Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sino-American War - not wanted.

China doesn't want a war.

That is obvious.

China's rise is economic, and that requires peace. War will derail their growth trajectory. And yet, pride demands that they demonstrate their rising influence.

One should always stand on one's own two feet. But in doing so, there is no need to step on others' toes. China seems bent on stomping on others' toes as they rise.

They are either stupid, or conflicted.

China, US cannot afford conflict: Chinese foreign minister
08 Feb 2017

SYDNEY: There would be no winner from conflict between China and the United States, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned on Tuesday (Feb 7), seeking to dampen tension between the two nations that flared after the election of US President Donald Trump.

Relations between China and United States have soured after Trump upset Beijing in December by taking a telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese imports.

China considers Taiwan a wayward province, with no right to formal diplomatic relations with any other country.

But China is committed to peace, Wang said, after meeting Australia's Foreign Minister Julia Bishop.

"There cannot be conflict between China and the United States, as both sides will lose and both sides cannot afford that," he told reporters in the Australian capital of Canberra.

While seeking to reduce tension, Wang called on global leaders to reject protectionism, which Trump has backed with his "America First" economic plans.

"It is important to firmly commit to an open world economy," Wang added. "It is important to steer economic globalisation towards greater inclusiveness, broader shared benefit in a more sustainable way."

Just days ahead of Trump taking office, Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Switzerland as the keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, offering a vigorous defence of globalisation and signalling Beijing's desire to play a bigger role on the world stage.

Wang said that China does not want to lead or replace anyone, and that as its national strength is still limited it must focus on its own development, according to comments carried on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's website.

"We must remain clear headed about the various comments demanding China play a 'leadership role'," Wang said.

While Trump's trade policies have spurred concern the United States is entering a period of economic protectionism, China has previously accused Australia of adopting a similar practise by blocking the sale of major assets to Chinese interests.

Bishop urged China to consider joining a pan-Pacific trade pact abandoned last month by Trump, who has said he prefers bilateral deals.

"I want to encourage China to consider the agreement," Bishop said, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

As China called on nations to be open to offshore investment, Wang said Beijing would link its "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR) policy with Australia's plan to develop its remote northern region.

The programme announced by Xi in 2013 envisages investments by China in infrastructure projects, including railways and power grids in central, west and southern Asia, as well as Africa and Europe.

Australia has ambitious plans to develop its Northern Territory, a frontier region with little infrastructure, but efforts have largely stalled for lack of investment.

Hawkish US rhetoric pushing China to flex military capabilities: Analysts
By Jeremy Koh
Channel NewsAsia

BEIJING: China's recent testing of a nuclear-capable missile could be seen as part of recent moves to show off its military capabilities and could be motivated by hawkish rhetoric from the Trump administration, Chinese analysts have said.

China recently tested a multi-warhead, nuclear-capable missile that can reach targets in Taiwan, Korea and Japan, as well as moving ships at sea. The test of the Dongfeng-16 missile appeared on a defense ministry website last week - the third time the DF-16 has been shown to the public.

The video was released within a day of US Defence Secretary James Mattis’ visit to Tokyo.

Zhao Tong, a nuclear security expert at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, said that the move could be interpreted as a "show of force".

“Its recent appearance could possibly be interpreted as a show of force against the background that the US and Japan are increasing their missile defence capabilities," he told Channel NewsAsia. "This new missile is reported to be more capable of penetrating missile defence systems and could be more accurate in hitting targets in Japan.”

Cheng Xiaohe from the Renmin University of China told Channel NewsAsia he believed China wanted to send a strong message to the Trump administration.

"If the Trump administration wants to play hardball, China would join," he said. "China has the capacity and all kinds of means to counter any kind of strong policies taken by the Trump administration.”

Even before his election victory in November last year, US President Donald Trump had repeatedly said he would take a far harder line towards what he called "the bad China". Since his election, he has questioned the One China policy that has underpinned US-China relations since the 1970s, and has accused Beijing of militarising the South China Sea as well as manipulating its currency, among other things.

Though Trump has spoken with leaders from almost 20 countries since his inauguration, he has yet to reach out to Chinese President Xi Jinping, which some political watchers say is a clear sign of chilling ties between the two nuclear-armed superpowers

Chinese state media has said that China is stepping up its preparedness for a possible military conflict with the US if Trump follows through with a more hardline policy to counter China’s claims in the disputed South China Sea.

A commentary on the official website of the Peoples’ Liberation Army also said that the chances of war have become "more real" amid a more complex security situation in the Asia-Pacific.

“The uncertainties will inevitably lead to misperceptions," Dr Cheng told Channel NewsAsia. "Misperceptions lead to misjudgement. Misjudgement leads to wrong decisions. Wrong decisions may lead to conflict, even military conflict.”

China also sees the planned deployment of a US missile defence system, known as the terminal high-altitude area defence - or THAAD - in South Korea as a move to alter the power balance in the region.

This could prompt China to step up an arms race, analysts said.

“If China believes its own nuclear deterrent capability can potentially be undermined by the growing missile defence systems in the Asia-Pacific region, China might have further incentives to enhance its own nuclear capabilities, and that’s a potential cause for nuclear arms race," said Zhao.

So far, Beijing has downplayed the prospect of conflict with the United States. Its foreign minister has said that a war between China and the US would be good for no one.

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