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.


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

Pepe Escobar, "BRICS Against Washington Consensus," Asia Times, July 15, 2014

[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]

[In 1997, roughly 20 years after China emerged from the isolation of the Mao years, the Economist bemoaned the popularity of a quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte. "Let China sleep," he allegedly pronounced, "for when she wakes she will shake the world." From 1977 to 1997, China's GDP more than quadrupled, its foreign policy grew more confident, and in 1995, in a show of aggression, Beijing fired missiles across the Taiwan Strait to intimidate the government in Taipei. "To observers of China, dazzled by its startling economic growth and ever-increasing power," the Economist wrote, "Napoleon's aphorism has seemed irresistibly apposite. . . .

Whether Beijing manages to maintain social stability, build a sustainable economy, and appease a population of 1.4 billion will determine how China affects the rest of the world."--Isaac Stone Fish, "Crouching Tiger, Sleeping Giant," Foreign Policy, January 19, 2016]

John Pilger, "The Coming War on China,", December 2, 2016

"What is the human cost to China's economic miracle?" Al Jazeera, March 15, 2019

[Rather than unseating the United States as the world's premier superpower, Chinese foreign policy in the coming decade will largely focus on maintaining the conditions necessary for the country's continued economic growth.--Gordon Watts, "Enter the dragon and the rise of China's 'empire',", November 26, 2019]

Minxin Pei, "China's expensive bet on Africa has failed,", May 1, 2020

"Tibet is China's ticket to hegemony," Caspian Repoart, May 29, 2020

[The daily goal is Xiaokang, meaning modest prosperity for all. The ultimate goal is Datong. . . .

Chinese people's democratic communism-socialism is advancing, prospering and getting richer, without having to invade, occupy, exploit and enslave other countries, which is the only way global capitalism can survive.--Jeff Brown, "China Seeking Xiaokang, Modest Prosperity For All,", July 29, 2020]

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