Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his China counterpart, Defense
Minister Chang Wanquan, head for a press conference, after Hagel
arrived on his first
visit to Beijing as defense chief. Video of their
comments has not been made available
to the public.
Be Told: China is Not Russia (Huanqiu, China)
Is part of America's 'Asia Pivot' to use China's territorial
disputes with Japan and the Philippines to gain leverage over Beijing? This
editorial from China's state-run Huanqiu exhorts Chinese officials not to be too
polite with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is now
in China after stopping in Japan. According to the government mouthpiece, it
must be made abundantly clear to Hagel that 'China is
not Russia' - and will not have its strategic space squeezed the way the West
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has concluded his
Japanese tour and on Monday kicked off a visit to China, during which he will
be given a tour of the Liaoning
[aircraft carrier]. In Tokyo he said many things that were pleasing to the
Japanese ear. Making a very provocative analogy, Hagel
publicly warned China not to tackle ongoing territorial disputes with smaller neighboring
countries like "the Russians have in Ukraine."
officials in their talks with Hagel should be less
polite and more forceful. After his public show of toughness in Japan, Hagel should hear a forthright expression of China's
position - and even harsh words. To reciprocate is part of Chinese culture, so
let U.S. officials have such expectations going forward.
the territorial issue, the United States has yet to fully side with Japan and the
Philippines, but there is little difference between Washington's current
partiality for Tokyo and Manila and open confrontation with China.
Chinese believe that this is one of the core elements of America's "pivot
to Asia" strategy. The U.S. is attempting to burden China's rise by provoking
and inciting confrontation between Beijing and neighboring countries. The U.S.
is implementing this strategy at precisely the moment when territorial disputes
in East Asia have intensified thanks to the aggressive and offensive policies
of Japan and the Philippines.
has been no direct confrontation on the issue of the islands conflict, and the
existence of a number of buffers is likely a stabilizing factor in the Asia Pacific,
but this cannot be considered a desire of China alone.
public opinion has lost interest in patience and has given up hope of reasoning
with the United States, concluding that Washington is all too adept at
manipulating double standards. In the eyes of the U.S., Japan's "nationalization"
of the Diaoyu Islands [Senkaku Islands] and the Filipino trickery to bolster its
territorial clam by using
a navy ship to reinforce a cargo ship marooned on Ren'ai
Thomas Shoal] are not violations of the "status quo," while any
countermeasures taken by China are called "aggression."
United States is good at maneuvering in East Asia, but if it thought it could force
China into submission both at sea and in the media, then it has overestimated
the effectiveness of its "Asia Pivot." China is not Russia, nor are
the South China and East China Seas Crimea. Restraint is one of China's central
philosophies in the face of friction, but we must also make clear everyone,
"Don't mess with us!"
the United States continues to encourage Tokyo and Manila, causing them to
provoke China, it will sooner or later have to pay the price, and that price
will be shame. For instance, if the Philippines insists on reinforcing a rusting
ship in Ren'ai Reef, China will prevent it. To be
sure, China will not allow the emergence of a permanent Philippine facility on
U.S. Congress people promise Manila that the U.S. will enable it to achieve
that dream, then those lawmakers will sooner or later have egg on their faces. If
Washington has told Tokyo that it can have a free hand on the Diaoyu Islands, that promise will eventually be shown to
have been worthless.
has nothing to learn from Russia when it comes to dealing with friction on its
periphery. Rather, it is the U.S. that needs to learn a lesson from the Crimea situation.
Washington has squeezed Russia's strategic space, but it got cold feet when Moscow
upped the ante. From the point of view of great power relations, that is the
essence of the Crimea incident.
in Europe are not being replicated in East Asia. America needs to take care,
because it will be unable to suppress China the way it has done with Russia. The
U.S. will be unable to use countries like Japan and the Philippines as pawns in
a China containment strategy.
has emphasized building a new type of great power relationship with the United
States, which is a new attempt to avoid the traditional pitfalls of great power
politics. The Unites States is the world's only superpower, and is seeking to use
little brother Philippines to gain big leverage in its relations with China. If
Washington fails to understand the feelings of China's people in an effort at achieving
the selfish gratification of its own interests, which now looks like a salient
element of its new policy in Asia, it will sooner or later be strangled by it like
a snake around its prey.
Hagel is a new face in the court of Chinese public
opinion. All that people have seen or heard of him were when he was in Japan
uttering "very harsh" words. So he needs to provide an explanation to
the Chinese public, even if only to demonstrate that America really is taking a
hard line toward China.