As the Chinese and the Americans sat down for the seventh of their annual two-day meeting [June 22-24], set up in 2009 to maintain bilateral cooperation despite growing differences, a major transformation of the Chinese regime was a new and worrying factor.
With growing criticism of the Obama Administration’s China strategy from the Congress, Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, has said the U.S. agenda would include:
- Differences over the South China Sea,
- Cyber security and
- Human rights.
American-Chinese differences are growing in all these areas. A recent Beijing public statement on its construction of military-capable bases on shoals hundreds of miles south of Mainland China flatly rejected American and Southeast Asian countries’ protests.
Massive cyber attacks within the last two weeks against the Office of Personnel Management are believed in professional IT quarters to be the work of the Chinese, whom the U.S. named in similar attacks last year.
Official Chinese documents are now calling publicly for a further integration of military strategic concepts in all infrastructure expansion and the direction of civilian enterprises.
What apparently is intended, is along with the other signs of a return to the Maoist era with old rhetoric and new repression, a return to earlier days when the Communist Party and its People’s Liberation Army leadership were identical.
Xi reportedly already relies [rather than career foreign ministry officials] on the Communist Party’s Central Leading Group on Foreign Affairs, containing many “princeling generals”, offspring of Party leaders who though not all soldiers have served as military officials, for day to day advice on foreign policy.
There is speculation among China-watchers that all this has led over the past two years to such aggressive stances as Beijing’s announcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea, planting oil rigs within Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone and the construction of airstrips in the Spratly Islands off the Philippines and Vietnam.
If these moves are considered with a rapidly improving military technology, especially on the sea — including a call in the same white paper for undisclosed increases in China’s military reserves — the public statements from military figures in the controlled media calling for China’s adherence to the military’s “charismatic culture”, the specter of an increasingly militarized China becomes more than worrisome and must take first place in any American strategy to deal with “a rising China”.
Full article: The militarization of a China its rulers want you to think is just a peaceful, growing economy (World Tribune)