In China, hit on takeoff
Sino-American contradictions, accumulated over decades, entered a new stage. By provoking conflicts along the perimeter of the PRC borders, Washington seeks to halt the growing economic and political power of the Middle Kingdom. The Chinese authorities are responding to this with new large-scale projects that threaten to put an end to American adventures.
Provocation in the Hague
The decision of the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague can be called a turning point in relations between the United States and China. If before the American authorities acted with cautious diplomatic methods, now they have moved to open pressure, which does not preclude provoking a military conflict. This is a lawsuit by the Philippines, demanding that Beijing’s claims on the Spratly Islands (or Nansha in Chinese) be declared illegal in the South China Sea. It was filed more than three years ago, but then very few people paid attention to it: such arbitrations can begin consideration of the case only with the consent of all interested parties. China refused to participate in the arbitration court, and therefore the Philippine lawsuit was threatened with a fate to replenish the stocks of waste paper.
However, last fall, the Hague court unexpectedly announced the extension of its jurisdiction to territorial disputes in the South China Sea. And July 12 arbitration issued a verdict: China has no rights to the archipelago. The reasons are obvious, as is the country from which this decision was made. The United States intervened. And although geographically Washington has nothing to do with the South China Sea (the closest American possession — the island of Guam — is located at a distance of almost 3 thousand kilometers), the United States declared the region to be one of the most important components of ensuring its national security.
Such an increased interest in the South China Sea is quite understandable. Through its waters, 60 per cent of China’s foreign trade is carried out, including 80 per cent of oil imports. In addition, huge reserves of hydrocarbons are concentrated under the sea shelf. The loss of control over the region is fraught with serious problems for China.
Not daring to intervene directly, the United States is fueling territorial disputes, thereby pitting Beijing with its neighbors and setting China as an aggressive power. The task is facilitated by unresolved disagreements regarding the nationality of two archipelagoes - the Spratlys (Nansha) and Paraselsky (Xisha) islands. Historically, they were part of China, whose sovereignty was confirmed by the Cairo (1943 year) and Potsdam (1945 year) conferences. However, taking advantage of the civil war in China, and then the focus of the new communist authorities on solving domestic problems, neighboring countries began to develop the territory: the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc.
In 2002, the PRC and the ASEAN countries signed a Declaration on the behavior of the parties in the South China Sea, which launched the process of peaceful settlement of contradictions. One of the points of the document clearly indicates that all disputes should be resolved exclusively between the parties involved. This provision was grossly violated by the intervention of the United States.
In China, however, they are not going to follow partisan verdicts. Even before the decision of the Chinese Foreign Ministry stressed that the country will continue to "resolutely defend its territorial sovereignty and legal rights, resolutely defend peace and stability in the South China Sea." These words were confirmed by large-scale military exercises conducted by the Chinese Navy in the sea from 5 to 11 in July.
And on July 7, a telephone conversation took place between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State John Kerry. The head of Chinese diplomacy warned the American side against interfering in territorial disputes and stressed that such actions would be viewed by Beijing as a violation of the sovereignty of the PRC.
Antique Chinese Alliance
There are good reasons for such a tough rebuke. In its anti-Chinese policy, the United States is not limited to the use of controlled international organizations such as the Hague Court. In June, the 15 Intergovernmental Forum on Security in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR), better known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, was held in Singapore. US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who was present on him, bluntly called the main threats to stability. Among them were the “nuclear and missile provocations of North Korea” and the spread of extremism. But in the first place the head of the Pentagon put the "tense situation in the South China Sea." Who exactly is the source of this situation, in Washington do not get tired to repeat. US officials and media outlets loudly accuse China of allegedly illegal control of the islands and militarization of the region. The latter means the placement of defensive objects, including air defense.
It is amazing that such statements are made by a country that is used to force to achieve its goals and has declared almost the whole world as a zone of its own interests. The South China Sea region is no exception. In recent months, the Pentagon has literally overrun it with the military. Not content with permanent military bases in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Bahrain and the Philippines, as well as its Seventh fleet, USA build up military fist. In April, Washington obtained agreement from the Philippine authorities to build five more bases. In June, it became known about the relocation of part of the ships of the Third Fleet to the region. In the waters south of the Philippines today are concentrated two strike groups of the US Navy, led by atomic carriers Ronald Reagan and John Stennis. In addition, the so-called electronic warplanes were deployed to Philippine bases, destined to destroy Chinese radars if necessary.
Washington is clearly provoking China to use force. Ignoring Beijing’s demand for permission to pass ships and fly through the exclusive economic zone of the PRC, the United States regularly invades Chinese waters and airspace. In early June, two Chinese fighters intercepted an American reconnaissance aircraft RC-135, which caused a real hysteria in Washington and a new round of militant statements.
Playing muscles, the United States is also trying to incite its satellites against the enemy. Washington's goal is to create an anti-Chinese alliance, or "East Asian NATO," as it is called more and more often. This was openly stated by the US Secretary of Defense at the already mentioned meeting in Singapore. Carter threatened to isolate Beijing and called on APR countries to unite military structures to "create a security network."
A number of steps in this direction have already been made. At the end of May, during Obama's visit to Vietnam, the parties agreed on the complete lifting of the American arms embargo from Hanoi. Almost simultaneously, it became aware of the conclusion of the US-Taiwan arms contract for 1,8 billion dollars. The US Congress, in turn, confirmed the action of the so-called Reagan guarantees, in accordance with which Washington will continue to sell arms to Taiwan, and will continue to support the island’s sovereignty. For Beijing, this is an extremely painful issue, especially in the light of the coming to power of the Democratic Progressive Party, which is upholding the complete independence of Taiwan. Speaking at 1 July at a solemn meeting on the occasion of the 95 anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, President Xi Jinping declared that actions aimed at sovereignization of the island were unacceptable.
Another country that is being drawn into “East Asian NATO” is India. During the recent visit of this country's Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States, the final text of the agreement on partnership in the military sphere was agreed. The agreement allows the US Navy to use the Indian bases during joint exercises, humanitarian operations and the fight against piracy. In addition, as Obama said, Washington is ready to transfer Delhi 99 percent of its military technology. To this end, the question of granting India the status of a “special US global partner” is being discussed.
On the other, northeastern direction, China is threatened by an American group in South Korea. 8 July became aware of the deployment here of the US missile defense system THAAD. Formally, it is created to protect against the "North Korean threat", but its anti-Chinese focus is obvious.
Japan is moving along the path of militarization, which is also being set on China, using the territorial dispute around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Adopted last year, the law allowed the Self-Defense Forces to conduct combat operations abroad. Now the Japanese army is actively rearming. To purchase one hundred multipurpose fighters in Tokyo are ready to spend a record amount - 40 billions of dollars.
To strengthen the anti-Chinese alliance, the parties are stepping up military-technical cooperation. The 11 — 17 of June passed the Malabar American-Indian-Japanese maneuvers. Japan agreed on the supply of boats to the Philippines and the deployment of anti-submarine warplanes in this country. Vietnam, in turn, agreed to provide the Japanese Navy with access to the Cam Ranh base.
Beijing and the new global model
It is abundantly clear that the situation around the South China Sea is only a pretext for pressure on Beijing. The main irritant is the strengthening of the economic and military power of the PRC. According to experts, in the next decade the country will become the leading economy of the world. An important stage on this road will be the 13-th five-year plan for national economic and social development approved in March.
The main goals of the new five-year plan are to raise the standard of living of the population (in particular, 70 million people are planned to be brought out of poverty), reduce dependence on foreign investment and develop high-tech industries. To this end, investment in research is planned to increase to 2,5 percent of GDP, and the coefficient of contribution of scientific and technological progress in economic growth - to 60 percent.
Another task for the near future is the modernization of the armed forces. Work in this direction is already underway. Thus, an intercontinental ballistic missile "Dongfeng-41" was successfully tested, carrying several warheads and capable of covering a distance of 12 thousands of kilometers. At the same time, missile forces were singled out into a separate branch of troops (before that, they were called the “Second Artillery Corps”), which confirms the special attention of the Chinese authorities to their development.
Having set itself truly ambitious goals, the Chinese leadership is not going to abandon socialist principles. This confirmed the large-scale celebration of the 95 anniversary of the Communist Party. Speaking at a grand meeting in Beijing, Xi Jinping emphasized that the CCP remains loyal to Marxism. “Having departed from Marxism, which is the leading theory for both the party and the country, we will lose our spirit and direction,” he said. At the same time, the Chairman of the People's Republic of China called for the adaptation of communist ideology to modern realities, for innovation.
The combination of socialism with the latest achievements of social thought was the reason for the unprecedented success of China. The country has an increasing influence on global processes, challenging the world order led by the United States. The “One Belt, One Road” strategy, which is supposed to create a single economic space on a vast territory, is being implemented at full speed. At the end of June, the first annual meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was held in Beijing. It became known that ABII started financing projects in Pakistan, Tajikistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh. All of them are part of the “One Belt and One Way” strategy.
At the same time, the space to China may become not only an economic, but also a political, ideological alternative to the West. As Xi Jinping has repeatedly stated, the system of global governance must become fairer. In this regard, the Chinese authorities are calling for the construction of a new model of international relations based on the principle of universal benefit.
Preventing the creation of this pole is an obsession with the United States and the entire global capitalist elite. Therefore, provocations like those that occur around the South China Sea today, we will see a lot more. In China, ready for this. As Xi Jinping emphasizes, the country will never sacrifice its fundamental interests, its security and sovereignty. The fate of the Soviet Union in China is well remembered.
- Sergey Kozhemyakin
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