceding superiority of anything in this area anytime soon. Morever there is already talk in Washington ( perhaps the bloghost can confirm it…) that the US intend of building a grand ‘coalition’ of Navies in the region to release the US of its maritime burden of “policing” the SCS as its power wanes.

  2. PRC will be using the regional dominance trump card – when their economy starts to stall. So my friends, never underestimate the power of nationalistic hubris – no matter how ‘enlightened’ you think another entity is.

    Taikor USA may well use the opportunity to regain Pax Americana-Pacifica ver 2.0, should the decrepit PRC navy even twitches a muscle, to enforce their Uni-Map boundaries – mainly based on shards of archaic pottery. Heck, it’s a given – it’s not how or where, it’s when..

  3. Din,

    If “bullying” is to enter the lexicon of this discussion, then it aptly describes China’s conduct of diplomacy with its littoral neighbors in ASEAN.

    In the chessboard of regional diplomacy, China moved the first piece when it used Cambodia, a pliant client state, to thwart a customary unanimous joint communique at the end of the last ASEAN summit meeting in Phnom Penh. It instantly demolished ASEAN as a negotiating block, and pushed for a one-on-one negotiation on its claim on the South China Sea.

    This move disturbed ASEAN member states as it did the US, Europe, and other lesser powers that have an interest in the South China Sea sea lanes. The claim also violated important notions such as territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, and the right of peaceful transit in the high seas, archipelagos, and straits. The strategic implications to maritime nations are too obvious to merit further mention.

    China may have a long history and may possess a long term strategic perspective. But she is a new boy on the block in terms of big power politics, as its ham handed diplomacy on this issue seems to suggest. This is worrying. It has some of the makings of a Sarajevo just before the First World War.

    Bullying behavior reveals a deficit in self confidence and sophistication. What has happened to the serene wisdom of the Middle Kingdom?

  4. No one knows whether China will become a source of war like the sudden rise of Germany in the 20th century. – chankaiyee2

    How can you compare China rise with Germany in 20th century?
    Must be Chinese ignorance/illiterate or China’s bashing theory copy from the West.

  5. heard this lyric?…..Its rumor of war, man dying, women crying…………are you ready?

    Its true and here: currency war………precious metal jack knifed again, more to fall, they was blood spilling on the streets today as HK passed the baton to London, the baton dropped and not picked up

    next, we should ask Obama to pack his AC off Kuantan or KK. Time for jawboning ?
    I think so.

    If PRC dont export, it will suffer social chaos. Can PRC become democratic?
    No way. look at history. 3 kingdoms romancing. Need Mao to unite.
    PRC shut its doors twice. Middle of Ming dynasty after admiral Zheng He recalled his fleet and next when Mao took over. Mao told WB PRC owe no one a dime (or sthg like that). If you want back your debt as Chiang who shipped all the gold to Formosa.

    Well, history is repeating in different ways.
    All wealth siphoned off-shore by corrupted officials. When PRC dont export, then it will rely on domestic economy again like it did during Ming time and Mao’s time.

  6. Dear Friends,   Can you imagine Britain claim Australia to be theirs? France claims Tahiti to be theirs. These places are thousands of miles away. The Christian British planned to take away the lands of the natives. The British went to kill the Aborigines with guns by the thousands. Then the British implanted prisoners & orphans in Australia. Then the British passed racist immigration laws like the White Policy. White Australians are Europeans. Then the British came out with theories that Aborigines came to Australia from other islands. Australia does not belong to the Aborigines. Then the British say the first people came from Africa and then spread around the world   China claims little things to be theirs thru history and close proximity Of course these claims can be contested.    


  7. Rightways,

    Do try and get your history right. My reference to Sarajevo is to World War One, i.e. the kaiser. The Nazis came later, to cause World War Two.

    Thank you.


    June 19, 2013

    Why India Trails China: By AMARTYA SEN
    Amartya Sen, a Nobel laureate, is a professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard. He is the author, with Jean Drèze, of “An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions.”

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — MODERN India is, in many ways, a success. Its claim to be the world’s largest democracy is not hollow. Its media is vibrant and free; Indians buy more newspapers every day than any other nation. Since independence in 1947, life expectancy at birth has more than doubled, to 66 years from 32, and per-capita income (adjusted for inflation) has grown fivefold. In recent decades, reforms pushed up the country’s once sluggish growth rate to around 8 percent per year, before it fell back a couple of percentage points over the last two years. For years, India’s economic growth rate ranked second among the world’s large economies, after China, which it has consistently trailed by at least one percentage point.

    The hope that India might overtake China one day in economic growth now seems a distant one. But that comparison is not what should worry Indians most. The far greater gap between India and China is in the provision of essential public services — a failing that depresses living standards and is a persistent drag on growth.

    Inequality is high in both countries, but China has done far more than India to raise life expectancy, expand general education and secure health care for its people. India has elite schools of varying degrees of excellence for the privileged, but among all Indians 7 or older, nearly one in every five males and one in every three females are illiterate. And most schools are of low quality; less than half the children can divide 20 by 5, even after four years of schooling.

    India may be the world’s largest producer of generic medicine, but its health care system is an unregulated mess. The poor have to rely on low-quality — and sometimes exploitative — private medical care, because there isn’t enough decent public care. While China devotes 2.7 percent of its gross domestic product to government spending on health care, India allots 1.2 percent.

    India’s underperformance can be traced to a failure to learn from the examples of so-called Asian economic development, in which rapid expansion of human capability is both a goal in itself and an integral element in achieving rapid growth. Japan pioneered that approach, starting after the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when it resolved to achieve a fully literate society within a few decades. As Kido Takayoshi, a leader of that reform, explained: “Our people are no different from the Americans or Europeans of today; it is all a matter of education or lack of education.” Through investments in education and health care, Japan simultaneously enhanced living standards and labor productivity — the government collaborating with the market.

    Despite the catastrophe of Japan’s war years, the lessons of its development experience remained and were followed, in the postwar period, by South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and other economies in East Asia. China, which during the Mao era made advances in land reform and basic education and health care, embarked on market reforms in the early 1980s; its huge success changed the shape of the world economy. India has paid inadequate attention to these lessons.

    Is there a conundrum here that democratic India has done worse than China in educating its citizens and improving their health? Perhaps, but the puzzle need not be a brainteaser. Democratic participation, free expression and rule of law are largely realities in India, and still largely aspirations in China. India has not had a famine since independence, while China had the largest famine in recorded history, from 1958 to 1961, when Mao’s disastrous Great Leap Forward killed some 30 million people. Nevertheless, using democratic means to remedy endemic problems — chronic undernourishment, a disorganized medical system or dysfunctional school systems — demands sustained deliberation, political engagement, media coverage, popular pressure. In short, more democratic process, not less.

    In China, decision making takes place at the top. The country’s leaders are skeptical, if not hostile, with regard to the value of multiparty democracy, but they have been strongly committed to eliminating hunger, illiteracy and medical neglect, and that is enormously to their credit.

    There are inevitable fragilities in a nondemocratic system because mistakes are hard to correct. Dissent is dangerous. There is little recourse for victims of injustice. Edicts like the one-child policy can be very harsh. Still, China’s present leaders have used the basic approach of accelerating development by expanding human capability with great decisiveness and skill.

    The case for combating debilitating inequality in India is not only a matter of social justice. Unlike India, China did not miss the huge lesson of Asian economic development, about the economic returns that come from bettering human lives, especially at the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid.

    India’s growth and its earnings from exports have tended to depend narrowly on a few sectors, like information technology, pharmaceuticals and specialized auto parts, many of which rely on the role of highly trained personnel from the well-educated classes.

    For India to match China in its range of manufacturing capacity — its ability to produce gadgets of almost every kind, with increasing use of technology and better quality control — it needs a better-educated and healthier labor force at all levels of society.

  9. Rightways

    Of course nobody can’t command or ordered PRC what to do. However in the modern world today you can’t be nasty and bullying at the expense of your neighbours…nobody’s an “island”. The South China Seas belongs to all nation bordering the sea. Imagine if India start claiming the Indian Ocean is theirs, or Mexico claiming the Gulf of Mexico and Iran claim the Persian Gulf. China must be warned that being a superpower doesn’t mean you start bullying others and underestimate the capabilities of her neighbours, though not in terms of arsenal and military power, rather a determination and the will from all concern for a win-win settlement for all concerned in the SCS.

  10. China has been consistently wants peace and stability in the region, not bullying as the article and comments implied.

    The are spreading China’s threat theory copy from the West to maintain their hegemony. Be a Chinese literates to understand the world, not just simply follow the West.

  11. The Greater meaning of Claiming is INVASION which is of course not lives-endangering unlike what happened to MEast.

    But that boundary or the 9 dotted line is seriously absurd to simply draw the line where you want because there is global basis. This is where the maritime laws come in to be fair for all in a level playing field.

    Actually it is outrageous bullying and that is why we need a fair policeman such as the US to intervene; not that we like the US all that much but ASEAN is hopelessly threatened.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s