Thursday, February 27, 2014

China’s assertiveness leaves its neighbors anxious

A Chinese military expert is explaining to a conference
here what he sees as the benign inevitability of Beijing’s rising power
in the Pacific. “You should trust China,” he says cheerily. “In 10
years, we will be much stronger, and you will feel safer...”

...It is a sign of the times that delegates here talk openly about the danger of war in the Pacific. That’s a big change from the tone of similar gatherings just a few years ago, when Chinese officials often tried to reassure foreign experts that a rising China wasn’t on a collision course with the United States or regional powers. Now, in the East and South China seas, the collision seems all too possible.

Just two weeks ago, U.S. Navy Capt. James Fanell warned at a conference in San Diego that China had been training for a “short, sharp war” to assert primacy over islands claimed by Japan as the Senkakus and by China as the Diaoyus. “I do not know how Chinese intentions could be more transparent,” he said, noting that Beijing’s talk of “protection of maritime rights” was actually “a Chinese euphemism for the coerced seizure of coastal rights of China’s neighbors.”
Read the rest here.

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