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  • Jul 31, 2014
  • Updated: 2:18pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 4:27am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 4:27am

Security, not power, is Beijing's goal in air defence zone dispute

"The gains from control over a few uninhabited rocks are vastly outweighed by the risks."

Here's a comment by a respected British commentator that perfectly summarises the bafflement of outsiders about China's territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. Face, nationalism, historical grievances, anti-Americanism, anti-Japanese sentiments, regional dominance or hegemony ... Critics have marshalled one or more of these elements to explain China's behaviour. Or, China is Germany 1914 all over again. Funny how no one ever cited Bismarck's unified Germany after 1870, whose diplomacy secured European peace for a generation.

To a disinterested observer, all those China "explanations" must seem unconvincing or unsatisfying. First, is Beijing staking its foreign policy on nationalist feelings over the Diaoyu Islands? Or is it the other way around: the nationalist/historical issue over the Diaoyus is only part of an overall foreign policy - but doesn't drive or explain it? One thing you know for sure is that imposing an "air defence identification zone" that includes the Diaoyus is not an ad hoc, one- step-at-a-time dumb chess move. It's part of an overall strategic conception with its own goal, purpose and rationale.

Let's start with the Hobbesian thesis: every country feels threatened or insecure; China especially so. Despite its new-found wealth, its military can't fight overseas other than invading Taiwan. Its shipping and supply lanes are patrolled by a powerful rival, the US, and it's encircled geographically by countries allied to the US. Its hold on Tibet and Xinjiang are constantly challenged. It can buy client states in Africa and Latin America but has no genuine defence allies. The overwhelming foreign policy goal of Beijing is therefore not dominance but security. Within this framework, sometimes it goes along with other world powers, such as over Iran's and North Korea's nuclear ambitions; sometimes it provokes them, such as with the air defence zone. Sometimes, it just miscalculates. So is China a status quo or revisionist power? The best answer is: it doesn't want to overthrow the US-led international security and economic architecture, but demands adjustments within it.


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Sovereignty is a two way street. Someone has to assert it, then others have to recognize and accept it. Clearly, with these islands, that's not happening soon, in any/either direction. Yes, Japan moved the needle somewhat by "nationalizing" the islands, but that hardly equates to sovereignty since nobody recognizes and accepts Japan's claim. Did people feel that, prior to this ADIZ, China had relinquished her claim to those islands? If not, then how far does this ADIZ move the needle? And remember, on a literal level, this ADIZ doesn't confer ownership of the airspace, let alone the surface topography. So what does it accomplish, apart from telling us what we already know?
And what does security have to do with it? Seriously, an airspace with a funny-angled perimeter increases Chinese security? How? Like I said, all the other stuff is just window dressing and a waste of time, +/- some amusing exercise for nationalist hotheads to get their jollies. The ultimate objective is still oil and gas, and the answer still lies in cooperative exploration.
But anyway, you're on a roll. Two posts in a row with some actual discernible content. And I'm not the one around here with difficulty recognizing and acknowledging limitations. You must still be in denial if you think otherwise.
While China and the US both recognize Diaoyus’ sovereignty dispute
China long tolerated without prejudice what used to be
Japan’s de facto control over Diaoyus
China considers sovereignty non-negotiable
but sovereignty disputes won’t undermine the possibility
of the disputants ’ cooperation in developing the islands’ resources
That was until Japan unilaterally revoked prior agreement
and “nationalized” the disputed territories
One mustn’t overlook how China has peacefully settled
all its land boundaries with neighboring countries
with the exception of two isolated regions in S Himalayas
for which background one should refer to
Neville Maxwell’s India’s China War
For Biden’s recent visit to Beijing
Taiwan publicly disclosed what the well-informed had known
in Japan’s unilaterally declared ADIZ Japanese fighters for the past decade
have frequently harassed regular civilian airlines that have reported flight plans
using civilian airliners for practice
Japan the defeated invaders
has initiated open violation of the terms
agreed at Cairo and Potsdam
the foundation of peace post WWII
Wow, Pierce m'boy! Well done! This must be a first. You actually have made something that remotely resembles an argument, rather than your usual useless verbiage and loose associations. This is progress, and cause for celebration. I will duly note the date and time for future reference of what might be possible for you when you apply yourself.
How does this ADIZ reinforce CHina's sovereignty claim over the islands? After all, they have been in the Japanese ADIZ for some time, and that hasn't bolstered her sovereignty claim over those same islands.
And what of Mr. Lo's "security" argument nonsense? You seemed to think that was da bomb earlier. You haven't mentioned how this new ADIZ supposedly bolsters Chinese "security".
I actually agree with you that territorial disputes over "sovereignty" needn't interfere with cooperative development of resources. This is why this whole thing is needless silliness on both (or all 3, depending on personal preferences) sides. Forget about who owns a couple of rocks in the ocean, and just get on with jointly exploiting the real reason for their significance. That's what I've been saying all along.
An extremely shallow conclusion, Alex, and against the facts, which should be taken at face value.
China is pushing for maritime expension to extend its territorial waters into areas where it can grab all the oil, fish and other natural resources for itself and position itself for military, economic and political dominance of East Asia and the Western Pacific, period.
All the drum banging nationalism, megaphone propaganda and dredging up Chinese anti foreign sentiments are simply among the unscrupulous tactics being used.
Some kind HK primary student with the patience
may teach you
(1) about scientific explanations
then perhaps you might understand
the relation between sunrise and co ck crow
(2) about the maths
that reveals you as 66?
I want to stay with Borelli
for cultural vanity
but you prefer pedestrian Damian
and it seems more descriptive
No one would be too surprised
that you opt for 666
Obfuscation, thy name is Pierce m'boy. It's also the name for most CCP apologists. Maybe it should become a middle name so as not to confuse identification purposes.
Yeah, get called out and don't acknowledge it...that's SOP for folks like you. Seen it many times before.
I'm glad you gave up referencing scientific theories and discussing logical fallacies. They are clearly beyond your grasp, and you really should stick with what you know...with the exception that you should actually avoid using logical fallacies. Good luck with that.
Borelli exposed as 66? and exorcised
let’s backtrack to the last forum
ko Borelli there to show 66? as nothing
but ignorant hypocrite mumbling nonsense
and dissipate the dull specter
(AL “Public nomination …” Nov 25)
The moron begged “evidence” for predictive opinion
but failed to show “evidence” for his world bank irrelevance
Airhead worships “informal logic”
but childishly fixated on his infantile formula
Babykick is ignorant about what he doesn’t have
unaware of common sense
naive about “friends”
四海之內 皆兄弟也
Cameron’s first Sina Weibo posting
began with “Hello my friends in China”
Borelli preaches concise writing but indulges in verbosity
The hypocrite once held high a torch against ad hominem
which has now become his only hobby
Confucian quotes have exposed Brelli a total failure
like exorcism chants 66?’s anxieties surged and he snapped
seeking shelter from shame in uncontrollable laughter
It may take a while for that slow learner to recognize his own bankruptcy
if he returns a normal person who knows his limitations
we may take some credit
As my final gesture of kindness to the hypocrite
I'd leave him moaning in the well
without dropping a stone
to break this pest
More useless verbiage. I'm amused you feel the need to rehash stuff from another thread, of course without a grasp of the specifics or any appreciation for relevance, context, and applicability. You truly are a pathetic specimen, even among the learned cohort of CCP apologists. BTW, double-six is just a number. If you're going to use a reference, it's triple-six you're looking for. This is what it's come to for Pierce m'boy...he needs help to get his own smack-talk right.
Theories need to be proven with evidence. That's how it works in science. Obviously, that's too profound a concept for you. How does one "show evidence for ...world bank" data...if anything, the data was the "evidence". You barely know which way is up anymore, such is the sorry state of that mush between your ears. And as usual, those who understand informal logic the least are the most eager to belittle it. Pierce m'boy here is exhibit A of the decrepit extreme of human nature...hopefully something natural selection can correct in due course.
You're equating your 'internet friends' with Cameron's expression of friendship? You really are pathetic beyond words. Btw, my raking you over the coals is not an ad hominem. I don't think your argument is stupid simply because you're stupid; you don't have an argument, and I just think you're stupid. There's a big difference, but of course you'll be too stupid to grasp it. Oh well.
Do write again. You amuse me, and that's your purpose in life.
Security from what or from whom? Is there someone getting ready to attack China? Or are the billions being spent to strengthen the country's military in order to support China's expansionary policies?
Hear, hear!
Again the disoriented old fool whines “Pierce m’boy”
mistaking Heron’s “a potential motivating factor”
as THE only factor
and the referred article’s “not simply a question”
as the ONLY question
In addition to cognitive confusion
there are symptoms of reality denial and schizophrenia
avoiding factual agreements at Cairo, Potsdam, …
indulging in the opposites of what he preaches
To save himself from argumentative bankruptcy
from champion of logical simplicity for intellectuality
and crusader against adhom
66? has become nothing but irrelevant prolixity and adhom
Is mogician a status of Borelli or are they different persons?
Probably just the incarnation of 66 man u a low-ranking devil
working in a factory of disinformation




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