On the east, China has several serious overt and covert opponents. The situation is aggravated by the presence of a number of territorial disputes and hotbeds of instability. Japan and South Korea are military allies of the United States. At the same time, the United States has tight military ties with Taiwan and the Philippines. In fact, this is the "first line of defense" of the United States. These states have serious contradictions with China.
This is especially true of Japan. Japan is a former leader of the Asia-Pacific region, and at the end of the 19th century, and in the first half of the 20th century, it pretty much annoyed China. Tokyo is clearly not going to cede the region to Beijing. The fight between two Asian dragons is almost inevitable. An especially intriguing situation will arise if the United States loses its current status and moves on to an “isolation” policy. Against the backdrop of a new escalation of tension between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu), mutual aversion between the Japanese and the Chinese reached a peak. A poll conducted by the China Daily newspaper and the Japanese organization Genron shows that 93% of Japanese people have a negative opinion about China; the number of Chinese negatively related to Japan is no less - about 90%.
Currently, the Japanese armed forces are superior to the Chinese in material terms and in the training of personnel. All new Chinese military systems, often copies of Russian and Western ones, have not been tested, the level of preparedness of the Chinese military raises questions. However, the speed of the qualitative and quantitative growth of the Chinese armed forces may soon lead to a radical change in favor of the PRC. Then the Chinese can take over in the Senkaku area. Therefore, the Japanese are trying to move to a new level, transforming the Self-Defense Forces into full-fledged aircraft with serious offensive potential.
Beijing is also closely monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea can not be called a full ally. On the one hand, Pyongyang is the outpost of the People's Republic of China on the north-eastern frontier, restraining the United States, Japan and South Korea. On the other hand, the North Korean "younger brother" is too difficult a predictable partner. Therefore, at the beginning of 2013 for the first time in four years, China voted in favor of a resolution providing for tougher sanctions against the DPRK. And in September, 2013, Beijing banned the export to North Korea of goods and technologies related weapons mass destruction. The export of goods and technologies of four groups is prohibited: nuclear, rocket, chemical and biological.
China has no serious disputes with South Korea. However, Seoul is an ally of Washington and apparently will become a participant in the program to create a global US missile defense. In addition, the Americans are inclining Seoul to an alliance with Tokyo, despite the existence of a territorial conflict between them over the Liancourt Islands. Beijing, in order not to aggravate relations with Seoul, when he had strained relations with Japan because of the Senkaku Islands, even decided not to provoke another territorial dispute with South Korea because of the so-called Iodo Island. China chose not to risk venturing a territorial war immediately with Japan and South Korea, focusing on the Japanese. Iodo is an underwater rock in 149 km from the South Korean island of Marado and in 287 km from the Chinese island of Sosandao, i.e., exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of both Asian countries are “superimposed” here.
The conflict with Taiwan and the Philippines is more principled. China believes that Taiwan is Chinese land, and sooner or later the island will become part of a single state. Taipei is an ally of Washington and Tokyo, so Beijing has so far tried to solve the problem through diplomacy. The United States has an obligation to protect Taiwan in the event of aggression. In addition, Washington convinced Tokyo to include Taiwan in the zone of common strategic interests of the two countries. In 2005, the All-China People’s Assembly (NPC) approved the law “On Countering the Split of the Country”. According to this document, the Chinese government can take "non-peaceful or other necessary measures to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity" in case of an attempt by external forces to separate Taiwan from their homeland. Thus, Beijing has a formal opportunity to use force against Taiwan.
Taiwan is a fairly developed state with good financial capabilities and is trying to increase its military potential in order to be able to withstand Chinese forces. But under pressure from China, many countries refuse to sell modern weapons to Taiwan. Even the United States has limited arms sales to Taipei. Taiwan in recent years adopted the F-16 modernization program, bought 12 base patrol aircraft aviation P3-C and 30 attack helicopters AH-64D Block 3, upgraded flying radars, increases missile capabilities, plans to buy two frigates from the US fleet. At the same time, the United States did not dare to sell 66 F-16C / D fighters to Taiwan so as not to complicate relations with China and Taipei could not solve the problem of buying 8 submarines. As a result, Taipei began to think about a project for the design and construction of its own submarines. Currently, China is already able to carry out an operation to seize Taiwan, but does not do this because of a possible conflict with the United States and Japan. Taiwan loses a lot in air and sea forces. And the fighting efficiency of his army is in doubt. It is doubtful that Taiwanese soldiers are ready to fight "to the last drop of blood." Further weakening of the United States could lead to the fact that Beijing will go on to conduct a landing operation. China’s capture of Taiwan will be a kind of alarm signal for the entire region. The question will be - who is next.
The Philippines is involved in a conflict with China over the Spratly Islands. This island republic is the weakest militarily of all countries in the region. The army can carry out only anti-guerrilla operations, having a small number of military equipment. There is practically no modern combat aircraft. The Navy is minimal: there are no submarines or surface combat ships with rocket armament. Manila is trying to make a difference. The Air Force strengthens: Polish helicopters 10 and Italian helicopters 8 were bought, several helicopters were handed over to the United States, and the FA-12 light jet fighters will be purchased from South Korea. They also plan to increase the impact capabilities of the Navy (tender for the purchase of two frigates). However, currently the Philippines can only play a supporting role in the fight against China.
Vietnam can become another serious opponent of China. Vietnam has territorial disputes with China - the question of the ownership of the Paracel Islands and the Spratly Archipelago. Not only China and Vietnam are involved in this territorial dispute, but also Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. However, China, Vietnam and the Philippines are the most controversial debaters. Many analysts believe that it is the dispute over the Spratly and Paracel Islands that could lead to a serious regional conflict. The islands themselves, whose area is very small, are of no interest in terms of settlement or economic potential. But the ownership of the islands determines the right to the adjacent shelf, where there is oil and gas. We should not forget about biological resources in the sea. In addition, the islands are possible locations for air and naval forces, which ensures the safety of communications passing through the sea.
Hanoi made an alliance with Delhi. Since 2000, both powers have held annual joint exercises in the South China Sea. In order to contain China, Vietnam even began to draw closer to the United States, despite the mutual negative memory of the war. In 2010 and 2012 Vietnam and the United States conducted joint naval exercises, which caused great irritation in the PRC. Beijing has even begun to threaten that Hanoi will regret this in the future. It is obvious that Vietnam will be one of the main members of any anti-Chinese coalition. This says история relations between China and Vietnam, the existence of a territorial dispute and the strength of the Vietnamese armed forces, which they wish to use against China.
The Vietnamese army is one of the largest in the region, while its ongoing modernization takes place thanks to the preservation of special relations with Russia. Vietnam bought Su-12 and Su-27 airplanes in Russia on 30; ZRS C-300PMU-1 (two divisions); “Molniya” type missile boats - four 12411 projects, then 12 12418 projects (two were built in Russia, the rest in Vietnam); two frigates of the 11661 project (another two have been awarded a contract); 4 patrol boats project 10410 "Svetlyak"; 6 PL Varshavyanka 636 project (one passed, two will be transferred in 2014 year); coastal missile system "Bastion".
At present, relations between Beijing and Hanoi are considered to be quite friendly, but there is no doubt that Vietnam strengthens the Armed Forces and is friendly with India to contain China. It is clear that the economic opportunities of Vietnam are lower than those of the PRC. The Vietnamese military industrial complex is underdeveloped, shipbuilding has only just begun to develop. Even with Russian help, the Vietnamese armed forces cannot match the strength of the Chinese army. True, Vietnam is not required. Hanoi is not going to attack China. The main task of deterrence, the presence of the Armed Forces, which can cause unacceptable damage to China in the event of aggression. Priority for Vietnam are the Air Force and Navy, they are necessary to maintain control over the islands and waters of the South China Sea. There have been no large-scale purchases for land forces in recent years, suggesting that Hanoi considers the Chinese threat on land to be insignificant.
South and North
On the southern border of China there are no outspoken enemies. However, the situation is also unstable. Thailand is simultaneously focused on the United States and China. There is a hotbed of war between Thailand and Cambodia. So, in February 2011, there was a clash because of the Preah Vihea temple complex. Thailand also has a conflict with Laos. Cambodia and Laos are supported by Vietnam. The Thai army is stronger than the Cambodian and Lao army, but they rely on a more powerful Vietnam. Myanmar in the political, economic and military sphere is fully focused on China. Myanmar (Burma) is viewed by the PRC as a bridgehead and a corridor to the Indian Ocean, an important link in the confrontation with India.
Singapore has a small but powerful and modern military. This small state is oriented to the West. Malaysia, like other states of the Asia-Pacific Region, is making great efforts to develop the armed forces and is in a state of conflict with China from the Spratly Islands. In this regard, Malaysia is developing military-technical relations with India. The position of Malaysia and Indonesia in the future confrontation is still difficult to predict, while in general they adhere to the anti-Chinese vector.
Australia and New Zealand are clearly in the anti-Chinese camp. Australia in recent years has invested a lot of money in modernizing the air force, navy and mobile rapid deployment forces, with a special focus on building amphibious capabilities, which in the Pacific are crucial.
It should also be noted that in the southern direction there is a threat of Islamic radicalism. This problem affects the territory of Thailand - in the southern province of Pattani there is a problem of Muslim separatism and guerrilla war, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines. There is even a scenario for the creation of the “New Islamic Caliphate”, which will include the territories of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, the southern part of the Philippines, Thailand and Burma. Considering the fact that Islam has the status of state religion in Malaysia, it is practiced by more than 60% of the population, and in Indonesia more than 85% of the population is Muslim, this is a serious geopolitical factor. There are large Islamic communities in other countries of the region.
The northern border of the PRC is the quietest. The Chinese lead a successful economic expansion in Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia. In these states, they also fear the “yellow threat”, but do not want to interrupt mutually beneficial economic cooperation. China is the largest market for goods from these countries. Moreover, Mongolia and Kazakhstan do not pose any threat to the PRC by virtue of their minimal military potential. In the West, there is a scenario of conflict between Russia and China, work in this area in the information space has been going on for a long time. However, Beijing is well aware of this, the Chinese need a calm "rear." China gets all the resources it needs without war. On the other hand, in the event of a sharp weakening of Russia and a further outflow of the Russian population from the Far East and Eastern Siberia, Beijing will inevitably be forced to intensify the process of expansion to the north. The world of Moscow and China, mutually beneficial cooperation is possible only when Russia is an equal force or superior to China in a number of areas.