GWADAR: CAN INDIA CHECKMATE CHINA?
Director (Research), Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi
Pakistan’s decision to hand over commercial operations at the Gwadar port to the Chinese Overseas Port Holdings, a state-owned company, does not come as a surprise. Interestingly, for some, it was a deliberate and a ‘smart ploy’; first bring in a foreign operator like the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) and award it port management and development contract for 40 years; dispel the ‘China threat’ and the oft stated Gwadar as a post in the ‘string of pearls’ strategy; and then, at an opportune moment and on some pretext, transfer it to the Chinese.
Has the gambit paid off? What are the implications? And what can India do?
China and the Strategic Significance of Gwadar
Gwadar port located on the Makran coast is a strategic maritime outpost. It is close to the energy rich but volatile Gulf region and about 400 kilometers from the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint through which nearly 16-17 million barrels of oil is transported daily. On an average 20-30 tankers enter the Gulf each day and during peak hours, one tanker leaves the Strait every six minutes.
Gwadar has figured prominently in China’s Indian Ocean calculus and Beijing had generously invested US $198 million of the US $248 million in the project. It is also fair to argue that Chinese have the capability to build modern ports given that some of their own ports are ranked among the top ten in the world.
Gwadar offers China several economic and military advantages. China can directly ship its oil supplies from Iran via the Iran-Pakistan pipeline (erstwhile Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline project) or other Gulf states through the Gwadar port. In fact Pakistan has offered China the option to build a 1500 kilometers pipeline from Gwadar to Xinjiang in western China. Apparently, China is also set to ‘re-launch the Gwadar oil refinery project’ that had been put on hold in 2009 due to the fear of attacks by the separatist elements in Baluchistan who had kidnapped few Chinese engineers.
From a military perspective, Gwadar is a strategic listening post to monitor maritime and naval activity in the Gulf region. The PLA Navy can forward deploy its ships and submarines to ensure safety and security of Chinese shipping carrying vital energy supplies. However, China does not consider Karachi naval base suitable as a forward base since it is conscious of the vulnerability of the Karachi port that was exposed during the 1971 India-Pakistan war. This prompted Pakistan to develop alternative naval bases west of Karachi away from India and Gwadar, 600 kilometers from Karachi, is considered safe from attacks by the Indian air force.
A Strategy for India: Focus on Chabahar?
Developments in Gwadar have invited mixed reaction in India. For the Indian Defence Minister, “it is a matter of concern,” but the Foreign Minister has dismissed any apprehensions. Interestingly, he stated that there is no need to overreact over the Chinese engagements in Gwadar. Instead he opined that,“We need to take these matters in our stride and in the normal course.” Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Beijing has defended China’s engagement in Gwadar and stated that Chinese companies have participated in projects in Pakistan and, “as long as these things are conducive to China-Pakistan friendship and the development and prosperity of the country, the Chinese side will actively support them,”
India too has shown some alacrity in developing infrastructure in foreign territories. The ambitious joint project to develop the Chabahar port in Iran which is only a few miles from Gwadar is making some visible progress. Significantly, in 2012, Iran, India and Afghanistan signed a tripartite agreement to develop the Chabahar port. India may invest up to US $100 million depending on the expansion of the port including building modern infrastructure and undertaking port operations. Chabahar can be connected through rail and road networks to the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a multinational project involving India, Iran and Russia. It can serve as trans-shipment hub for Zahedan, Afghanistan through a 600 kilometer connecting road and also as a transit point for the landlocked Central Asian Republics (CARs). The latter fits well into India’s ‘Connect Central Asia’ policy announced last year in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Likewise, for Afghanistan, Chabahar is of strategic importance as an alternate to Pakistani ports through which it engages in international trade. Its supply chains are vulnerable to a number of factors including tensions in Afghanistan-Pakistan relations and threats from terrorist groups.
Given its interest in Chabahar, India would like to develop the port to serve military purposes. Iran too is keen to develop Chabahar as an alternate naval base to overcome the vulnerabilities of its main naval base at Bandar Abbas. However, the big question is, would Iran allow the Indian Navy access to Chabahar.
IPCS DISCUSSION: THE EVOLVING SITUATION IN THE EAST AND SOUTH CHINA SEAS
Rana Divyank Chaudhary
Research Intern, CRP, IPCS
Prof Kanti Bajpai
There are certain core issues which have always cast a shadow over the relations between India and China. The first core issue is the Sino-Indian border. The second is the India-Pakistan-China triangle which continues to bedevil the relationship. The third is the fear on both sides that the other does and will continue to interfere in its domestic politics.
Looking forward, there are a series of issues growing between India and China. These issues structurally flow from the two countries’ fast and simultaneous economic growth. One expects high rates of economic growth over a long period of time to translate into greater military power. There has been a strong drive for military modernisation and expansion in force numbers in both India and China.
Secondly, with rise in hard power, the countries' desire for greater global importance also grows and they become more assertive in expressing their opinions on issues which do not immediately or even regionally concern them. Thirdly, one can expect the demand for four strategic resources to increase sharply - food, water, energy, and strategic minerals - from the point of view of agricultural and industrial growth as well as burgeoning household needs.
In this fast evolving context, are India and China headed on a path of unavoidable competition or conflict? There is a hope that in spite of these growing concerns, there are opportunities for collaboration and at the very least, parallel interests and possibly similar positions on structural issues. This is a paradoxical scenario with both India and China poised at the cusp of conflict and cooperation.
Prof Huang Jing
The overall strategic situation in the Asia-Pacific can be summed up in two keywords – integration and uncertainty. Never before has the entire region, including China and India, been integrated in terms of economic development such as now. This integration of economies is a result of the market forces and the division of labour prevalent in the international economy. The resulting interdependence has laid the foundation for cooperation and stability in this region.
However, uncertainty is the other side of the story which is more complicated and worrisome. All the major powers in the region – the US, China, India, Japan, and so on – are in transition. One of the major characteristics of this transition is that domestic politics has become a major driver and foreign policy is becoming increasingly expendable. All the major powers are demonstrating ad hoc foreign policies, lacking long term vision and rationality and focusing on countering each other in the short term.
Secondly, this region’s strategic balance too has been shifting. So far, all the states tried to align with or respond to US strategy which was the pre-eminent external yardstick. Now, China is the new yardstick in terms of economy, trade, and military power. All major powers have to now hedge against these two centres. Thirdly, the states now in ascendance, namely India, China, and Russia, have a growing sense of importance and responsibility in global and regional affairs. But the existing US-led security arrangements are structurally exclusive of their needs and concerns. The national security interests of China and India are not institutionally compensated in the region.
The East China Sea islands dispute is a conflict between China and Japan over national pride, capacity and determination. Japan, being dependent on the US, will inevitably bring it into this conflict. But the US has failed to back up other states in the region vis-a-vis China. Can it back up Japan? The regimes in China, Japan, and the US are all transitional and new. None can afford to climb down on external issues deeply linked with domestic sentiments and pressure groups. Any meaningful compromise at the moment is improbable.
On the South China Sea islands dispute, the Chinese take three factors into consideration. Firstly, they know time is on China’s side and it will grow stronger. Secondly, the Southeast Asian states are unlikely to form a consensus or make common cause against China. Thirdly, the US is even less likely to militarily back these states in a major confrontation with China. China will remain tough and uncompromising as long as it sees all the factors tipped in its favour. It will take full advantage of its strategic ambiguity and its thrust for multilateralism in cooperation and bilateralism in conflict resolution.
The American perspective by Prof PR Chari
When the US speaks of the “pivot,” its intentions are clear which is to contain China. It seeks to counter China’s territorial expansion in the East and South China Seas and cast itself in the role of the protector of international law of the seas and freedom of navigation. Obversely, this casts China as a contrarian planning to revise international laws and threaten free use of arterial sea lanes.
The pivot is an offshore containment strategy much like the US containment of the USSR all along the latter’s periphery during the Cold War and will require the support of all of America’s major partners – Japan, South Korea, Australia, and of course, Taiwan. The strategy will involve shifting sixty per cent of the US naval air forces to the western Pacific Ocean. It is also the raison d'être for the evolving US air-sea battle doctrine which calls for tri-service integration and cyber warfare preparedness.
The aim is to counter China’s Anti-Access Area-Denial (A2AD) military strategy with massive deployment of US expeditionary forces and maintaining control of maritime chokepoints with the full cooperation of the Southeast Asian littoral. Economically speaking, the US government is yet to fully achieve bipartisan consensus over such a major military reorientation in the face of serious fiscal pressures and cut-down in military expenditures.
The Chinese perspective by Mr Jayadeva Ranade
There has been a significant recalibration in Chinese strategy towards the East and South China Seas and the islands disputes since 2006 when the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) launched into large scale expansion and modernisation including acquiring its first aircraft carrier. China has invested concertedly into what it sees as a window of opportunity to gradually edge the US out and establish strategic pre-eminence in the region.
China has also employed and exerted economic levers on Japan and the Southeast Asian littoral states from time to time. It is banking on extensive economic ties which neither its neighbours nor the US have risked antagonising so far. Xi Jinping, who has taken over as China’s new paramount leader after the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, was intimately involved in critical decision-making in the previous Hu Jintao administration. Therefore, a lot of the policies crafted then are expected to be continued.
The Chinese leadership has taken cognisance of the fact that the East and Southeast Asian states harbour suspicion about the US’ will to confront China on issues directly concerning their interests. Beijing itself sees US efforts to manage conflicts in the region and play a peacemaking role as a potential weakness. With its forces continuing to redeploy to forward positions and staking out Japanese offshore outposts, China is steadily pursuing unchallengeable dominance in the region and is adding teeth to its strategy of deterring the American rebalancing act.
The Southeast Asian Perspective by Amb Leela Ponappa
Southeast Asia is where India and China find the largest avenues of interaction, cooperation and competition. The region has remained in the orbit of US influence since the Cold War but its close proximity to China has resulted in an extremely challenging strategic environment. Southeast Asian states share land as well as maritime borders with China. Territorial disputes and riparian issues have often made relations difficult amid growing integration of trade and economies with the Chinese economy.
In the regional context, various institutions and structures such as the APEC, the ARF, and the EAS have also been created with the larger goal of redrawing common interests and rethinking the fault-lines. But these structures are still functioning in isolation from the ASEAN which itself as an organisation has achieved little by way of a consensus on how best to engage with China while outstanding disputes continue to fester.
There is certainly the factor of inevitability of China’s rise which looms large in Southeast Asian thinking and expectations. The states in this region have permanently hedged for great power benefits and will continue to do so. From the Southeast Asian perspective, the “pivot” will remain a label until the US decidedly acts to reinforce its ties with these states and identifies a roadmap for strategic cooperation. Greater hopes are from India to assert its place in the emerging regional structures, explore a solid and well-defined role in the Asia-Pacific, and commit to a balancing role vis-a-vis China.
The East Asian Perspective by Amb Skand Tayal
In the context of the ongoing dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, it is important to look at the levels of interdependence between Japan and China. In the face of widening economic ties and deepening mutual interests, Japan and China have been involved in threatening manoeuvres against each other in international waters.
The nature of this dyad is characterised by Chinese escalation and Japanese reaction. The Japanese are quite vulnerable to Chinese pressures and have very few options of response. This makes Japan defend its possession of the islands much more aggressively. The hawkish Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it clear that the islands issue is non-negotiable and has gone for an increase in the defence expenditure.
However, the realities of the situation are two-fold. Firstly, possession means nine-tenths of the law in border disputes meaning that disturbing the status quo implies heavy costs for all involved parties. China and Japan are aware of this and have kept the option of dialogue open.
Secondly, the hard positions on both sides and the US being non-committal on supporting either’s claims means that the only possible routes to resolution are through mutual investments in emerging regional security architectures. If the US-backed alliances weaken, China’s search for uncontested primacy in the region will get seriously mired in unchecked hostilities.
JAPAN'S MOVE TO PUT DIAOYU ISLANDS ON UNESCO LIST A "PROVOCATION"
2013-02-18 08:47:49 GMT2013-02-18 16:47:49(Beijing Time) Xinhua English
The plan of including China's Diaoyu Islands into Japan's application to the UNESCO's list of World Natural Heritage sites is a clear provocation.
The plan, once carried out, will certainly escalate the tension between China and Japan over territorial disputes.
The Japanese government was preparing to put Amami and Ryukyu Islands on the list, while the city of Ishigaki came up with the idea of including the Diaoyu Islands as part of that application earlier this month, according to Japanese media reports.
The underlying purpose of the move is to get disguised recognition from an international organization on Japan's sovereignty over China's Diaoyu Islands.
According to the UNESCO procedure,a country has to first make an inventory of its important natural heritage sites located within its boundaries to begin the nomination, which means that sovereignty over the sites is the prerequisite for such an application.
The Ishigaki government had already come up with a draft plan and proposed to send investigation teams to land on the Diaoyu Islands to fetch sufficient material and data to convince the Japanese authorities and the UNESCO.
Whatever the results of the application, the proposed landing on China's islands itself is a clear provocative "political move" against Chinese sovereignty.
Japan is the initiator of the island crisis emerging last year, whose new attempt on the inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands into a UNESCO application may well be a replica of the "nationalization" plot in trying to take the Diaoyu Islands away from China.
Last year, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Japanese central government orchestrated the "purchasing" of the Diaoyu Islands, which caused fierce disputes between the two nations and brought bilateral ties to a new low since the two countries normalized their diplomatic relations four decades ago.
Japan's provocation this time will certainly incur China's firm opposition and strong countermeasures.
China has always advocated a solution of the island crisis through dialogue and negotiations. However, China's bottom line will remain unchanged and it will never waver in its determination to safeguard sovereignty.
Undoubtedly, the development of situation depends on the attitude and action of Japan, who started and escalated the island dispute and crisis.
Japan's next move will demonstrate to the world whether or not it respects the post-war international order and cherishes the stability of the Asia-Pacific region.
CHINA SHOULD GIVE PYONGYANG A CERTAIN "PUNISHMENT"
2013-02-17 22:38:47 GMT2013-02-18 06:38:47(Beijing Time) Global Times
The US, Japan, South Korea and Europe have sent strong signs that they will impose tough sanctions against Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). China cannot stay out of this issue.
Washington, Seoul and Tokyo are anxious to see China change its DPRK policy. Since Pyongyang's nuclear test has damaged China's interests, it's necessary for China to give Pyongyang a certain "punishment." The key problem is what the extent of this punishment should be.
The DPRK is determined to possess nuclear power. The US, Japan, South Korea and the DPRK failed to achieve détente in their relations in the past Six-Party Talks. Both sides are unlikely to make compromises now.
For the DPRK, developing nuclear weapons is a matter of life and death. Even if China stands behind the sanctions proposed by the US, Japan and South Korea, it's unlikely to realize the denuclearization of the DPRK. But if Beijing takes a sharp turn in its attitude toward Pyongyang, it will become the DPRK's top enemy, which is the desire of the US, Japan and South Korea. China must avoid this situation.
Beijing is not an ally of Pyongyang, but at no point should China turn the DPRK into its enemy, especially when it is crossing the nuclear threshold. This should be the strategic bottom line of China's DPRK policy. However, China should express its opposition against Pyongyang's nuclear activities through actions. The international community won't accept China's blind protection of the DPRK.
Beijing should punish Pyongyang, but should also try to avoid being the focus of DPRK and global public opinion. The reduction in China's assistance to the DPRK shouldn't be more prominent than the increase in sanctions by the US, Japan and South Korea. This should be the bottom line for China to participate in international sanctions against the DPRK.
The Korean Peninsula has remained in a Cold War state. The West tends to perceive the DPRK issue from an ideological perspective, and the US has its own strategic considerations on the peninsula. The nuclear issue has become a time bomb. Both the DPRK and the US, Japan and South Korea should take the blame for this. It's unreasonable if Washington, Tokyo and Seoul don't make any changes but demand that China change its attitude toward the DPRK.
China should stick to being a mediator in the nuclear issue, and not join any side to confront the other. It's possible that tensions on the peninsula will further escalate and a war could break out. China should prepare itself for any extreme situations, which is important for it to safeguard its security and not be held hostage by either side.
China is not in a position to undertake extensive adjustments in its DPRK policy, but it doesn't mean there will be no change. Now, facing a reckless DPRK and an anxious US, Japan and South Korea, China should take actions to maintain its strategy in Northeast Asia.
EXPERTS REJECT CLAIMS OF CHINA'S DPRK POLICY A "FAILURE"
2013-02-16 16:39:07 GMT2013-02-17 00:39:07(Beijing Time) Xinhua English
The United States should reflect seriously on the latest nuclear test of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which was caused by long-standing antagonism between the two countries, Chinese experts said.
After the DPRK's nuclear test earlier this week, some Western media said China's policy toward the country has proven to be a failure, a straw-man fallacy refuted by Chinese experts and scholars.
History has proven that a country threatened by force and sanctions would maintain and further develop its own military strength, they said.
ILL-FOUNDED ARGUMENT ON CHINA'S "FAILURE"
Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, said the DPRK decided to conduct the third nuclear test on the basis of its own interests, instead of being in accordance to China's will.
On denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, all parties concerned should assume their respective obligations accordingly, he said, adding that the DPRK's firm stance on the nuclear test showed that their efforts had not been successful.
Echoing Shi's view, Liu Jiangyong, a professor of international relations at Tsinghua University, said the argument that China's DPRK policy has failed is ill-founded.
Such arguments of some foreign media or on the internet are either provocation or have ulterior motives, he said.
China has done nothing wrong in and will stick to its position on the issue, for which the country urges a resolution through dialogue, he added.
After the DPRK's third nuclear test, Tao Wenzhao, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said in an article that China has been criticized for keeping trade and economic relations with the DPRK, which are described as a "big loophole" of the United Nations' sanctions against the country.
As a matter of fact, he said, China has strictly adhered to relevant UN resolutions that do not demand cutting off all economic exchanges with the DPRK.
China-DPRK trade and economic relations are normal between two neighboring countries, Tao said.
"China, as a responsible stakeholder in the international community and one of the signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), bears solemn obligations for the international community in safeguarding the world's nuclear non-proliferation system," he said.
"This is also the reason why China has firmly opposed the DPRK's new nuclear test, a stance that should not be misunderstood," Tao added.
ANTAGONISM BETWEEN U.S. AND DPRK
On the root cause of the nuclear test, Liu, the Tsinghua professor, said the DPRK's real target was the United States, instead of China or South Korea.
"On this issue, the United States, South Korea and Japan should be blamed for the failure of their policies. Those countries should reflect on what has happened," he said.
Liu said the nuclear test has shown that a policy of sanctions or coercion could not compel the DPRK to submit, adding that the country would have a strong sense of crisis if it was not offered a safe international environment and an open international economic policy.
"The current situation in Northeast Asia is imbalanced, with South Korea and Japan sheltered under the U.S. nuclear umbrella," said Ruan Zongze, deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).
At the same time, he said, the military strength of South Korea and Japan is not weak and the DPRK's security pressure mainly comes from the United States, the real target of its nuclear deterrence.
Tao, the CASS research fellow, also attributed the complexity of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula to the 60-year-old antagonism between the DPRK and the United States.
RESOLUTION THROUGH DIALOGUE, NEGOTIATIONS
On a resolution to the issue, Shi, the professor at Renmin University, said the key is how to push forward denuclearization on the peninsula.
At a time when various efforts have failed to make headway, relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council should be implemented and measures of sanctions should be established to curb the DPRK's development of nuclear weapons, he said.
Liu, the Tsinghua professor, also said history has proven that when Washington and Seoul carried out the so-called "Sunshine Policy" toward the DPRK, tensions on the Korean Peninsula would be eased, which would provide conditions for realizing denuclearization.
When the mechanism of the six-party talks or dialogue played a dominant role, tensions would also be eased, he said, adding that otherwise tensions would escalate.
Facing military exercises, sanctions and confrontation, the DPRK would go its own way, a choice for self-protection, Liu said.
He said China has called for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a solution to the issue through the six-party talks and dialogue within the framework of the United Nations.
Although the policy has not resolved the issue so far, it at least does not intensify the dispute, Liu said.
Ruan, from the CIIS, expressed the hope that all parties concerned would resume diplomatic contact after a period of time.
"In the future, distrust and antagonism between the United States and the DPRK should be resolved by mechanisms of multilateral dialogue like the six-party talks," he said.
"The Chinese side should continue to play the role of a peacemaker and mediator," Ruan said. "After all, only negotiations could resolve the issue fundamentally."
CHINA'S ESCORT FLEET TO JOIN EXERCISE IN PAKISTAN
2013-02-17 08:31:55 GMT2013-02-17 16:31:55(Beijing Time) Xinhua English
The 14th Chinese naval squad heading for Somali waters will take part in a multi-national exercise in Pakistan in March, military sources said Sunday.
The "Exercise Aman-13" is scheduled to start in the North Arabian Sea on March 4. Aman is an Urdu word meaning "peace".
The fleet, sent by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy,
departed Saturday from a port in Qingdao of east China's Shandong Province to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters for escort missions.
The 14th convoy fleet comprises three ships -- the missile destroyer Harbin, the frigate Mianyang and the supply ship Weishanhu -- carrying two helicopters and a 730-strong troop, all from the North China Sea Fleet under the PLA Navy.
Since December 2008, authorized by the United Nations, the Chinese navy has organized 14 fleets to the waters of the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters to escort 5,046 Chinese and foreign ships. More than 50 Chinese and foreign ships have been rescued or assisted during the missions.
CHINA: POST- PARTY CONGRESS SCENARIO: POLICY INDICATORSPaper No. 5399 Dated 18-Feb-2013
By D. S. Rajan
With an eye on discerning any policy indications, the rest of the world is paying attention to the two speeches made by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping in the post-Party Congress period – first in early December 2012 and the second on late January 2013.
Full texts of the two speeches have not so far been officially released in the People’s Republic of China (PRC); but their summaries are now in the public domain. The overseas Chinese language media have carried reports on the first speech, based on a report from a source with credentials in China and the state Chinese language media in the PRC have revealed features of the second speech.
The first ‘Southern Tour’ speech of Xi Jinping made early December 2012 appears to be important in the matter of understanding Xi Jinping’s outlook on the political and economic reforms in the country. It was under circulation within the party in the middle January 2012. The website www.dw.de, of 25 January 2013 and China Digital Times of 26 January 2013 carry an analysis in Chinese language, of the speech, done by Gao Yu, a Chinese journalist based in Beijing, a former employee of the China News Agency (Zhong Xin She) and Economics Weekly of China and a detainee for her participation in the 1989 students movement.
An important portion of the speech was devoted to answering the questions – Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate and what lessons the CCP can learn from the collapse of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Viewing that the main reason for the collapse was that “the ideals and beliefs had been shaken in the Soviet Union”, Xi Jinping in his speech, said, “In the end, the ruler’s flag over the city tower changed overnight. It’s a profound lesson for us! Dismissing the history of the Soviet Union and the CPSU, dismissing Lenin and Stalin, and dismissing everything else are to engage in historic nihilism, which confuses our thoughts and undermines the Party’s organizations on all levels.” Xi added in his speech that the lesson for China from the disintegration of the Soviet Union is that “we must stand firm on the Party’s leadership over the military”. He pointed out, “In the Soviet Union, the military was depoliticized, separated from the Party and nationalized and the party was disarmed. A few people tried to save the Soviet Union; they seized Gorbachev, but within days it was turned around again, because they didn’t have the instruments to exert power. Yeltsin gave a speech standing on a tank, but the military made no response, keeping so-called ‘neutrality.’ Finally, Gorbachev announced the disbandment of the CPSU. A big Party was gone just like that. Proportionally, the CPSU had more members than the CCP does, but nobody was man enough to stand up and resist”.
Reform was the other prominent theme in Xi Jinping’s ‘Southern Tour” speech. Xi said, “The essence of our reform lies in carrying out all round reform. I do not approve the view that under reform, certain areas will remain backward; in concrete terms, certain areas getting reformed and others not so, is not the issue. Certain areas may remain unaffected by reform, even for a long time, but it does not mean there should be no reform. Some define reform in terms of Western universal values; if Western political system is taken as norm for reform, our reform concept will get distorted. We should conduct reform under the path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. We are in the stage of primary stage of socialism. We should pay attention to both short term and long term goals. Following the important ideologies of Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong thought, Deng Xiaoping theory, “Three Represents” and the Scientific Development outlook, we should realize the greatest dream for renewal of the Chinese nation. “China dream” is indeed our ideal .Of course, all communists must cherish a higher ideal, i.e Communism”.
The available details of the second speech of the CCP General Secretary, delivered at a party Politburo Study session convened on 28 January 2013, look notable in assessing the likely foreign policy directions of Xi Jinping’s leadership. Xi said, “China will unswervingly pursue peaceful development, push forward joint development, maintain the multilateral trade system and participate in global economic governance. The PRC will never pursue its development at the cost of sacrificing interests of other countries. We will never benefit ourselves at others' expense or do harm to any neighbour”. He at the same time emphasized, “We will never give up our legitimate rights and will never sacrifice our national core interests. No country should presume that we will engage in trade involving our core interests or that we will swallow the 'bitter fruit' of harming our sovereignty, security or development interests”. The Chinese leader added, “China is following a road of peaceful development and other countries should do the same. Only when all countries pursue a path of peaceful development, they can jointly develop and enjoy peaceful coexistence. We should spread our country's strategic thinking of sticking to the road of peaceful development and guide the international community to properly understand and approach China's development. Wartime atrocities in the past have made an indelible impression on the Chinese people, leading them to desire and cherish a peaceful and stable life. Turbulence is what the Chinese people are afraid of, stability is what they are after and world peace is what they are looking forward to. China has put forward the five principles of peaceful co-existence, established and carried out a peaceful and independent foreign policy, made a solemn commitment to never seek hegemony and expansion and emphasized that it will always remain a staunch force in safeguarding world peace. China will unswervingly adhere to these principles, policies and commitments”. Declaring that “China will strengthen its strategic thinking and enhance its capacity to make strategies ( Zeng Qiang Zhan Lue Ding Li ), Xi Jinping said that “ China will pursue the two ‘ double hundred’ goals of building a moderately prosperous society by 2021 ( the year marking 100th anniversary of founding the CCP) and building a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and modernised socialist country by 2049 “ (the year marking the 100th anniversary of founding the PRC ).
Xi Jinping’s focus in his “Southern Tour” speech on the need for the CCP to learn lessons from the Soviet collapse, especially on party exercising absolute control over the army, is not a new theme in China; the same has already been noticeable in the regime of his predecessor Hu Jintao and in the past also. A repetition by Xi would only go to imply that the party has still lot more to do in eradicating the ideological confusion prevailing within its ranks. Another point of interest is Xi Jinping’s call for ‘all round’ reform and his ‘non-approval’ of the reform policy of veteran leader Deng Xiaoping which justified certain areas to develop more quickly than others. Is Xi signaling a nuanced shift in China’s reform course directions?
How to interpret Xi Jinping’s second speech of 28 January 2013? To start with, a look at the comments which have appeared in the Western and Chinese media may be useful for analysis. The Western media have viewed the speech as ‘tough’ and connected it to the likely continuation of aggressive postures of the PRC on sovereignty issues under Xi Jinping’s leadership. On the other hand, the Chinese official press (for e.g Xinhua international and ‘The Global Times’ Chinese edition , both of 31 January 2013) have refuted such assessments . In the words of an influential Chinese scholar, Jin Canrong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, “ Xi only stated basic principles more clearly, appears more willing than his predecessors to show an assertive position on territorial issues, but Xi’s comments were with in the bounds of established Chinese policy”. Very interestingly, some authoritative Chinese assessments have detected signals towards some strategic restructuring on the part of China in Xi’s speech. For e.g as an evidence, an article of Global Times Chinese edition, also carried in the CCP theoretical journal ‘Qiu Shi’ ( 15 February 2013) , referred to the findings of Chinese scholars that Xi has laid dual stress in his speech to ‘ strategic thoughts’ ( Zhan Lue Si Wei) and to ‘ enhancing capacity to make strategies’ ( Zhan Lue Ding Li ).
The pro-Beijing Hongkong paper Wen Wei Po (30 January 2013) has echoed the same opinion. Noting that the dual stress is being seen for the first time, the paper suggested that it could mark efforts of the new leadership to develop the needed ‘correct and restructured strategic thought’, in order to face the worsening the security environment in China’s neighborhood, more and more increasing diplomatic pressure from abroad and the growing global impact on the Chinese economy, all in last two years. This raises the question - Will Xi Jinping’s leadership make some course corrections in China’s present strategic outlook and if so, what will be the impact on the outside world?
For an impartial observer, Xi Jinping’s 28 January 2013 speech definitely has some importance, as the leader, through it, has presented aspects of his foreign policy vision for the first time since he assumed the office of CCP chief. It is at the same time clear that there are no signs in the speech towards any basic shift in China’s foreign policy, followed hitherto. The leader’s stress to ‘ no sacrifice on core interests’ is not new; ever since middle 2008, this principle is dominating the Chinese foreign policy and notably, finds a place in the adopted report at the 18th CCP congress , though there was no specific mention of ‘core interests’ in it.
Views are appearing in China that Beijing can adopt a ‘really tough approach’ if external forces provoke the PRC, conveying a message in the present day context (Global Times, Chinese language editorial, 31 January 2013). The Hu Jintao regime faced a dilemma in balancing the country’s declared aim to develop diplomatic relations ensuring‘win-win’ international ties and the perceived strategic imperatives to protect the PRC’s ‘core interests’. All indications are that the Xi Jinping leadership will persist with the ‘core interests’- based foreign policy of the previous regime and as a result, the same dilemma is going to confront it.
(The writer, D.S.Rajan, is Director, Chennai Centre for China Studies, Chennai, India. Email: email@example.com)
ANTI-INTERFERENCE ELECTROMAGNETIC SHIELD OF BEIDOU SYSTEM DEVELOPED
(Source: People's Daily Online) 2013-02-05Ran Chengqi, director of the China Satellite Navigation System Management Office, recently noted that all the strategic goals for the second stage of the construction of the Beidou Satellite Navigation System have been achieved, and the system has full capability of stable and continuous coverage of the Asia-Pacific region, the China National Radio (CNR) reports.
The Beidou System can be used for both military and civilian purposes. Jiao Weixin, professor of the School of Earth and Space Sciences of the Peking University, said that the Beidou System has a positioning accuracy of 10 meters, a velocity measurement accuracy of 0.2 meter/second, and a timing accuracy of 10 nanoseconds, there is still room for improvement and the system is not inferior to the Global Positioning System (GPS) especially in positioning accuracy in the Asia-Pacific region.
It is learnt that high-density and strong-signal electromagnetic interference is a prominent problem arising in the construction of the Beidou System. Some countries have conducted much research in interfering navigation signals and weakening the performance of precision-guided weapons. If the problem remains unresolved, China’s military strength relying on navigation and positioning, such as combat aircraft and guided missiles, will have great difficulty in maximizing its role, and therefore the combat effectiveness will be reduced.
To solve the problem, researchers of the Satellite Navigation Center of the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have developed satellite anti-interference equipment, an “electromagnetic shield”, for the Beidou System, providing another support for normal operation of the system.
The Beidou System may reduce China’s military expenditure besides providing accurate navigation service for guided missiles. A detailed research report provided by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) says, “The combat effectiveness of 1,465 airplanes equipped with GPS navigation equipment is equivalent to that of 1,714 airplanes without GPS navigation equipment, and the annual maintenance expenses of the additional 249 airplanes are around seven billion U.S. dollars.”