American Plans to Restrict China’s Ambitions

Since the 1960s, America has feared the emergence of China as a world power and has sought to restrict China’s ambitions to regional matters only. America has used a variety of issues to contain China’s sphere of influence, and to keep her leadership preoccupied with parochial problems. America has persistently exploited the issue of Taiwan, North Korea, autonomy for Tibet, the poor treatment of Chinese minorities (East Turkistan, Falun Gong etc.) and interference in bilateral disputes between China and Japan over islands as a means of lighting fires around China’s borders. Additionally, America has a string of bases stretching from Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Pakistan to the Asian Pacific rim that includes the Korean peninsula and Japan. The aim of these military bases is to ensnare China and prevent her from projecting her military power.

Notwithstanding efforts to curb China’s military expansion, America has also aggressively sought to build India’s civil and military capabilities to offset China. Speaking before a joint sitting of the Indian parliament Obama said: “I stand before you today because I am convinced that the interests of the United States – and the interests we share with India – are best advanced in partnership…United States not only welcomes India as a global power. We fervently support it. Promoting shared prosperity, preserving peace and security, strengthening democratic governance and human rights – these are the responsibilities of leadership. As global partners this is the leadership United States and India can offer in the 21st century…With my visit, we are now ready to begin implementing our civil nuclear agreement…We need to forge partnerships in high-tech sectors like defense and civil space.” (Indian Online 8/11/ 2010). It is noteworthy that India on September 29th 2010, sent 4 personnel from the Indian army, air force and navy to train with the US’s 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit at the US base in Okinawa in the East China Sea during 2010.

China has vigorously reacted to such military exercises. In late September China’s Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo warned that, “A series of military drills initiated by the US and China’s neighbouring countries showed that the US wants to increase its military presence in Asia. The purpose of these military drills launched by the US is to target multiple countries including China, Russia and North Korea and to build up strategic ties with its allied countries like Japan and South Korea.” (Global Times, September 26, 2010).

A familiar pattern has prevailed ever since the six-party talks were instigated in 2003 to reign in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. This consists of America making certain demands during the six-party talks and when North Korea is close to meeting the demands, America reneges on its commitments. Furthermore, America has skilfully portrayed North Korea, with China as its main backer, as the guilty party during the fall out from the failed talks. For instance in 2007 the US announced that it would release $25 million of North Korea’s frozen money, in return for Pyongyang to  freeze its Yongbyon nuclear reactor and readmit IAEA inspectors. However, the US reneged on its promise and released the money very late, such that the transaction could not be completed on time. North Korea promptly withdrew from the six-party talks. Frustrated by numerous obstacles placed by the US, North Korea eventually withdrew from the talks in 2009 and adopted a more belligerent posture in an effort to restart negotiations on more favourable terms. The aggressive stance adopted by North Korea included expulsion of IAEA inspectors, announcing plans to resume enrichment, detonating a nuclear devise underground in May 2009, clashing with South Korea’s Navy and the recent attack on a South Korean island.

The American response via the deployment of aircraft carriers, military exercises and convening talks without China and North Korea, has been to pressurize China to take a more forceful stance against its surrogate state. Admiral Mike Mullen, US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, remarked on 8 December 2010 that he wished the Chinese would be more helpful, saying, “The Chinese have enormous influence over the North, influence that no other nation on earth enjoys. And yet, despite a shared interest in reducing tensions, they appear unwilling to use it,” he said. It is interesting to note that in the immediate aftermath of the attack, China swiftly called for the resumption of the six-party talks, which was rejected by America. And lately, China has come out to publicly defend North Korea against America’s intrusion in the region. This indicates that America wants to keep tensions raised and to present China and North Korea as if they were the source of tension and thus antagonize the countries of the region against them, but without reaching to the brink of war, because international and regional circumstances do not allow her to do so as America is busy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In light of the above, it can be clearly observed that the current Chinese measures, the signing of an accord by China Japan and South Korea on 16 December 2010 for establishing a tripartite cooperative secretariat in Seoul next year, as published by China on its network ( Xinhua News Agency or what was published in multiple media sources, regarding the Chinese Prime Minister’s visit to India – all of these measures are designed to undermine America’s efforts to isolate China from its neighbours and portray China as the aggressive party. South Korea and Japan are most pro-American and any close tie between them and China undermines America’s exploitation of them against China. Also, India has been, and continues to be, one of the weapons that America exploits to trigger permanent tension between the two neighbours, founded upon perennial disputes between them. Hence, China’s closeness to India is to extinguish the flames of tension that America is trying to maintain between China and India.

It is expected that China has scored a point in its favor in countering America. That is if China exploits its visit to India and its agreement with Japan and South Korea well. And also if she did not fall into a trap of deception sprung by Japan and South Korea which is backed by America.

Copyright © LCIR 2010