A Ring of Fire Around China (II)

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – Berlin’s main think tank for military policy has announced “war game exercises” for military confrontations with China. This year’s “Trier China-Dialogue,” to be convened in Berlin at the beginning of June by the Federal College for Security Studies, will focus on analyzing the “combat capabilities” of the Chinese armed forces. The forum will be concluded with two “hypothetical practical tests,” to learn whether the Peoples Republic of China’s military can “take over” and “hold onto” Taiwan or islands in the South China Sea. The conflict with Taiwan, as well as that over various islands in the South China Sea, impinges upon China’s vital interests. In both cases, the USA has adopted the position of China’s adversary as its own, therefore, in the case of armed conflict, NATO – and therefore, the rest of the West – could become directly involved. A supplementary objective for the “war game exercises” is the West’s rapidly expanding military presence in east and Southeast Asia. In the wake of the stationing of US troops, Germany is also strengthening its military cooperation with China’s potential adversaries in Southeast Asia and intensifying arms exports into the region.

China’s Fighting Power

The Federal College for Security Studies (BAKS) has announced its next “Trier China-Dialogue” to be held June 6. This will be the third time – following 2009 and 2011. The name is derived from cooperation between BAKS and the former junior political science professor at the University of Trier, Martin Wagener, who, last October, has transferred to the Federal University of Applied Administrative Sciences in Munich. Wagener is considered an East Asia specialist and will participate also this year in the symposium, which is co-parented by the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Trier University’s Political Science Alumni Association. The theme of the symposium is: “Fighting Power: How Capable is China’s Armed Forces?”

China’s Objectives

Back in 2010, the East Asia specialist Martin Wagener described the main features of the Chinese military strategy, wherein the function of the Chinese armed forces is to protect the “vital interests” of the People’s Republic – above all, its territorial integrity. This concerns particularly its regions, such as Tibet or the West Chinese Xinjiang province. The military must also be able to ward off eventual aggression against them, as against the former European colonies of Hong Kong and Macao. For Beijing, the question of territorial defense is at issue in the Taiwan question, as well as in disputes over islands in the South and East China Seas, being claimed by various other countries. In 2010, Wagener also explained that Beijing places emphasis on being able to “protect and maintain the autonomy of China’s maritime routes,” including passage via the Straits of Malacca, through which a large portion of its trade with Europe, the Middle East and Africa transits.[2] For years, observers have pointed out that the People’s Republic of China has been promoting the construction of ports along the Indian Ocean coastline (the “String of Pearls Strategy” [3]) to protect its maritime routes. According to Wagener, this strategy also has the objective of “militarily deterring the USA.”[4] A while back, Washington proclaimed its “Pacific Century,” and within its framework, began increasingly orienting its military engagement toward East Asia – from China’s perspective, clearly a threat. This is understandable also in light of repeated discussions in the establishment in Washington of the possibility of going to war with the People’s Republic of China.[5]

Full article: A Ring of Fire Around China (II) (German Foreign Policy)

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