China’s border, water rows underline its expansionism

In the South China Sea, it has disputes with countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (Photo | AP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping (Photo | AP)

NEW DELHI: China on Friday refuted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks of expansionism but Beijing has an ongoing border/maritime dispute with 18 countries primarily because of its claims on the other country’s territory or waters.

In the South China Sea, it has disputes with countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Despite a 2016 arbitration ruling against its claims, Beijing continues to push its claims for jurisdiction over the resource-rich region.

China is also involved in a tussle with Japan over the ownership of the Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyudao Islands in China.

While the administration of the waters has been with the Japanese, China lays claim to the islands.

As recently as Thursday, the Japanese had lodged a protest when two Chinese vessels entered their territory.

China also lays claims to Mongolia, citing historical precedents.

Beijing does not recognize its northern neighbour. With India, apart from the Ladakh sector where it has a border dispute, China also does not recognize Arunachal Pradesh to be part of India’s territory.

Its maps include India’s northeastern state. “Yes of course China is pursuing expansionism.

But China is so hypersensitive about its perceived sovereignty that it forgets that it has another role to play as a modern nation,” said Debashis Chaudhari of the Institute of Chinese Studies.

B R Deepak, Sinologist and chairperson of the Centre for Chinese and South Asian Studies at JNU, echoed his views saying China was quick to accuse others of imperialist expansionism but never accepted its own imperial expansionism.

Russia-based political analyst Andrew Korbyko had a slightly different take on the issue.

“Modi’s comment was clearly directed towards China but could unwittingly be just as applicable when it comes to the US’s economic neo-colonial expansionism. Considering his intention of directing that comment towards China, it indicates that India wants the entire world to realize that it is the frontline state in containing Beijing and it should be supported,” he said.

In its latest “expansionist exploits,” China has laid claim to a part of Bhutan and also to the city of Vladivostok in Russia. But, Korbyko dismissed the reports as taken out of context.

“It was deliberately taken out of context and used as the deceptive lead-in to that report, which intends to drive a wedge between Russia and China.

It’s nothing but clickbait and a low-quality attempt at information warfare but it could backfire if Russia realizes that the Indian media is using fake news as part of an information war,” he said.

During a surprise visit to Ladakh on Friday, Modi said the era of expansionism was over and said its enemies had witnessed the “fire and fury” of its soldiers.

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The New Indian Express