Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

The new generals in charge of China’s guns #China [BBC]

BBC makes a point that China’s new CMC leaders have a wholly different world view and set of life experiences. How would they express those difference on the world stage?

A noteworthy reminder too, that its armed forces swear allegiance to the party, and not the country. This means it cannot act unilaterally, and must remain one of the priorities of the new leadership. This covenant between party and military was set in place early on by Deng – it seems to remain intact today.

The bit about the black box has been somewhat cleared after Hu Jintao, at least on the surface, stated stepping down as CMC chairman during the 18th NPC.

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The new generals in charge of China’s guns
BBC
Source – BBC, published November 14, 2012

Photo source – AFP, 2012

As China’s ruling Communist Party prepares to hand power to a new generation of leaders, the BBC Beijing Bureau explains why changes at the top of the armed forces are also being closely watched.

China is ushering in a new generation of political leaders this week, as Communist Party leader Hu Jintao hands over power to successor Xi Jinping.

At the same time, a new group will take over the armed forces.

Amid a wave of retirements, at least seven new members will join China’s 11-member Central Military Commission (CMC), which oversees its armed forces – including the world’s largest standing army. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, military, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, , , , , , , , , , ,

[Singapore’s Lee Hsien-Loong in dialogue with senior Chinese party officials in Beijing] China ‘faces challenges within itself’ [Straits Times]

Greater China sphere: In China to affirm bilateral ties, Singapore’s prime minister left Beijing Friday September 7th after a six-day official visit. During his stay, he met with China’s top leaders Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao, Vice Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Wu Bangguo. On top of Beijing he also visited Sichuan Province to the southwest and Tianjin Municipality up north. Of course, the symbolic gesture has been the arrival of pandas from China as token making Singapore the seventh recipient of panda diplomacy.

Here’s a broad sweep of state media coverage on Lee’s visit.

Chinese state media

Xinhua – Chinese vice premier meets Singaporean PM (September 7, 2012)
Xinhua – China’s top legislator [Wu Bangguo] meets Singaporean PM (September 7, 2012)
China Daily – Premier Wen calls for further co-op with Singapore (September 6, 2012)
Global Times – Chinese premier calls for further cooperation with Singapore (September 7, 2012)
People’s Daily – repeated articles from Xinhua

Singapore state media
Straits Times – China ‘faces challenges within itself
Today Online – From economic ties to traffic management: PM Lee highlights how bilateral cooperation between China and Singapore has evolved at end of official visit

Facing west, however – A report by the two million-readership New Yorker (September 7, 2012) featured the headline Singaporean Tells China U.S. Is Not in Decline. It focused on the Singapore prime minister’s speech (first was in 2005) at the Central Party School under the theme “China and the World – Prospering and Progressing Together“.

BEIJING — In an unusual public airing of strategic problems surrounding China’s rise, the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, warned China on Thursday that it should view the United States not as a declining power, but as a nation with the ability to innovate and bounce back.

Is Singapore in a position to ‘warn‘ China? Many years ago, what Lee Kuan Yew had to say, Deng Xiaoping was stirred to listen.

But at best, it represented a scalable model where authoritarian capitalism (with some room for deliberation) could work in, albeit in a very finite space of just 600+km2. For twenty years since official ties were made the Chinese have been sending its mayors to Singapore for training That is probably one of the few valued contributions Singapore can provide in the mind of the Chinese. Further down the road, does the relationship between the younger Lee and China simply carry the same resonance? Perhaps what is lacking is the interpersonal relationship with key figures that his father had.

Indeed, the little red dot requires a myriad of interlocking regional strategic engagements to keep it safe – it has to stay ‘as neutral as possible’ despite its obvious Chinese-majority population and ruling class while providing the US naval support since the 60s.

Here is a link to the full speech here (in Chinese with the English translation)-
I think the NY Times does stir with fourth estate dyslexia by couching the speech as a warning.

A scan of the speech will reveal the overarching theme is interdependence and some pointers Lee Hsien-Loong sees as necessary bilateral Sino-US ingredients for a stable environment for Singapore to continue to thrive. With a minute domestic market dependent on imports for natural resources, Singapore’s ingredient for survival is to avoid and help manage conflict at all cost. So – Warning, it is not.

It hardly makes sense for Singapore to stand up to, for there is little strategic leverage in, ‘warning’ China. It understands China’s position as it shares cultural traits and arguably a lasting one-party model (China’s from 1949, Singapore’s from 1965). However, by tapping on memories of its long history of western education since 1819, the Singaporean perspective can offer useful pointers on keeping an East-West equilibrium for the region.

Thoughtful Americans, both Democrat and Republican, also understand that any attempt to contain China is doomed to fail. US-China relations in the 21st century cannot be compared to ties between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Trade between the US and Soviet Union was negligible, and nuclear deterrence was the primary stabilising factor. Today, China and the US are profoundly intertwined, and their relationship is stabilised by mutual economic dependence. The US cannot hold China back without hurting itself at the same time. Neither would European or Asian countries join such a misguided effort to contain China. My Foreign Minister stated this view clearly in a widely reported speech in Washington earlier this year, a view which many American officials accepted. Ultimately, both China and the US must develop a new modus vivendi that reflects current realities and benefits both sides.  Lee Hsien-Loong, at the Central Party School

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China ‘faces challenges within itself’
This is an excerpt from a transcript of a dialogue Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had with senior Chinese party officials at the Central Party School in Beijing on Thursday.
Source – Straits Times, published September 8, 2012

China and Singapore started the Tianjin Eco-City project in 2007. PM Lee said Singapore would like its cooperation with China ”to develop into new areas which are relevant to both sides as our societies change”. — ST PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG

Bilateral ties between China and Singapore are good, but both countries have differing views on some important regional and global issues. How do you think we can communicate and work better on these issues? How do you see the relationship between Singapore and China going forward?

PM Lee: China is a big country growing rapidly. Singapore is a small country also seeking to prosper in Asia. We wish Asia to be stable, and the region to be open and prosperous together.

Nobody wants to see a conflict in the South China Sea, but our position cannot be the same as China’s position simply because China is a claimant-state. Singapore is not a claimant-state. Therefore Singapore cannot take sides or judge the merits of the different claims to the South China Sea. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Channel News Asia, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Confucius, Culture, Domestic Growth, East China Sea, Economics, Environment, Finance, global times, Government & Policy, Greater China, Hu Jintao, Influence, International Relations, Media, New York Times, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Singapore, Soft Power, South China Sea, Straits Times, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S., , , , , , , , , ,

Commentary: U.S. needs to behave itself over South China Sea [Xinhua]

Strong words are the order of the day as China responds to US concerns over the establishment of Sansha city and garrison . It looks past the point of mincing words as this state media commentary sees China chiding the US for provocation and stoking antagonism. Perhaps strategically, proxy war at doorstep 2.0 a la Taiwan  is not a scenario the Chinese understandably want repeated.

The other narrative is China simply reasserting its history. Whether this is the result of misdirection or otherwise, it is hard to tell. Despite contention over its own interpretation of historical maps as  a self serving narrative (see China and the map if the nine dotted lines), its unwavering tone reinforces its disdain to those who disrupt what it sees as a domestic, regional affair in the resource and trade wind flashpoint.

What is the subtext here? ‘When an outsider attempts to make bigger waves, he is probably already on the beach waiting to pick up what will wash to shore.’

Official foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang 秦刚:

The U.S. side should follow the trend of the times, respect the common aspiration of countries in the region to maintain peace and stability and promote development, respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and make more contributions to the peace and prosperity of the Asia Pacific. Source – China strongly opposes U.S. State Department’s statement on South China Sea: FM spokesman (Xinhua, August 4, 2012)

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Commentary: U.S. needs to behave itself over South China Sea
Editor: Mo Hong’e
Source – Xinhua, published August 4, 2012

BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) — The United States on Friday voiced concerns about rising tensions over South China Sea, and cited China’s establishment of Sansha city and garrison to single Beijing out for criticism.

As South China Sea is of strategic importance to global trade, any increase of instability in this body of water naturally triggers worldwide attention.

But it is pure common sense that volatile situations demand caution and discretion. When an outsider attempts to make bigger waves, he is probably already on the beach waiting to pick up what will wash ashore. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Asia Pacific, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, military, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, South China Sea, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , ,

China and the map of nine dotted lines [Straits Times]

China’s behaviour toward actors in the South China Sea certainly go contrary against their peaceful development rhetoric. And it seems categorising their territorial disputes as domestic affairs has become fashionable. This comes in from Singapore’s Straits Times as we turn the pages of history with Wang Gungwu who looks at how the Chinese in a sense, did not feel the need for naval superiority in the open seas, until recently.

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China and the map of nine dotted lines
by Wang Gungwu for the Straits Times
Source – Straits Times, published July 11, 2012

THERE has been much debate about the Chinese map of the South China Sea with its nine dotted lines denoting an area where China believes it has legitimate claims. How these lines came about has been a subject of much speculation.

What is clear is that the lines marking Chinese interests were drawn after World War II when Nationalist China saw the end of Japanese naval power and watched the Western imperial powers leaving the region or being forced to decolonise. After 1949, the successor state, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), retained the map to show its territorial limits.

During the Cold War that followed, moves were made by new states in the region to register territorial claims, but the Chinese map seemed to have aroused little international interest. Far greater matters of how the world was to be divided were at stake. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: ASEAN, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Map, Mapping Feelings, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Philippines, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, South China Sea, Strategy, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , ,

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