Connect with us

East Asia

Is China in a quandary over Quad and the AUKUS?

Published

on

China has identified a major challenge to its dream of a China-centric Asia Pacific, in the face of Quad. Quad’s unstated priority of countering China’s growing power is rankling the communist leadership in Beijing. The Quad calls for a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region that is anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by any kind of coercion. China, in fact, views the Quad as a component of a broader toolkit devised by the US who, strongly encouraged by Japan, is scheming to adopt a Cold War-style plot to strategically encircle China by adding India as a member. China is under this fear that If the United States is indeed pursuing a containment strategy, it would face pressure both along its eastern frontier, southern  and western flanks. Furthermore, some Chinese analysts even went on to brand the Quad as an incipient “Asian NATO”.

The informal group first came together in 2007, only to disband within months due to a lack of participation and no proper institutional framework. Its revival a decade later in 2017 came amid hardening of attitudes towards China among all the Quadrilateral partners. At first China did not take the Quad seriously. However, Chinese attitudes toward the Quad started changing in late 2020 after the grouping showed increasing momentum. The virtual summit of Quad on 12th March, 2021 forced the Chinese observers to treat the group more seriously. As the Quad conducted the Malabar Naval drills in the Indian Ocean in November 2020, Chinese state media responded by condemning the Malabar naval exercises, calling the drills a risk to regional stability but at the same time, it kept a close eye on it. Evidently, Chinese strategists are increasingly seeing the group transitioning from a loose diplomatic configuration with imperceptible impact into a more institutionalized and worrisome arrangement.

However, Chinese experts argue that China’s status as the most important trading partner of the Indian Ocean region and as the largest export market for the United States, Japan, and Australia and largest overall trade partner for India (despite recent competition from the United States),  would dissuade the Quad partners from cooperating in a way that would seriously harm China’s interests. This implies that the enthusiasm varies with the political winds in each Quad member as some of them are wary of provoking China too directly.

A possible way adopted by China to tackle this challenge posed by this informal alliance  could be the ‘Divide and Rule’ policy, which would simply mean creating conflicts among the members and reducing the pace of the activities of the group. Besides, Chinese analysts do acknowledge that growing disputes between China and other states contributed to these developments. The deadly, historic June 2020 Galwan valley clash at the  Sino-Indian border marred China’s earlier attempts to stabilize relations with India. This led India to become much more actively engaged in the Quad. Similarly, a deteriorating Sino-Australian relationship led Canberra to become even more inseparable from the United States. China has been using coercive trade practices to target Australia who supported the demand for asking for an independent probe into the origin of the coronavirus. China retaliated by targeting Australian beef exports and banning Australian wine. It is not that the Chinese government cares about wine, beef, or any such commodities, but the real game is to create societal splits that pressure the governments to change their respective foreign policy towards China.

Furthermore, some Chinese strategists took the Quad’s coalescence in 2020 as a signal that China should refocus its attention on sidelining the Quad from larger regional institutions and arrangements that are perceived to be less beholden to the U.S. interests. Some other Chinese analysts assert that China, by deepening strategic interactions and increasing maritime security cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), would be able to counterweight the Quad. However, China’s diabolic behavior in other parts of Asia and its increasing encroachment into the South China sea only incentivizes the Quad to work together more closely.

On top of this, adding fuel to the fire, is the formation of  a new purpose-built security alliance, on 15th september 2021, among the US, UK and Australia under which Australia would be equipped with a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) by the US and the UK, presumably to handle the undeclared objective of countering China’s expansion in the Indo-pacific region. The Aukus seems to be another step towards reconfiguring the Indo-pacific balance of power and countering China’s soaring might. It is a security alliance that links disparate parts of the world- Europe, the Americas and Australasia, and is again thereby instrumental in encircling China. This trilateral pact reflects some of China’s worst fears and  has garnered serious backlashes from the country as well. 

China and its mouthpiece ‘Global Times’  reacted predictably and it was one of anger and recrimination. Beijing condemned the agreement as “extremely irresponsible” and that  it “seriously undermines regional peace and stability and intensifies the arms race”. Furthermore, China’s embassy in Washington went on to accuse the Aukus countries of forming the pact with a “Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice”.

At the same time, China has, somehow, got the feeling that it itself is the prime reason for the rise of Aukus. The dragon is  embarking on one of the biggest military spends in history. It is growing its navy and air force at a rapid rate and has been accused of raising tensions in disputed territories.

Nevertheless, the Chinese government believes that it can dwarf Quad’s prospects by leveraging its status as a top trade and political partner for both the Quad and non-Quad states alongside showing that America’s commitment to Asian security was diminishing as well as by driving wedges between the four states. India is the only Quad member which has an unsettled land border with China who has done its best to create some apprehension in the minds of the other Quad members, by keeping Sino-India relations fluctuating between tension and harmony with incidents like Doklam, Wuhan, Malappuram and the Galwan valley.

China mishandling its relations with its own ASEAN neighbours like Vietnam and Philippines is a strategic blunder that the both the Trump and Biden administrations effectively exploited to advance their own strategy. As a result, China needs, as some analysts opine, to balm the disputes with its neighbors so that they don’t become an outpost for the U.S. to subvert China.

What is vital to take note of is that no single nation can go alone against China, not even the US. Strength is found in multilateralism and China seems to be fearing the strength that emanates from multilateralism. Even though it is a newbie in invigilating the Indo-Pacific, the Aukus marks the consolidation of China’s worst fears and can be taken as crucial for sharpening the claws of the Quad.

It’s too early to say whether the Quad will achieve its unstated goal- stopping an authoritarian China from becoming Asia’s undisputed hegemon. But the four nations have signed on to an ambitious strategy, spanning cooperation on vaccines, infrastructure and technology, all designed to blunt Beijing’s sharpness. Taken together with the new Aukus military pact and a thickening web of bilateral agreements across the region, these initiatives signal a clear intent to combat China. Importantly, China has always tried to deal with every country on bilateral terms, using its Comprehensive National Power (CNP) to its advantage. In any forthcoming bilateral engagements with the US, Japan and India, China will continue to aim for weakening the Quad, by some bilateral concessions. So it will be quite interesting to observe what more tactics China employs to maneuver its path filled with spikes placed by Quad and the Aukus.

My name is Ankita Chatterjee and I'm currently pursuing MA in Political Science at the University of Calcutta, India. My main interest lies in analysis of issues pertaining to international relations, geopolitics, populism and social media and I aspire to be a researcher in the future. Besides academics, I am a bibliophile and a melophile and take a keen interest in traveling and photography.

Continue Reading
Comments

East Asia

U.S.- China Strategic Competition in The East Asia

Published

on

china india pakistan

East Asia has been the most dynamic region where development has been internationally recognized. The regional politics of the region has developed a paradox that has flamed up the economic environment of the region. The trends have shown the increased intensifying security issues along with the strategic completion that has spread the security and economic tensions across the East Asian Region. In a global circle, China is known as the revisionist state. The historical manners suggest the reclaim of East Asia by the Chinese. This claim has intensified the relations between the US and China in East Asian Region.  The main challenge for China is to shift the US intervention from the East Asian region for the balanced equation at the strategic level. This might provoke the US and its allies in East Asia such as Japan that will help the US to jeopardize the Chinese rule from the region. The challenge for the US and its allies in the East Asian Region is more complicated because of the economic stability of China at the International Level. This might be a proxy war for both the superpowers in the East Asian region where the conflict may rise compromising the strategic stability of the region. The strategic location of the US lies in the actual form of ability and project power over great sustainable intervals. The strategic behavior increases the policies and shapes the allies.

One prevalent belief in the United States about China’s long-term policy goals in Asia is that Beijing aspires to be the regional hegemon and wants to restore a Sino-centric order in the region.

First, Beijing favors unipolar ties at both the global and regional levels and believes that with ongoing economic growth, this trend will continue intra-regional political consultation in Asia, influence on regional affairs is going to be more diversified and more evenly distributed. Secondly, although China expects some relative increase in its influence in Asia, it understands that thanks to the boundaries of its hard power and particularly its soft power, China can never achieve a grip cherish its role within the ancient past or to the U.S. role within the region at the present.

Beijing’s perspective:

From Beijing’s perspective, the US is an East Asia power, although not an Asian power, and its political, economic, and security interests within the region are deep-rooted, as are its commitments to regional stability and prosperity. Beijing has always welcomed a constructive U.S. role in regional affairs. At the identical time, however, Beijing also feels uneasy with certain aspects of U.S. policy. As a superpower, The US has been too dominant and intrusive in managing regional affairs. It fails to pay due regard to the voices of other regional players and sometimes gets too involved within the internal affairs of other states, lacking an understanding of their culture, history, and values.

The US and European aspects towards the South China Sea and East Asia should involve long-term perspectives of engaging ASEAN states. Such impacts will create room for the US to tackle China in the East Asian region. The development of any comprehensive strategic security policy is the need of the hour that assures one’s interest in the region. Both the states perceive a threat from each other and try to further advance their capabilities for the sake of safety and security. The US is not in a position to deal with the other power far away from its homeland, sustaining its military and protecting allies. Aggressive behavior in strategic competition can lead to unwanted results. The US would have to accept the strategic realities of China to normalize the relations. China on the other hand should rethink its policies in East Asia and Indo Pacific. However, as yet, deterrence has played its part by keeping states from a large-scale action. States running in the race of acquiring arms conventionally due to uprising strategic competitions are worsening any likely condition of conflict.

Key points for US:

In terms of identifying specific actions for a U.S. strategy for competing strategically with China in East Asia, a key element would be to possess a transparent understanding of which actions are intended to support which U.S. goals, and to take care of an alignment of actions with policy goals. Cost-imposing actions are actions intended to impose political/reputational, institutional, economic, or other costs on China for conducting certain activities within the East Asian Region, with the aim of persuading China to prevent or reverse those activities. Such cost-imposing actions need not be limited to the East Asian Region only. 

Conclusion:

The development of any comprehensive strategic security policy is the need of the hour that should involve joint military maritime exercises. The US and China have set their limits in coordinating military to military joint cooperation due to their desired interests and competition. Both the states perceive a threat from each other and try to further advance their capabilities for the sake of safety and security.  

Continue Reading

East Asia

Summit for Democracy Attempts to Turn Multicolor Modern World into Black and White Divisions

Published

on

One of the most important takeaways from the recent sixth plenary session of 19th CPC Central Committee is that Beijing flatly rejects Westernization as the path to modernize the Chinese society and the national economy. Instead, as it was underscored in the plenary Communiqué, the country will continue to stick to “socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.” The leadership will preserve and further develop the system that served the people so well over last more than 70 years.

This statement did not come as a surprise to numerous China watchers all over the world. In fact, the critical choice between socialism and Western-type liberalism was not made in November of 2021, but decades ago.

One can argue that the outcomes of the sixth plenary session are yet another manifestation of a more general global trend: The world has been and will continue to be very diverse in terms of political systems, social models and economic patterns of individual nation states. Moreover, the odds are that this diversity will increase further literally in front of our eyes. Instead of the “end of history,” we will observe more intense multifaceted competition between different types of social development.

One way to react to this emerging reality is to accept it as a positive trend that enhances the overall stability of the global social system. The more diverse and complex the system is, the more resistant it is to various shocks and disturbances. To make a rough analogy with biology, a natural forest, which is a very diverse and complex ecosystem, is much more resistant to whims of the weather and natural disasters than a man-cultivated monocultural field. Accepting the trend, we should focus on how to manage competition within the increasingly diverse and complex world so that this competition will ultimately benefit all of us.

The other way to deal with this reality would be to start fighting against social, political and economic diversity by trying to advance one single model over all others. This is exactly what the Joe Biden administration is committed to doing by launching an ideological crusade against China, Russia and other nations that dare to deviate from the fundamentals of the Western development model. To make its case, the White House has announced a virtual Summit for Democracy to be hosted by the US on December 9–10 with the goal “to renew democracy at home and confront autocracies abroad.”

This vision reduces the multi-color palette of the modern world to a minimalist black and white graphics of a global fight between “democracies” and “autocracies.” It divides the international system into “us” and “them,” into “good” and “bad,” into “legitimate” and “illegitimate.” Such a reductionist system, if constructed, cannot be stable and shock-resistant by definition: Any major international crisis or a regional conflict could spark high risks of implosion.

It goes without saying that the nations of the world should firmly oppose corruption, abuses of power by state authorities and gross violations of human rights. If the goal of the Summit for Democracy were to confront these evils on a global scale, there would be no need to make the event exclusive by inviting mostly US friends and allies. If the goal is to advertise the US political, social and economic model, Washington should probably delay the summit and put its house in order first. If the goal is to isolate Beijing and Moscow in the world of politics, this is not likely to work well for the US.

Nations of the world have a right and even a duty to experiment with their political and social development paths. This experimenting contributes to the overall social experience of the humankind. Only history is in a position to judge what models turn out to be efficient, productive and fair and what models will find their place at the dump of human delusions. And history has a lot of means at its disposal to punish leaders, who believe that they possess a “one size fits all” model, which could successfully replace the existing diversity with an imposed universalism.

From our partner RIAC

Continue Reading

East Asia

The Chinese diplomatic force in the IAEA to confront Western leadership

Published

on

At the level of international relations, through China’s presence in all the relevant international organizations, and its membership in all of the United Nations organizations, specifically in the International Atomic Energy Agency “IAEA”, China aims to play the role of the (international balancer),  in light of its quest to maintain a certain level of competition with the United States of America politically and economically, this is in line with its desires to constantly play the role of the pole calling for (multipolarity and multilateral international pluralism through the Chinese political speeches of Chinese President “Xi Jinping”), in order to oppose American hegemony over the world and Washington’s policies to maintain its position as a single pole in the international community. China’s increase in its foreign investments, in order to enhance its economic hegemony over the world through its political and diplomatic tools with countries that have equal economic power with it in a number of (trade, scientific and technological issues, in addition to military and intelligence tools, as a reference for China’s new foreign political center).

  We note that the patterns of Chinese foreign policy is (the pattern of dependence, which is based on the high level of foreign participation in all current global issues), to restrict the attempts of the United States of America to pass its decisions internationally, and therefore China is trying to enter the membership of all international organizations so that China’s foreign policies remain more comprehensive, broader and more effective in the global change, and to change all directions of these issues and control them in the United States, and this is one of its new political tools that serve its global expansion through the (Chinese Belt and Road Initiative).

   In the same context, China focuses its external and competitive strength on its presence in effective international organizations, and rapprochement with the European Union, especially (France, Germany), despite not denying their relations with Washington, because of their strong influence in the global economy.  In addition to China’s reliance on the plan of foreign and foreign investments in countries that influence American influence through the Belt and Road projects, as well as China’s resort to the import policy of many resources necessary to develop its economic capabilities from certain European countries to open influential relations with them, leading to (the Chinese strategy to obtain  political support through the policies of alliances, consulates, representations, and its membership of international organizations), with the aim of influencing countries’ policies economically to pass important international decisions regarding the US challenge to China, such as: (the Iranian nuclear file, North Korea, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, etc.), to increase with this  The level of external penetration of China economically and politically).

    China is mainly aiming to increase its membership in international organizations and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to (create a new balance of power and get rid of unipolarity restrictions through the medium powers and small states that the international system prevails with real pluralism, instead of the current state of American unipolarity).

   In my personal opinion, the countries of the Middle East may find in the rise of China and Russia, and perhaps other international powers to re-compete the United States,  as a (real opportunity to advance the effects of the pluralism of the international system at the regional level, and this would create more space for movement and opposition or bargaining and flexibility of movement for all to confront the policies of American hegemony, according to Chinese planning with Russia), and this also works to alleviate those restrictions and American dictates, and perhaps the sanctions and pressures it imposes on opponents of its approach internationally.

  The strategy of competition between China and the United States has become China’s long-term strategy, which is based on (the necessity of a heavy Chinese presence in all international organizations and forums, which allows China to communicate with various global powers and balance its relations with them compared to Washington), as well as diversifying the People’s Republic of China for its relations and distribution of its power among the competing countries, which allows China to show wide options on all important issues, and the most dangerous is that this Chinese presence, which (allows Beijing to prejudice the foundations of its relationship with the United States of America and the other various powers around the world).

  China and Russia also aim to form an alliance into all international and regional organizations to change the current provocative approach of the American policies in their confrontation, especially those related to mobilization policies and American alliances against them around the world. The Chinese alliance with Russia was so clear with the (Russian Foreign Minister “Sergey Lavrov’s visit” to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, while on the other hand, both Kuwait and Qatar have received a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the CPC Central Committee “Yang Jiechi”).

    On the other hand, China is among the Security Council countries that have the largest number of (Chinese peacekeeping forces around the world), and China is at the forefront of the (most contributing countries to the international peacekeeping budget, in addition to sending naval fleets to carry out maritime guard missions according to according to the UN Security Council resolutions), and therefore China may play an important role in establishing security in many countries in the world, and this is perhaps what China plans to ensure its use, in the event of a decline in American interest in the security of many regions in the world, within the framework of (the strategy of pressure of the American expenditures, retreat and withdrawal from many places around the world and devote its concern to the American interior issues and its worsening economic crises).

  The point is worthy to be considered here, is the report issued in July 2021 by the (International Atomic Energy Agency), entitled “Nuclear reactors around the world”, in which he analyzed China’s plan to (establish the dream of nuclear sovereignty around the world by starting to build and establish about 11 reactors). There are other Chinese nuclear reactors under construction, as well as the (new Chinese planning to build other 29 nuclear reactors), while the International Atomic Energy Agency’s work report on the other hand indicated that the known total number of reactors that are actually in service, other than those planned for construction, and other reactors under construction, is up to  About 50 Chinese nuclear reactors, a step that confirms that “China is clearly shifting towards nuclear energy in the production of electricity, and depends on it directly in its industrial renaissance during the coming period, especially as it is the number one country in the world that is expanding in the establishment of nuclear plants, followed by Russia, which plans to build other 20 new nuclear reactors, while it has 38 nuclear reactors in active service”. Some leaks indicate the presence of Chinese nuclear reactors, exercises and tests in the “Doklam Desert” region on the borders of “Xinjiang” province in northwest China.

   It also notes that, from the reality of the report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency “IAEA”, its confirmation regarding (Chinese planning to become the first country in the world in the production of nuclear energy during the next ten years, in return for the decline in the share of the United States of America in nuclear reactors, which continues to the continuous decrease with the exit of new American numbers of reactors annually), as the future plan of the United States of America does not include the establishment of new reactors, which indicates that (the expansion of this type of energy tends towards China and Russia during the coming period, and these countries will have accumulated experiences, enabling them to dominate and control this new nuclear industry in various countries of the world, and this is what is actually common happening in the region).  Knowing that its uses will be mainly peaceful and to serve the interests of peoples and countries, so we may witness the coming period intensifying the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in many files around the world to study them, inspect different regions and various other areas to ensure (their peaceful uses of nuclear energy in many development projects around the world).

   Hence, we almost understand (the importance of the Chinese presence and presence and its membership in the International Atomic Energy Agency in the first place), given that it actually owns 50 nuclear reactors in service, and its contribution to the production of electricity and providing energy to one and a half billion citizens, and China also has new nuclear reactors under construction, so (China seeks to be near the International Atomic Energy Agency, to embarrass, restrict and limit the American influence on the one hand against Beijing’s allies, led by Iran and then North Korea. Therefore, China has developed a strategic plan in the coming years, which is based on the intensity of the Chinese international presence and passing its foreign policies and decisions with the help of its Russian ally internationally).

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Green Planet2 hours ago

COP-26 Results: High Hopes for Low Temperatures

The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP-26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in...

Economy4 hours ago

An Uneven Recovery: the Impact of COVID-19 on Latin America and the Caribbean

Employment rates in some Latin American and Caribbean countries have experienced a relative recovery, although in most, rates fall short...

Reports6 hours ago

World trade reaches all-time high, but 2022 outlook ‘uncertain’

Global trade is expected to be worth about $28 trillion this year – an increase of 23 per cent compared...

Tourism10 hours ago

Coronavirus pandemic could cost global tourism $2 trillion this year

The coronavirus pandemic will likely cost the global tourism sector $2 trillion in lost revenue in 2021, the UN’s tourism...

Development14 hours ago

Despite COVID-19 connectivity boost, world’s poorest left far behind 

Some 2.9 billion people still have never used the internet, and 96 per cent live in developing countries, a new UN report has found. According to...

Middle East16 hours ago

Saudi religious moderation is as much pr as it is theology

Mohammed Ali al-Husseini, one of Saudi Arabia’s newest naturalized citizens, ticks all the boxes needed to earn brownie points in...

Finance16 hours ago

How Smart Investing can be a Significant Strategy for Traders

Despite being one of the biggest sources of passive income, the forex market is still unexplored by many. The main...

Trending