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China’s game of Dual Diplomacy: The Creature of Habit

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By ANANT MISHRA [Former Youth Representative to United Nations] New Delhi: From the last two decades China has been expanding phenomenally not only in terms of economics but also in terms of militarization and international relations. A home for almost one fifth of the global population, China is the world’s second largest economy (estimated at $13.395 trillion).  Amid Chinese shining global achievements, threat perception is viewed by many Asian nations. Hence it is important to re-examine and re-address in order to understand the Chinese policies and few “hidden agenda’s”. China plays the cards of “supremacy” through the agenda of hydrocarbons and natural gases in Central Asia followed by the “too much to discuss, not to agree” dispute over South China sea. The issues of global usage of hydrocarbons and increasing demand of oil threaten Chinese agenda of “growth” on the international stage. Hence, unimaginable issues will arise during the resolution of this conflict as China will not afraid to play his hidden cards on the table. Historically China had little or almost no influence in the west considering its situation with its immediate neighbours and was very unsuccessful in re-establishing trade connections with both the Middle East and Europe. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990’s, everything’s changed. The People’s Republic of China immediately recognised the new nations and formed formal alliance with the Central Asian Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The objective of this formal recognition was simply an act of “dual diplomacy”. China was able to secure the volatile regions of Xinjiang and began with the possible groundwork” in trade, where they had previous been unsuccessful. The decisions were vital as it made the People’s Republic of China a powerful actor in the geopolitics of Asia, followed by countering the balance of power in the regions which were dominated by Russia. Many experts believe that Chinese foreign relations with the previous soviet nations proved to be a major breakthrough in the history of bilateral relations which made China a strong contender in the South Asia. Through these well planned policies, China became a member of Shangai Cooperation Organization in 1996. This made China an emerging power in the regional affairs of Central Asia and approximately 20 years later, many nations realised that the game had been changed. To attain Supremacy, prepared China entered into South Asia, and expanded its trade networks westward to balance its level of power in the trade eastward. Since 1960 China has been surrounded with troubles, threatening and pressuring neighbouring nations, a trend which seems to have continued in the South China Sea dispute. In 1962, India and China fought the Sino-Indian War over the Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin regions. India recognized the McMahon Line as the legal line of demarcation between the two countries while China supported the McCartney MacDonald Line as the legal border. Negotiations for peaceful resolutions were drastically, and in June of 1962, both India and China began militarizing the border on the McMahon Line. As the Sun came up, China had won the dispute followed by the Line of Actual Control was used as demarcation between the two nations. This approach to resolve a dispute was widely counterproductive and very submissive, a technique which today would cause international criticism of the Chinese government. To create internal balance, the People’s Republic of China pursued many diplomatic measures abroad to prevent backfire at home, which could stabilize economy and political control. In the disputes of Paracel Islands , Scarborough Shoal , Senkaku Islands and Spratly Islands China maintained a political theory of “Chinese resemblance and its history with the past”, which was more or less similar to China’s territorial claims over Tibet and Xinjiang. However, these waters, unlike the claims to Tibet and Xinjiang are not contrary to one bordering nation but to several nations with vested interests in trade in the South China Sea. Nations such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Japan all have trade routes and military dominance over water, which has now militarized water ways, which might potentially deteriorate an already lighted situation. To resolve the issues, resolutions with respect to Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea have been pursued but they have largely been failing. The resolutions will potentially settle the dispute but not in a favourable decision towards the People’s Republic of China. Regardless, diplomatic mitigation of the problem would be ideal but force of arms, which would be quicker, has the potential to destabilize the region dramatic as well as causing the People’s Republic of China to lose face and credibility on the international stage.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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