China Takes to the Blue Water

China Takes to the Blue WaterThe recent well-publicized venture by China’s first and so far only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning outside of its familiar coastal waters into the western Pacific and off the coast of Taiwan, is a signal event in China’s ambition to field a true blue-water navy.  When China’s navy looks beyond its coastal waters, which it increasingly…

Malaysia’s Najib Tilts to China

Malaysia’s Najib Tilts to ChinaChina’s gift for buying foreign political leaders has scored another triumph with the visit to Beijing of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose ingratiating tone of remarks in China at least give the impression that Malaysia’s foreign policy has veered farther away from its traditional informal alliance with the US.  In the end that may…

China Turns the East Red

China Turns the East RedAt the height of the Cultural Revolution, “The East is Red” became the de facto national anthem of the People’s Republic of China. The composer, reportedly a farmer from Shaanxi province, had, of course, no way of knowing that his song was in fact a harbinger of things to come.  Some 50-something years later, “The…

The Naming of Seas is a Practical Matter

The Naming of Seas is a Practical MatterTwo centuries or more of western domination of much of the world has not only redrawn the global political maps but in many cases determined place names. If that seems arcane, it is not. It was western powers that named the South China Sea, for instance. It is a name that China is now using…

Claiming Dominance, China Sheds Pretense of Peaceful Rise

Claiming Dominance, China Sheds Pretense of Peaceful RiseThere was a time when China tried hard to convince the world its rise is peaceful. That pretense was abandoned seven years ago when in the wake of Great Recession China thought its time had come to claim its place as controlling "all under heaven," or tianxia in Asia. Like all great powers in history, China's emergence…

Arms Race Threatened on India-China border

Arms Race Threatened on India-China borderNew Delhi's decision to deploy the BrahMos supersonic missile – the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, which can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound – in the disputed northeast state of Arunachal, has left its rival and neighbor fuming as big-power tensions flare between China and India.  Within days of the announcement by…

Tension Grows Between Japan and China over Islets

Tension Grows Between Japan and China over IsletsTokyo has delivered a humiliating public protest to China’s ambassador for the intrusion of a vast “fishing fleet” escorted by a dozen coast guard and other law-enforcement vessels in or near waters of the disputed Senkaku islands, known as the Daioyus to the Chinese. Such protests are common in the ongoing cat and mouse game…

More Fake Soft Power for China

More Fake Soft Power for China“Asia-Pacific Institute of International Law.” Here surely is a weighty institution whose members include leading lawyers from around the Asia-Pacific region, from China to Canada, Melbourne to Manila ready to offer a forum for discussion of issues such as the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea and its application in the region. Well,…

Proxy War Between China Leaders Enmeshes Hong Kong Publishers

Proxy War Between China Leaders Enmeshes Hong Kong PublishersDespite the 1997 promise that China would leave Hong Kong alone for 50 years, Beijing in recent months has extended a harsh crackdown on freedom of speech in the supposedly autonomous region, now handing down convictions and prison sentences to the editor and publisher respectively of two Hong Kong magazines as well as an editorial…

China May Try Cash to Buy Off Philippines

China May Try Cash to Buy Off PhilippinesThe Philippines may have handsomely won its case over the South China Sea at the Court of Arbitration, but the battle between the power of Chinese money and the Philippines' national interests has a long way to run. Politicians everywhere are susceptible to the prospect of short-term gains for themselves or their voters, and no…