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"China is winning in the SCS"



by 4 Jurors

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a sovereign state located in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party, with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau). The PRC also claims Taiwan – which is controlled by the Republic of China (ROC), a separate political entity – as its 23rd province, a claim which is controversial due to the complex political status of Taiwan.

Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, China is the world's second-largest country by land area, and either the third or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the method of measurement. China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometres (9,000 mi) long, and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.

The history of China goes back to the ancient civilization – one of the world's earliest – that flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, known as dynasties, beginning with the semi-mythological Xia of the Yellow River basin (c. 2000 BCE). Since 221 BCE, when the Qin Dynasty first conquered several states to form a Chinese empire, the country has expanded, fractured and been reformed numerous times. The Republic of China (ROC) overthrew the last dynasty in 1911, and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949. After the defeat of the Empire of Japan in World War II, the Communist Party defeated the nationalist Kuomintang in mainland China and established the People's Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949, while the Kuomintang relocated the ROC government to its present capital of Taipei.

The economic history of China stretches over thousands of years and has undergone alternating cycles of prosperity and decline. China was for a large part of the last two millennia the world's largest and most advanced economy. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has become one of the world's fastest-growing major economies. As of 2013, it is the world's second-largest economy by both nominal total GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP), and is also the world's largest exporter and importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, with the second-largest defence budget. The PRC has been a United Nations member since 1971, when it replaced the ROC as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BCIM and the G-20. China is a regional power within Asia and has been characterized as a potential superpower by a number of commentators.

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Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Dave Blank posted a review

For the first time since President Donald Trump took office, a U.S. warship has sailed near a Chinese-controlled island in the disputed South China Sea, signaling an attempt to project a more assertive American stance against Beijing just before a major regional defense summit.

The mission, a passage by the guided missile destroyer USS Dewey on Wednesday within twelve nautical miles of Mischief Reef, in the Spratly island chain, was long anticipated and delayed. The last such operation took place in October, and U.S. commanders who had already chafed under Barack Obama’s tight leash had hoped to get a freer hand and to carry out more patrols under Trump.

Instead, the new administration has declined several requests from the military to carry out naval patrols in the disputed waterway. Eager to secure China’s help in pressuring North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, the White House has moved cautiously and chosen not to confront Beijing over the South China Sea, officials and congressional aides told Foreign Policy.

But with defense ministers and senior military officers from across Asia due to meet in Singapore next month, including U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, the administration needed to show it was willing to back up its words with some action and demonstrate that it would uphold the principle of freedom of navigation, experts said.

“This was a good, albeit overdue, move by the Trump Administration,” said Ely Ratner, formerly deputy national security adviser to Joe Biden and now at the Council on Foreign Relations.

It was the first time a U.S. warship had sailed within the twelve-mile limit of any Chinese-held feature — a way to show that Washington doesn’t buy Beijing’s claims that rocks generate a territorial sea, and so push back against China’s expansionist claims. “This was the big one folks were waiting for,” he said.

And while those so-called freedom of navigation operations, or FONOPS, by themselves don’t amount to a U.S. strategy to deal with the South China Sea, he said, the first step is to make sure that China can’t unilaterally fence off bits of international waters. “FONOPs are an essential part of that,” Ratner said.

During the campaign and early days of the administration, Trump and his deputies staked out a tough line on China. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested in his confirmation hearings that U.S. forces would actually try to expel China from disputed waters and islets it now claims.

But North Korea and its rapidly-expanding missile and nuclear weapons program have grabbed the attention of the Trump administration, pushing the disputes over the Chinese land grab in the South China Sea — and Beijing’s open militarization of many islets and atolls — to the back burner. Trump has toned down his rhetoric on trade disputes and other spats with China specifically to secure Beijing’s cooperation in defusing the North Korea crisis.

“The president and his advisers have calculated that if we are to get China’s help on North Korea, better to take the foot off the gas on more contentious issues,” said Mira Rapp-Hooper, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Even though as a candidate Trump portrayed former president Barack Obama as a weak president in his dealings with China and other adversaries, his administration’s cautious diplomacy bears some resemblance to Obama’s policies, as the previous White House concluded that more could be gained from Beijing by avoiding a full-blown confrontation over the South China Sea or other disputes.

Much to the consternation of U.S. allies in Asia, the Trump White House has yet to fill senior positions at the State Department and the Pentagon handling Asia policy, and has said little about the South China Sea issue publicly. The uncertainty over the administration’s policy on China has alarmed America’s partners and weakened the resolve of some governments in Southeast Asia, who fear Washington will no longer back them up if they try to take on Beijing in the South China Sea.

At a meeting last month in Manila of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, government ministers from the region backed off of references to “land reclamation and militarization” after lobbying from China.

The Pentagon sought to downplay the significance of the operation, which it described as routine. Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, described the passage at an event in Washington Thursday as “not confrontational,” and said that the so-called freedom of navigation operations by U.S. ships receive exaggerated scrutiny for the supposed diplomatic messages they convey.

“They sure get a lot of attention when they happen,” he said, but the operations are routinely conducted all over the world without the fanfare associated with the South China Sea missions.

The operations sure get a lot of attention in China.

The Dewey’s patrol “undermined China’s sovereignty and security interests and is highly likely to cause untoward incidents in the waters and airspace,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday.

Citing China’s “indisputable sovereignty” over those islets and surrounding waters, he added: “We strongly urge the U.S. side to correct its wrongdoing and stop any provocative actions detrimental to China’s sovereignty and security interests so as to avoid any further damage to China-US cooperation and regional peace and stability.”

And such operations are also closely watched in Washington, rightly or wrongly, as a barometer of the administration’s willingness to push back against China. Amid growing concern in Congress that the Trump administration is making strategic concessions to China in hopes of persuading Beijing to shift its stance on North Korea, several senators from both sides of the aisle wrote a letter earlier this month urging the administration to show resolve in the South China Sea and conduct more frequent naval patrols in the waterway.

The first real test of the effect of Wednesday’s naval mission will come in early June at the Shangri-La dialogue, a large annual gathering in Singapore that serves as a venue for high-level talks on crucial matters of Asian security.

Many maritime experts view the focus on freedom of navigation operations, and how they are publicly presented, as misplaced.

“In my view, the publicity around the FONOPs is problematic. Many observers now view it as an indicator of U.S. resolve, which it is not,” said M. Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese maritime issues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Such missions are merely meant to uphold traditional rights to navigation in international waters for all countries, he said. What’s more, they can give Beijing an excuse to ramp up its own provocative behavior, feeling as if its claims of sovereignty are being challenged.

“They were never intended to do more, such as deterring China’s broader ambitions in places like the South China Sea.”

Ultimately, and despite the belated U.S. mission near Mischief Reef, Washington has few tools at its disposal to convince China to retreat from its years-long acquisition and garrisoning of a spate of tiny reefs and atolls in the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest waterways. Some experts and lawmakers have urged imposing economic sanctions on Chinese companies taking part in the vast island-building project, but the Trump administration has shown no sign it is ready to consider such a move.

Since it began dredging sand from the seafloor to vastly expand the size of those pinpricks of coral in 2014, China has built airfields, deep harbors and air defense systems on many features and deployed advanced fighter jets, despite promises to stop militarizing the area.

The bid to extend its reach in the waterway is part of China’s much broader effort — backed up with an arsenal of missiles — to push out its defensive perimeter from the Chinese coast and keep potential rivals at arm’s length in the event of a conflict.

“The United States does not have great options in the South China Sea,” Fravel said. “China will not vacate the features it occupies and the United States will not forcibly remove them. “

China’s project has moved at a brisk pace, with reports of new military installations appearing every few weeks. Earlier this month, a state-run Chinese paper said that Beijing had installed 155 mm rocket launchers on Fiery Cross reef in the Spratlys, purportedly to deter combat divers from Vietnam, which has been at loggerheads with China over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

“They basically succeeded in their construction projects, and are now well on their way to having floating bases out in the Spratly Islands, and there’s been really very little pushback and they’ve had to pay very little cost for doing so,” said Rapp-Hooper.

She added: “It is, unfortunately, now game over.”

on May 27, 2017

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Wang Yang posted a review

The international community went through the restless year of 2016 in surprise and panic with populism, exclusivism and utilitarianism spreading rampantly. Unlike China and Russia, which emphasize authority of the government, the weakening and even the decline of political clout of Western countries have been apparent.

This sparked a new round of discussion and reflection on democracy and political development. In fact, since the end of World War II, democracy has been the focus of debates in international politics, as well as a weapon and tool of Western countries against other nations.

The disintegration of the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries 25 years ago was partly due to the influence of ideas such as "democracy, freedom and human rights" from the West. However, the Western countries now are mired in "populism and contentious politics" themselves.

The Western political status quo and the complicated and changing world order made China's unique political path stand out.

After the Cold War ended more than 20 years ago, China did not follow the same old disastrous road of the Soviet Union, but, instead, realized economic development and national rejuvenation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and maintained the momentum of reform, development and stability.

After the global financial crisis, while the Western economic systems and social governance models ran into trouble, China's was outstanding in dealing with the challenges of the economic recession.

The cornerstone of China's miracle lies in the mutual promotion of political and economic systems. Unlike the polarized mindsets of "democracy/autocracy" and "West/non-West" that some scholars in Western countries continue to be confined to, China's comprehensive and pragmatic political development provides an alternative to the current trend in the international community.

Nowadays, the concept of "democracy", monopolized by the West, has been abused in international political ideologies and practices. Over the years, the US-led Western coalition has never relented in dividing and disintegrating China under the name of "democratization." They make prescriptions of "freedom, democracy and human rights" every now and then by the Western standards, and hope China will follow it accordingly.

Facing the risks and challenges both at home and abroad, particularly Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan and Hong Kong separatists and democratic activists, we must maintain our political composure, and stick to a comprehensive outlook of political development in discourse and theory construction.

The characteristics and advantages of the modern Chinese political development consist of stability, developmental nature, consistency, coordination and inclusiveness.

Stability is embodied in stable political order, orderly political participation, simultaneous implementation of the rule of law and democracy, and effective national governance capabilities.

To advocate "inclusiveness" means we do not object to democracy in a general sense. Instead, the progress of democracy is driven by the concept of comprehensive political development. We resolve social problems and provide political guarantee for the economy through political development.

Compared with the single concept of democracy, political development has a richer and broader connotation. Democracy is an important concept in political development. However, in contemporary China, development of democracy must be pushed forward within the framework of comprehensive political development.

Political development consists of three groups of interdependent and interactive variables and values: democracy (including justice, rights and freedom), rule of law (including stability, rules, and orders), and efficiency (including performance, responsibilities and transparent governance). The ideal political development requires a balance and coordination of all the values.

Unlike some countries which push forward democratization lopsidedly, the process of China's political reform and development takes on a unique comprehensive coordination, progressive developmental nature, and conforms to local conditions.

Comprehensive coordination not only requires an organic unification of values of political development, such as democracy, order and efficiency, but also requires political development to be conducive to economic development and social progress. The progressive developmental nature emphasizes that political development is a vigorous and multifaceted process. It is also stressed that we should take our own path in political reform and democratization based on the circumstances of our country.

In practice, we should improve the overall leadership of the Communist Party of China and the national governance capabilities based on comprehensive political development, in order to fully improve our political development capabilities and international political competitiveness.

on February 3, 2017

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Anonymous posted a review

US's economics problems cannot be attributed to China completely. Beyond policing the world, they have decades of overstepping, mismanagement in the form of military interventions etc. Their problems stemmed from both at home and overseas. The Wallstreet did and does more harm to US in the past decade than China did.

China does not wish to police the world, it is against their fundamental ideology at nation level. They don't want and don't care about policing the world. They want prosperity and security in their own backyard. Beyond that they do not care about how other countries half the world away are managing their country.

Your idea of the kind of super-power China wishes to become is based on Western view of what a super-power is, not China's. If it has to compete to make itself prosperous it will do it, but it does not necessarily want the US to collapse or lose. It is actually in the China's interest to see a prosperous US providing that it does not try to contain it or meddle in its backyard (aka south china sea).

on January 30, 2017

Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables. These include area studies, climate, topography,...

img Gerald Wilson posted a review

A Chinese diplomat said China does not want world leadership but could be forced to assume that role if others step back from that position, after U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to put "America first" in his first speech.

It is a little ironic if this is all ends with China taking over the reins and becoming the new global order. For the past fifty years, China has been the most predictable nation in global affairs because they didn't care about the rest of the world. China only cares about China. If there is an issue on the floor directly relevant to China (i.e. the South China Sea) then China very much cares and is involved, but everything else.

Oh, what's that? Strife, genocide, and massive human rights violation going on somewhere in Africa? A coup d'etat in Turkey? Israel invading the West Bank? Ten million citizens brutally killed in Rwanda? Russia invading another country? Saudi Arabia bombing school children in Yemen? China literally couldn't care less. The Soviets would be running all over the map supporting communism and the West would be supporting coups and starting dozens of wars in the name of "Freedom" and democracy, and all the while China didn't do anything outside of it's borders. Other nations spilled blood and treasure in the name of human rights or ideologies, but China only cared about China.

China had no interest in being world police and was happy to let the world do whatever the fuck it wanted as long as it left China alone.

It was on it's way to being the only Superpower in the history of the world to not have any global ambitions. But just as they were doing that and minding their own business, the reins of global power were abandoned and they had to become the global order simply by default.

on January 23, 2017
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China is winning in the SCS
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