From remote Himalayan valleys to small tropical islands and tense Western capitals, an increasingly assertive China is taking on conflicts around the world like never before as the United States retreats.
China’s imposition this week of a controversial security law in Hong Kong, defying a barrage of criticism from the West, offered another example of its rising confidence as a global superpower.
The confrontations are seen as part of President Xi Jinping’s nationalist drive to return a once-weak China to its rightful place of dominance in the world and shed past strategies of discreet diplomacy.
They also come as US President Donald Trump alienates allies with his America First policies and riles China with a trade war.
“There is a sense that the time has come for China to claim its spot under the sun,” said Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
That means meeting the call by Xi to “unsheathe the sword,” Tsang said.
India TV News Desk
Updated on: June 26, 2020 11:45 IST
The border clash between the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)…is not the only border dispute China has.
China has border disputes with 18 countries that surround China from all sides.
China’s Border Disputes
- Japan — Parts of South China Sea particularly Senkaku Islands, Ryukyu Islands are claimed by Japan and both countries are at loggerheads with this boundary issue
- Vietnam — China claims large parts of Vietnam on historical precedent (Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644). Also, Macclesfield Bank, Paracel Islands, parts of the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands.
- India — China occupies 38,000 sq km Indian territory that goes by the name Aksai Chin. It also stakes claim on Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. It was this expansionist policy that led to the recent clashes between the PLA and the Indian Army.
- Nepal — China claims parts of Nepal dating back to the Sino-Nepalese War in 1788-1792. China claims they are part of Tibet, therefore part of China.
- North Korea — Baekdu Mountain and Jiandao. China has also on occasion claimed all of North Korea on historical grounds (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368).
- The Philippines — Parts of the South China Sea are contested between the two countries. The Philippines took this to the International Court of Justice, where they won the case but Chinese did not abide by the order of the ICJ.
- Russia — 160,000 square kilometers still unilaterally claimed by China, despite China signing several agreements.
- Singapore — Parts of the South China Sea are contested by both countries.
- South Korea — Parts of the East China Sea. China has also on occasion claimed all of South Korea on historical grounds (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368).
- Bhutan — Bhutanese enclaves in Tibet, namely Cherkip Gompa, Dho, Dungmar, Gesur, Gezon, Itse Gompa, Khochar, Nyanri, Ringung, Sanmar, Tarchen and Zuthulphuk. Also Kula Kangri and mountainous areas to the west of this peak, plus the western Haa District of Bhutan.
- Taiwan — China claims all of Taiwan, but particular disputes are Macclesfi eld Bank, Paracel Islands, Scarborough Shoal, parts of the South China Sea and the Spratly Islands. The Paracel Islands, also called Xisha Islands in Vietnamese, is a group of islands in the South China Sea whose sovereignty is disputed among China, Taiwan and Vietnam disputes with Burma.
- Laos — China claims large areas of Laos on historical precedent (China’s Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368).
- Brunei — Over Spratly Islands.
- Tajikistan — Chinese claims based on historical precedent (Qing Dynasty, 1644-1912).
- Cambodia — China has, on occasion, claimed parts of Cambodia on historical precedent (China’s Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644).
- Indonesia — Parts of the South China Sea.
- Malaysia — Over Parts of the South China Sea, particularly the Spratly Islands.
- Mongolia — China claims all of Mongolia on historical precedent (Yuan Dynasty, 1271-1368). In fact, Mongolia, under Genghis Khan, occupied China.
Commentary: Is this the end of China’s peaceful rise?
China’s latest military stand-off with India suggests that it wants to demonstrate its power to the world, says Shashi Tharoor.
15 Jun 2020 06:06AM (Updated: 15 Jun 2020 07:48AM)
NEW DELHI: COVID-19 isn’t the only threat that has crossed India’s borders this year.
According to alarming reports from India’s defence ministry, China has deployed a “significant number” of troops across the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) along the countries’ Himalayan frontier.
But this time is different. Chinese troops have reportedly advanced into territories that China itself traditionally considers to be on the Indian side of the divide.
And rather than merely patrolling, they have established a fixed presence with pitched tents, concrete structures and several miles of road well beyond China’s own “Claim Line,” occupying the “Finger Heights” near Pangong Tso Lake.
This time, India has every reason to interpret China’s incursion as direct aggression.
THIS TIME IT’S DIFFERENT
True, the Doklam standoff ended with a Chinese climb-down, as did a similar episode in the same part of Ladakh during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first visit to India in 2014.
But the China of 2020 is stronger, more assertive and eager to throw its weight around in a new era of Sino-American “decoupling.” It will be less inclined to withdraw unilaterally this time.
Still, the world is taking notice. Recent statements by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russia both expressed growing concern, despite Chinese officials’ statement that the situation is “overall stable and controllable.”
But the problem is not that China is planning an all-out war or a major military campaign.
Rather, it is using “salami tactics”: Minor military incursions that inflict small-scale military setbacks on India. Most likely, the Chinese will occupy a few square kilometres of territory for “defensive” purposes, and then declare peace.
This approach is nothing new, and it poses a test of India’s resolve.
Because India’s government cannot afford to take China’s latest aggression lying down, it is reportedly already preparing for a long stand-off.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist regime, especially, cannot risk losing face before India’s easily inflamed public.
But even under a different government, India would have a strong interest in proving to would-be aggressors – not least Pakistan – that it is no pushover.
To be sure, China may argue that it was provoked by India’s infrastructure construction along the LAC. But these projects are long overdue.
The India-China relationship is nothing if not complicated. The wounds of the 1962 war never healed, yet annual bilateral trade has grown to almost US$100 billion, albeit overwhelmingly in China’s favour.
Moreover, China uses its alliance with Pakistan to needle, distract, and confine India within its own sub-region.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, one of the crown jewels of Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative, runs through portions of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir that even China acknowledges as disputed territory.
China also continues to reiterate its claims to Indian territory directly, particularly the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which it describes as “South Tibet.”
Against this backdrop, episodes like the current stand-off should be understood as part of a larger strategy of keeping India in check.
END OF CHINA’S PEACEFUL RISE
Indian foreign policy analysts understand this, warning that because the latest act of Chinese belligerence clearly marks a shift in the longstanding status quo at the border, it augurs the end of China’s self-proclaimed “peaceful rise.”
Under Xi, China seems much more willing to demonstrate openly that it is the region’s preponderant power.
By taking a tough stand on the Indian border, China hopes to show the world, especially the United States that it is not intimidated by Donald Trump’s bluster, and that other Asian countries should fall into line.
For now, Indian officials have announced that high-level military talks with China have produced an agreement that the two sides will “peacefully resolve the situation in the border areas in accordance with various bilateral agreements.”
But, as the stand-off has made clear, each side has a very different understanding of what those bilateral agreements mean. It remains to be seen whether China will actually withdraw its troops from the disputed areas. The devil, as always, is in the details.
Clearly, India and China need to finalise a permanent border agreement. China has long argued that a formal border settlement is best left to future generations, but that is because its geopolitical power – and therefore its negotiating position – grows stronger with each passing year.
China is betting that the longer a settlement is deferred, the more likely it is to get the border it wants. In the meantime, it will use limited acts of aggression along the LAC to keep India off balance.
Shashi Tharoor, a former UN under-secretary-general and former Indian Minister of State for External Affairs and Minister of State for Human Resource Development, is an MP for the Indian National Congress.
Chinese Armored Vehicles Conduct Massive Attack Drills to Prepare for Land War
By Kris Osborn – Warrior Maven
(Washington D.C.) The two-million-strong Chinese Army recently conducted massive attack drills, tested warfare scenarios and practiced combat maneuvers in a large wargame in Northwestern China, raising questions about the extent of the countries’ current preparation for a land war.
The mock-combat operations included day and nighttime “rapid assaults, live-fire strike tests, tactical training and weapons’ tests,” according to a June 9 report in the Chinese People’s Online Daily newspaper.
The exercise included land-attack maneuvers, paratroopers and full-scale war scenarios involving armored vehicles, artillery, mechanized infantry tactics and scout missions.
While the exercises are not likely to be viewed as surprising or unusual for China by Pentagon observers, these kinds of mechanized attack maneuvers, including some of China’s newest modern weapons and armored vehicles, are likely to raise some concerns regarding the land war threat presented by the communist country.
A 2020 assessment from GlobalFirepower estimates that the very large Chinese Army is comprised of as many as 2 million active-duty personnel and 510,000 in reserves, more than two-or-three times larger than the U.S. Army’s standing active force. The assessment also says the Chinese have 33,000 armored vehicles and 3,500 tanks. In addition, China is known to now operate several emerging, high-tech weapons platforms such as its VT5 Type 15 light tank. The VT5, first revealed publicly by China during a military parade last year, has been in development for many years. The roughly 35-ton armored vehicle is, at a cursory glance, comparable in some respects to the U.S. Army’s now-in-development Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle.