Tuesday, December 22, 2020

"Why China prefers to maintain inflamed borders"

From Asia Times, November 18:

China has border disputes with nearly 20 neighbors but the conflicts are usually more about leverage than territory 

CHIANG MAI – Months after Indian and Chinese troops clashed along a disputed border in the western Himalayas, both sides have now dug in for a long cold snowy winter standoff.

New Delhi and Beijing may be working on what at least the Indians have referred to as “mutual troops disengagement” along what’s not actually a border but rather a line of control, but even that non-legal military demarcation is a matter of dispute.

China and India fought a bitter 1962 border war not only in the western but also eastern Himalayas, where overlapping territorial claims involve even larger areas than those that were the scene of this June’s hostilities, which cost the lives of at least 20 Indian and a still unknown number of Chinese soldiers.

But the question is whether China is really looking for a solution to that long-standing and often bitter border dispute, or if maintaining fuzzy borders is a deliberate tool in Beijing’s foreign policy to negotiate better terms on trade, security and other issues with its neighbors.

China has or recently had disputes over borders and border-related issues such as refugees and insurgencies with nearly all of the more than 20 countries with which it shares land or maritime boundaries.

From contested Himalayan peaks to disputed waters in the South China Sea, China’s borders have appeared to become more tumultuous coincident with its recent fast rise from a developing world backwater to a superpower competing for global influence with the United States.

But while China’s many contested border areas may appear to have become more inflamed coincident with its rising global ambitions, the reality is that Beijing has long stoked and sustained borderland disputes as a tactic to win concessions on wider issues with its neighbors.

Those issues are now arguably most acute with nuclear-armed India, as the two Asian giants take opposite sides in an emerging New Cold War....


As noted in the introduction to "China’s plans for gigantic Brahmaputra dam strains relations with India further":
China just keeps pushing and pushing in all directions and I'm not sure why the Chinese Communist Party decided now is the time....

Watching Xi and the politburo vs Hong Kong, and then Australia tells you all you need to know.
These guys are playing for keeps and as soon as they sense they have an advantage they strike with speed and brutality.