• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 6:31am

Neighbours worried China will copy Russia's annexation of Crimea, US aide says

Armed forces chief airs worries over regional defence spending and disputed islands

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 10:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 April, 2014, 5:14pm

China's neighbours are worried that Russia's annexation of Crimea might serve as a precedent for Beijing, assistant secretary of state Daniel Russel told US Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday.

But Russel voiced confidence that the global response to Russia's move would have a "chilling effect" that deters China from contemplating similar action.

Since Russia seized Crimea last month, US lawmakers and Asian diplomats have asked about the message sent to an increasingly confident China - especially with regard to Taiwan, which is claimed by Beijing.

Russel, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said that sanctions imposed on Russia were being watched by China.

"It is fair to say... that the extent of Chinese interdependence in economic terms with the United States and with its Asian neighbours is such that the prospect of the kind of incremental retaliatory steps that are gradually being imposed on Russia... should have a chilling effect on anyone in China who might contemplate the Crimea annexation as a model," Russel said.

Russel also pointed to effects on Beijing's neighbours, saying that "tolerance in the region for steps by China that appear to presage a more muscular approach has gone down" due to alarm over the Crimea annexation.

Republican critics of President Barack Obama have charged that US credibility is on the line over Crimea, which had longstanding links with Russia.

"I would venture to guess that the similarities for the Taiwanese [are] pretty striking," said Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican.

Meanwhile Indonesia's military said it is concerned that a rebalancing of power in the Asia-Pacific is driving an arms race and that increasing territorial disputes could trigger conflict.

"We are definitely worried because there is a trend happening in the region right now and that is an arms race, between Asean countries themselves and between major powers," Military commander Moeldoko said.

Moeldoko, who like many Indonesians is known by only one name, said it was important that what he called a rebalancing of power in Asia as well as efforts by the United States to step up its military presence in the region did not create "provocations".

He also said the Indonesian military was constantly assessing the risk to the country's oil- and gas-rich Natuna Islands close to an area of the South China Sea claimed by China but insisted that Jakarta remained neutral in the conflicting claims over sovereignty in the region.

Additional reporting by Reuters


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This article is now closed to comments

Thoughts on the article:
1. i don't think the article represents any inherent political bias at SCMP against China. Compared to most dailies in the US (as an example), SCMP is more neural, relatively speaking, and tends to give equal exposure to news or sources that are pro or against China. (The biggest dailies in the US tend to adopt either a pro-Repiblican or pro-Democrat agenda.) SCMP's individual journalists do clearly have their political biases but I haven't seen a systematic bias in the overall posture of the paper.
2. From the article, Moeldoko was not verbalising so much a concern with China following Russia's footsteps; it was more an escalation of risk for miscalculation and conflict he was concerned about - it implies China was not the only side that's a potential cause of any flashpoint.
3. Russel (i.e. the US) is just playing up the politics; the usual playground bully. (And it's not even a playground in their neighbourhood.)
IMO, this is not good journalism
"China's neighbours are worried that Russia's annexation of Crimea might serve as a precedent for Beijing".
Which neighbours? I can only count one in the story, which is Indonesia, but even Moeldoko insisted that " Jakarta remained neutral in the conflicting claims over sovereignty in the region."
IS SCMP using the sub-standard story from Agence France-Presse just to "fill the page"?
Daniel Russel is just using the Crimea incident to create tensions in the region. Politics as usual.
Besides, Crimea was once part of Russia and was given to Ukraine by Khrushchev back in 1954.
This article is syndicated from AFP. It doesn't necessarily represent SCMP's view. I may be wrong, but I think it's just SCMP's policy to syndicate articles from third party news sources (for reasons of praticality, resourcing and/or cost) regardless of any inherent bias in the original article so as to present all views.
Agree, but IMO, SCMP has the duty to make sure articles published (regardless whether leaning right, left or neutral) are not sub-par. When the word neighbours is used, then there should be at least 2 or more.
Crimea voted in a referendum to join Russia is in conformity with International law as 97% turned out. Moldova with no referendum election and yet supported by the Western Leader, and those Western leaders sopported it. So, what kind of demoncracy was that?!
China is a peaceful country and for the past several hundreds of years attacked by many countries including American and Britian but the most aggressive is still the Japanese . Lost of innocence lives is unaccountable yet your unwise statement can only to your own motives on China. Making it look bad for your own gain.
Totally biases.
Max Diethelm
Crimea voted democratically to join Russia. Did the US allowed Hawaii to vote when the US seized Hawaii? The US invaded Iraq after lying about WMD. The US does not have any credibility.
Totally agreed. They just make things worse and for no apparent reasons.


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