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China will not kowtow to US [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2011-8-30 09:50:49 |Display all floors
China will not kowtow to US
29 August 2011
BA Hamzah

THE South China Sea is hogging the headlines again. An Australian think-tank has warned that China's assertiveness in Asia-Pacific waters, for example, could lead to conflicts involving the US and other powers. In its 2011 report, the Sydney- based Lowy Institute blames China for the tension in East Asia Sea and by extension the South China Sea.

The report has cited tensions between China and Japan in 2010 off Okinawa, including Japan's arrest of the captain of a Chinese fishing boat that reportedly tried to ram its coast guard vessel.

The United States has blamed China for raising the political temperature in the South China Sea. Faulting China for everything that goes awry with the maritime security in the South China Sea does not give the whole picture. China is not the only guilty party that upsets the strategic balance in the South China Sea. The US and claimant parties are also guilty of raising tensions.

However, the US policy to reassert itself in China's backyard is, in my opinion, the primary cause of the instability; China's recent assertiveness is largely a response to US "return" policy under Obama.

Henry Kissinger in his book on "China" examines with disdain the ancient Chinese practice of kowtow. The act of kowtow before the emperor, according to Kissinger, involves "prostration, with the forehead touching the ground three times". More than two hundred year later, the world's sole military superpower expects China, in a role reversal, to kowtow to them. Call it vengeance, humiliation or retribution, a China that "can say no" to America, has fought back on all fronts.

On Taiwan and Tibet, China has issued strong words against US policy of interference and intimidation. In the South China Sea, the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army (Navy) has taken the US Navy to task on numerous occasions. In 2009, for example, China's naval vessels chased the USNS Impeccable and USNS Victorious out of its waters for violating its national legislation on foreign military activities in its exclusive economic zone.

Mainstream western media often portray China as the villain in the South China Sea. The media talks of the dangers of a rising China and the perception that its assertiveness can undermine the regional maritime security. While the media is probably right about Chinese ambitions to become more than a regional power, as it claims a rightful place in the world, it tells only one side of the story.

Many factors have contributed to the maritime security dilemma in the South China Sea. Topping the list is of course the US-Sino rivalry and intra-claimant disputes over the Spratlys and in the north, Vietnam has contested China's occupation of the Paracels.

After June 2010, the US began to reassert itself in the South China Sea; Beijing accuses the US of courting some claimants in the South China Sea to tighten a noose around its neck. Beijing views US naval exercises with Vietnam and lately with the Philippines as intimidating and threatening.

While it remains vigilant of any surprise move, China is evidently apprehensive of US attempts to curb its dominant presence in the South China Sea that it claims. In 1947, China formalised its paper claim vide a contested nine-dash-line map.

On the economic front, the world's second largest economy has just rebuked Washington for living beyond its means. According to Xinhua news agency, China as the largest creditor of world's sole superpower has every right to demand that Washington address its burgeoning structural debt problem. By Xinhua's estimates, the US debt, as of this month, is about US$55 trillion, US$14 trillion in US Treasury bonds. It calculates that the US national debt amounts to US$176,000 per person, or US$670,000 per household.

The US may be a military superpower and the largest economy; it is also the most indebted nation in the world.  Within days of rebuking Washington for its economic mess, China sent out its first aircraft carrier, the former Varyag, for sea trials.

Although the locally refitted ex-Ukraine vessel is no match to seven US nuclear powered aircraft carriers, the unnamed Chinese vessel is a force multiplier to reckon with, especially in the South China Sea where Beijing has been flexing its naval muscles.

Apparently, China is refitting three more aircraft carriers in its shipyards. Coupled with the deployment of the anti-ship ballistic missiles and the Houbei fast attack craft complete with YJ-83 missiles and the presence of an aircraft carrier, China will not be a pushover in the South China Sea.

With "carrier killers" in its order-of-battle and the economic mess in Washington DC, one should not expect China to kowtow to the barbarians; certainly, not in the South China Sea where it has established a formidable naval presence.

Moreover, in the South China Sea, in terms of military deployment capability, China has geography on its side. Hawaii, the home port of the US Seventh Fleet, is 8,000 miles away. By comparison, the distance between Sanya at Hainan where the Chinese Navy has a base, to the Spratlys is less than 200 miles. In times of crisis, distance can make a critical difference.

A country that can scold a superpower and lend it money deserves more respect from the United States. China will not kowtow to the US in the South China Sea.

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Post time 2011-8-30 10:10:46 |Display all floors


The earth trembles with fear at the thought of war between the two big nations. Don’t let it be.
Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

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Post time 2011-8-30 10:37:45 |Display all floors

No one asking for kowtow

Long time no see, Mark.

It is not a matter of  " kowtow ", not at all. That's the old Chinese interpretation.

USofA obviously does not want to cede territories to the "new boy" on the block. It wants to fend off all challenges.

It's head-butting, old story.
Let the dice fly high

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Post time 2011-9-1 17:27:40 |Display all floors
Interesting perspective posted by Mark,

Couple of points, China apparently objected to US ships in China's EEZ.
I was under the impression that the EEZ does not prohibit free passage of foreign vessels, it's the TERRITORIAL waters where they have the right to prohibit foreign vessels.

Territorial waters are something like 12 nm from the coast, whereas the EEZ is much further out.

In fact China claims an EEZ up to the 12nm territorial waters of countries like the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam, more than 1000km from China's mainland coast in some places.

This is totally ridiculous.

China also criticises the US for living beyond its means, well sure, the Americans have been spending far too much.
China, however, has contributed to the inbalance through its distorted exchange rate policies which is against the idea of free trade.
China has distorted the balance of trade through its currency being artificially cheap and then has the audacity to criticise the victims of China's currency policy.

China has a lot more issues regarding human rights and rule of law where is should just shut the fukk up before criticising everyone else.
"他不是救星, 他是一个非常淘气男孩" - Monty Python

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Post time 2011-9-1 17:52:43 |Display all floors

Reply #4 emucentral's post

I think territorial waters are out to 12nm and EEZ extends to 200nm. It's that way in NZ at least and i expect it's the same for other countries.
I agree that China is grasping at straws regarding the extent of it's territory and claiming far too closely to other countries.

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Post time 2011-9-1 17:56:13 |Display all floors

Reply #1 markwu's post

Mark, while it's true that the logistics chain for China, in the Spratleys is shorter, it might pay to remember that the US retains a large fleet supply chain that can maintain combat vessels on station for very long periods of time so I'd suggest that proximity, for China isn't that much of an issue regarding maintaining fleet units on station. Remember also, that the US maintains bases in Japan, Okinawa, South Korea and also Guam.
China's new carrier may well be a force multiplier with smaller Asian navies, but it hardly applies to any scenario with the USN. China doesn't even know how to operate it properly within a fleet and the pilots are nowhere near experienced enough to go up against the vastly more experienced USN pilots who've been practising carrier ops for well over half a century.

[ Last edited by exportedkiwi at 2011-9-1 04:59 PM ]

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Post time 2011-9-1 18:26:32 |Display all floors
Originally posted by exportedkiwi at 2011-9-1 19:52
I think territorial waters are out to 12nm and EEZ extends to 200nm. It's that way in NZ at least and i expect it's the same for other countries..

Yep, that sounds right, Kiwi, territorial to 12 nm and EEZ to 200nm.
Except for China, who makes up its own rules!
"他不是救星, 他是一个非常淘气男孩" - Monty Python

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