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  • Questions of Sovereignty on China’s National Day

    On the 61st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), China’s borders appear to be under more pressure than at any time since the end of the Cold War. This is not because of external threats to China, but due to greater Chinese assertiveness in various territorial disputes. Consequently, as the dust settles from the recent Sino-Japanese confrontation over the Senkakus islands, decision-makers throughout Asia are assessing prospects for the future.

    For both China’s Asian neighbors and the United States, this pricklier and more aggressive approach to border disputes is troubling. Chinese decision makers appear to have concluded that its combination of greater economic wherewithal and growing military capability allow Beijing to dictate the resolution of border disputes in its own favor.

    This Chinese approach clearly ignores the equities of its neighbors. Just as important given the array of U.S. alliances in the region, it raises the potential for U.S.-Chinese confrontation—Note the various U.S. declarations of support for Japan in the Senkakus dispute.

    The United States is therefore confronted with the unenviable task of signaling to Beijing that its widening territorial claims are destabilizing, while still maintaining good relations with the PRC. This entails balancing the demands of reassuring allies, maintaining regional stability, and preserving a working relationship with China. Through it all, the U.S. must remain consistent, committed, and clear in our policies.

    One can only hope that all the region’s leaders are successful in peaceably resolving these knotty problems, lest the Senkakus and the Spratlys be associated in future years with other historic flashpoints such as the Sudetenland or Strasbourg.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Questions of Sovereignty on China’s National Day

    1. John, USA says:

      Widening territorial claims?

      As a veteran watch of China's claims on Diaoyutai/Senkaku, Spratly/Paracel disputes for the last 10 years, China has not widened it's territorial claims.

      America's intervention in Spratly/Paracel/South China seas disputes is provocative to say the least and unusual.

      America's use of Japan as a proxy to issue an unusually strong stance on Diaoyutai/Senkaku is provocative to say the least.

      China is not a bully?

      If China is a bully, then what the is the United States…

      Satan himself.

    2. Wong, US says:

      For all those who are suddenly surprised by China's new assertiveness to border disputes, they only need to look at the pre-WW2 history books. One prevalent view is that China's "civilized" (soft) responses to incidences like these were what led to the eventual full scale invasion by Japan. Although it may seem like a much too emotional reaction to the historic events, it is at least an understandable one.

    3. Tim, USA says:

      You are calling black white.

      The dispute on Diaoyu Islands are well-known and the Japanese never before resorted to arrest the fishermen but chased them away.

      So it is Japan who "ignores the equities of its neighbors."

    4. Spiritof76, NH says:

      This is another fairy tale about the prowess of the US. The current reality is that the US is nearly bankrupt and the Chinese (PRC) are her top creditor. With no end in sight to curb her spending beyond her means, the US is miltarily a paper tiger. Look at her stupid military rules of engagement which celebrates restraint in a war theater in Afghanistan. What will the US do if China decides to simply change the government in Taiwan? The answer is nothing. N.Korea sank a S.Korean ship with torpedos- a military provocation. What did the US do? Nothing. Stop living in the past.

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