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This post was edited by abramicus at 2012-12-10 12:38|
kdaddy68 Post time: 2012-12-10 10:43
The problem is China is using its strength as a club...when a small country is caught between 2 powe ...
骄兵必败- A Little Humility Goes a Long Way
It is true that China is losing the war on perceptions. But the problem is not the perception that China has no basis for its claims over the islands of the South China Sea. The problem is that China has not disambiguiated its claim over the islands from a claim over the seas, perceived as an attempt to claim all the seas as sovereign territory, which would set a precedent, as the US could conceivably claim the entire Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Honolulu to San Diego. Since everyone wants to guard against the worst possible scenario, this claim over the sea itself is the default interpretation of the 9-dash map, which is why the US has insisted it retainst the right to free navigation through the area, but as a safeguard against China challenging it over time, it wants to support the claims of sovereignty of other countries over islands within the South China Sea as well, indirectly.
Japan felt it had to nationalize Diaoyudao before China becomes even more powerful than t is right now, and thus abrogated the unspoken agreement between the two countries to shelve the dispute over the sovereignty of Daioyudao.
My suspicion is that we are seeing the Butterly in Brazil effect at work here. The real source of the trouble started with Vietnam attacking Chinese fishing vessels resulting in a skirmish with the Chinese navy that saw the sinking of a few Vietnamese ships with loss of lives. China's response was to declare a blanket rule regarding its claim of sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, thinking to save itself the trouble of declaring it separately and belatedly to an assumed tendency for all other countries to follow the Vietnamese behavior. This prompted US concern about having its navigational right through the South China Sea being curtailed by the PLAN, forcing Obama to declare he is shifting 10% of the US naval force back into Asia, called the Pivot to Asia in November 2011. This emboldened the Philippines to arrest Chinese fishermen at Huangyan using its military vessel, a navy ship, in April 2012. This prompted China to save its fishermen by sending its own coast guard to Huangyan. By May 2012, China issued a formal map of China on its passport, directed against both Vietnam and the Philippines, forgetting that Japan would soon jump into the fray, as it did with Ishihara declaring on May 30, 2012, that he intends to buy the Diaoyudao from its then civilian illegal owners, in order to put a lighthouse on it, etc. By that time, the map of China has been printed on the passports, which lacked one more dash to include Diaoyudao. China was banking on its good relations with the Japanese ambassador to prevent mischief from happening, but Noda went right ahead and nationalized Diaoyudao on Sept 11, 2012.
China also imagined the worst scenario of all the countries ganging up on her and thus became even more adamant about its claim over Huangyan, refusing a deal wherein both countries simply leave the island, and then negotiate in private. This was probably a mistake. If China really had the strength to fight all its enemies on all fronts, such show of stregnth will inspire respect. But when challenged by Japan on 9/11, China fielded only one marine surveillance ship, and later pushed through five ships, initiallly patrolling away from Diaoyudao by more than a hundred miles, not daring to enter its sovereign territorial water within 12 miles of the island. This lack of strength thus inspired resentment, derision, and anger, instead of respect, admiration and affection.
Up to now, China's perception gap between an implication of extreme power to protect its sovereignty, and evidence of barely sufficient power to do the same, as seen by its enemies, invites a very serous challenge of its sovereignty and its strength in the coming days. The broad-based assertion of sovereignty with the 9-dash map followed by a broad-based lack of strength to enforce it can only invite a challenge in due time. Japan took the lead in challenging it, but remains respectful of China's hidden strength. Yet, everyone knows that "hidden strength" is not unlimited strength, and as they weigh China's claims and China's strength, the conclusion is drifting toward China not being able to defend them all.
Compared to each individual country, China might be much stronger than them. But compared to their collective strength, China is weaker than them. Thus, China is on a rush to beef up its forces. While the other countries are on a rush to form a coalition against China. A test of power is thus to be expected.
How China fares depends on how it conducts its fight. But in the end, if all is lost, China's fate will depend on how Taiwan enters or does not enter into the fray. If Taiwan leans toward China, in both the claim of the 9-dash boundary of the South China Sea and Diaoyudao, as it does at present, and fights on the side of China, China will be invincible. If Taiwan is too afraid to enter the fray, or does not trust China to honor their bond of brotherhood and stands aside, China will probably lose. If China loses, Taiwan will also lose, and will probably be overtaken by separatist insurrection in due time. The mutual envy and distrust, whcih equates to some degree of ill will, will be the Achilles Heel of the China of the 21st Century.