• As 2016 closes, world ponders China’s muscular rise

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    FRANK CHING

    FRANK CHING

    As 2016 draws to a close, China’s economic, political and military posture is higher than ever. It has challenged the United States in the South China Sea by seizing an unmanned underwater vehicle before the US navy could retrieve it, then returned it a few days later with a warning to Washington not to conduct close-in reconnaissance activities near Chinese territory.

    The US says that the seizure was illegal since the incident occurred in international waters. China seems to concede that point, saying only that it occurred in “waters facing China.” So China increasingly does what it wants without even the least cover of legality.

    Singapore, too, is being given a dose of Chinese medicine. Its armored vehicles were seized in Hong Kong in November while being transshipped back home, after military training exercises in Taiwan. The island nation has annoyed China by siding with the US on issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the South China Sea.

    There are signs that Hong Kong is acting under Beijing’s direction. China is responsible for Hong Kong’s defense and foreign affairs. Singapore troops have been training in Taiwan for decades since Singapore doesn’t have the terrain for such drills.

    China has also browbeaten traditionally Buddhist Mongolia, which had permitted the Dalai Lama to visit after being invited by the Gandantegchinlen Monastery. Afterward, Beijing canceled talks on soft loans and a chastised Mongolia promised never to allow the Dalai Lama to set foot on its soil again. Ironically, the now cowed Mongols had conquered China in the 13th century and ruled it for generations.

    China’s economic muscle also brought Norway to its knees six years after the Norwegian Nobel Committee gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, an imprisoned dissident. China then froze relations, sales of Norwegian salmon plummeted and talks on a free trade agreement halted.

    Norway has now performed the modern-day equivalent of the kowtow by saying that it “fully respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, attaches high importance to China’s core interests and major concerns … and will do its best to avoid any future damage to the bilateral relations.” Liu Xiaobo, meanwhile, remains in prison.

    Norway’s capitulation comes in the wake of similar abject statements by France and Denmark. Leaders of both countries had met with the Dalai Lama, who is considered a splittist by China and has lived in exile since 1959.

    Closer to home, China has been increasing pressure on Taiwan. It is ending a diplomatic truce, during which it did not raid Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.

    However, after the impoverished African state of Sao Tome and Principe announced Dec. 20 that it would break relations with Taiwan, China immediately welcomed the move, saying it welcomes the country’s “return to the right track of the one-China principle.”

    This is clearly a warning to Taiwan that China is prepared to strip off the island’s allies one by one unless it accepts the “one China” principle that Taiwan is a part of China.

    With the loss of Sao Tome, Taiwan only has 21 diplomatic partners left, of which the Vatican is by far the most important.

    So, as 2017 opens, China can view the world with a certain degree of satisfaction. Its influence is felt everywhere, and, besides the US, there are few countries that have the wherewithal and the will to stand up to China.

    Interestingly, in late December the Beijing newspaper Global Times published the results of a global survey that it had conducted on China’s international image and influence in 2016. The respondents hailed from 15 countries, including Russia, the US, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Australia.

    The survey results showed that 56.6 percent of respondents believe the US will be the most influential country in Asian affairs in the next 10 years, while 22.7 percent chose China and 10.1 percent picked Russia. The European Union came fourth, with 3.7 percent.

    As for whether China is a global power, 67.9 percent responded “yes,” 19.4 percent answered “not yet,” 8 percent said “hard to say,” while 4.7 percent answered “no.”

    So, already, more people think China is a global power than think that the US will dominate Asia in the next decade.

    For a country that denied for decades that it had any ambition to be a superpower, the very holding of such a survey suggests that it now craves first place in Asia and the world.

    China is clearly on that trajectory. The question is whether this development is one that the rest of the world will dread or welcome.

    Frank.ching@gmail.com
    Twitter: @FrankChing1

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    6 Comments

    1. It is better for China to stop celebrating. Obama, the weakest president America ever had is history. The incoming President Donald J. Trump, the greatest deal maker will defeat China in military and trade deals. America will be respected again by the Free World and U.S. adversaries.

    2. I’ll wage my war in spiritual…

      Father God, while the world fights for positions! Position of power, position of affluence, position to be great and to be just number one in everything, We chose to kneel down even laying prostrate in humility and in spirit of intercession – as the most powerful position You have given to us.

      We ask You humbly that You will raise a new generations of intercessors. Same spirited, like-minded people that will stand in the gap and will call upon You. That Your fire will come down from heaven to stir up people hearts, setting them ablaze for Your purposes and glory in this end times.

      That you will raise up a new generation of media who can’t be bought. Whose hearts and pursuits will be pure and whose hearts will be full of integrity. A new generation of media institution whose hearts are filled with Your Words and operates in God’s righteousness. Scribes that will chose to spread what the good of building up not the evil of tearing down.

      They will part of solution, not of the problem. That they will be victors not victims. And You will guard their welfare that they will not lack of anything be it in finances and resources. Let Your warriors rise up!

      Let those who hear Your voice heed on Your call. “He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says”.

      In Jesus most awesome name I pray! Amen!

    3. Yonkers, New York
      27 December 2016

      There is a very good chance that within a year after Republican President DONALD TRUMP and his Republican cohorts in the Congress unfold their international policies and programs, as molded by Trump, the world will be a totally different place.

      NAFTA will go the way of the dodo. He will no longer financially support the NATO because, he fumes, the other 27 members have reneged on their commitment or responsibility to financially support it annually to the tune of 2 percent of their annual GDP. NATO will quickly unravel, and that’s just find with Trump’s friend VLADIMIR PUTIN, who will then free to gobble up European nations, one by one, till he realizes his dream of resurrecting the ill-fated USSR. Russia will then rule Europe.

      Donald Trump will abort the TPP, President Obama’s brainchild. He will very likely also roll back President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” [hence redubbed “Rebalancing.” That would be just fine as far as Chinese President XI JINPING is concerned. China will then be free to push to the limit its arbitrary “NINE-DASH LINE”–and Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore will no longer be able to pursue its claims to those maritime structures/islands in both the East China Sea and the South China Sea against China. The US will very likely stop its FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION OPERATIONS in international waters in the South China Sea where an estimated $5 trillion in annual trade passes. That way, it will extricate itself from the THUCYDIDES TRAP into which it and China have fallen in all the years since the US “Pivot to Asia” was enforced. The effect of all of these is that China will rule Asia.

      With Russia ruling Europe, and China ruling Asia, Donald Trump’s America will deliberately withdraw into a FORTRESS AMERICA, protected by the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.

      MARIANO PATALINJUG
      patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    4. As the old saying,”Who has the gold rules.” China is not yet comparable to US when it comes to military might but its money spits the US. Lol!

    5. Admitted that only USA can take a face off with China, still there is deep-seated suspicion behind the moves of China. Even i