VietNamNet Bridge – It is incumbent on Southeast Asian countries to be stronger and more self-confident in the face of a rising China.
It is noteworthy that the US Secretary of State stated in 2010, at ART 17 , that the United States has national interests in the East Sea. At the same time, our northern neighbor has shown itself to be increasingly belligerent, especially since 2007.
Some points to consider:
1. Every country, first and foremost the neighboring countries, follow different ways of approaching China, depending on the position and the vision of the leadership of the country. However, to some extent, the countries’ behaviors also depend on how the powerful countries, including the US and Japan, approach China.
The strong rise of China is something to be expected in the progress of mankind. China, the most populous country in the world, was once the cradle of civilization, but experienced difficult days in the recent past. Chinese leaders have repeatedly sworn that, as their country rises and gains more strength, China will have the good sense to help make the world safer and settle the humankind’s problems.
But what do they do in reality?
The Chinese leader known as the father of the modern reform in China conferred to the next generation of leaders a principle of ruling – hide and wait for the reasonable time to make your move. In other words, China’s goals and tricks will never change, but it needs to choose the right time to take actions.
Modern Chinese politicians, military generals and businessmen always refer to Sun Tzu’s book, “The Art of War”, as the guideline for all of their actions. They have deep belief in the arts of war and proficiently utilize the tactics in all aspects of their political, social and international relations.
In other words, in today’s civilized world, the modern Chinese administration is willing to apply any and all tactics, including brutal, deceptive ones, to achieve its goals.
In the past, China, together with India and Indonesia once established “five principles for peaceful coexistence”. However, it later broke the principles, igniting a border war with India and occupying tens of thousands of square kilometers of Indian land.
China has also sought to foster opposition forces in most of the friendly and neighboring countries, ones which will cause turmoil in those countries when China deems it necessary.
The current development of China has been described in benign, diplomatic terms, such as the “rise of China”, “China’s rehabilitation”, or the “realization of the Chinese dream”. However, those who have deep knowledge of traditional Chinese political culture are all too aware of what China’ leaders are striving to achieve.
Chinese leadership always nurtures the “rehabilitation” dream. But “rehabilitation” does not simply mean regaining China’s former place in the world, it means achieving the goals that wildly ambitious Chinese emperors set forth in their craziest dreams.
Chinese emperors believed that they were the “sons of God” and that, therefore, all the world’s lands rightfully belonged to them. China was the center of the world, while other nations were its vassals. Other nations must accept this fact or be punished.
Chinese people of different generations have been brainwashed into believing that they belong to a preeminent nation. Chinese diplomatic policies under the different “dynasties” of Mao, Deng, Jiang, Hu and Xi Jinping have all been imbued with this mindset.
The Chinese carriage is marching forwards swiftly, raising big fears among progressive people in the world. Will it collide with something in its way and cause terrible accidents? Will the Chinese steamroller grind humankind’s achievements under its wheels?
People have every reason to be worried. In fact, the carriage has damaged many things already, including spiritual and cultural values, and natural living environments.
China, which, in the eyes of other countries, was a “friend”, has turned out to be a country with crazy ambitions, a greedy, cunning, selfish country which is willing to use all possible tricks to reach its goals, from corrupting the leaderships of other nations, plundering natural resources, devastating others’ living environments, imposing economic pressure, and funding conflicts, to threatening to use armed force.
2. It is not only Vietnam and neighboring countries that can see the worrying signs in the region as China rises.
After a lot of preparations, China, arrogantly and blatantly using all means it can, associated by the armed force, has deployed a drilling rig in the Vietnamese exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and built a military base on the Fiery Cross and Johnson Reef areas.
These moves by China are just a couple of steps in its broad strategy to legalize its fabricated “nine-dashed line”, and obtain hegemony over the East Sea, while continuing to nurture its wild ambition of world hegemony.
Experts have warned that this could be a detonator that may cause a destructive conflict that engulfs the world in the near future. Let it not be forgotten that the last century’s two world wars, which caused incalculable destruction to humankind, were ignited by the wild ambitions of ruling powers and the narrow- mindedness of politicians.
China has waged wars against most of its neighboring countries, big and small, and has ignited disputes in territorial waters with tens of Southeast and East Asian countries.
If someone can reasonably link the events in the past, he will realize that the Chinese have laid timer mines for most of the international relations.
3. However, while everyone understands that it is necessary to prevent China from achieving its wild ambition on hegemony, it will be not easy to do this, for various reasons.
The foremost reason is that, in relations with China, every country strives to realize its own benefits. Therefore, countries conduct different behaviors towards China.
Small countries, though being blocked by China, dare not join forces with counterpoised countries to oppose China, because they fear that one day they would be sacrificed by the countries.
Some other countries, not yet in direct conflict with China, have supported Chinese policies in exchange for various benefits offered by China.
Even powerful countries are also influenced by China, and therefore try to avoid confrontation with China in international issues. West European countries once tasted Chinese-styled economic sanctions in retaliation for activities China disliked.
These countries include Norway which, in a move opposed by the Chinese administration, granted a Noble Prize to a Chinese political dissident, and France, which traded with Taiwan.
The US, a powerful country, is fully aware of the risks of China’s ascension, which may threaten its current position in the world’s arena. However, it stills need more time and preparation to deal with the problem.
Experts have commented that China has exposed its warlike manner at this time because it thinks that the rest of the world will not join forces and achieve enough strength to prevent it from implementing its hegemonic dream.
In 2010, the Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister asserted amongst representatives of the other countries, including the US, at ART 17, that China is a big country, bigger than any country present at the conference.
Those arrogant words were quoted by H. Clinton in her memoirs.
Prior to that time, China suggested that it and the US would share the Asia Pacific, with the western part belonging to China, according to Timothy Keating, the US Navy Commander.
Bui Duc Lai
Business & Investment Opportunities
Saigon Business Corporation Pte Ltd (SBC) is incorporated in Singapore since 1994.