THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
June 9, 2020
Indian Express

China Now Has the Military Power to Alter Territorial Status Quo

by C. Raja Mohan

. . . China is on a bold and ambitious drive to expand its control over the disputed waters. Let us start with gathering tensions over the territorial dispute between Beijing and Jakarta. China Map To talk of a territorial dispute between two countries so far apart from each other seems strange. But distance is no guarantee of an escape from territorial problems with Beijing, at least in the South China Sea. To be sure, Jakarta says it has no territorial dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea. But there is a problem nevertheless.

Neither Jakarta that is scrupulously non-aligned nor Manila that was ready to break its alliance with the US has been spared from Beijing's current muscular approach to China's territorial disputes.

While intellectuals can argue about the sources of Chinese conduct, peasants with their common sense can point to answers lying in plain sight. One is that China has long-standing claims, right or wrong, on the territories of its neighbours. The other is the dramatic shift in the regional power balance in favour of China. Unlike in the past, China now has the military power to make good its claims and alter the territorial status quo, if only in bits and pieces. This is what China is doing in the South China Sea. And the situation may not be any different in Ladakh.

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1421 "1421: The Year China Discovered America?," The Wisdom Fund, January 13, 2003

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[The toll the war inflicted on China is still being calculated, but conservative estimates number the dead at 14 million at least (the British Empire and United States each lost over 400,000 during the Second World War, and Russia more than 20 million)--Rana Mitter, "Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937-1945," Mariner Books; Reprint edition (September 2, 2014), p. 5]

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