China has called on the US to phase out its military surveillance missions close to the Chinese coast, in Beijing’s clearest indication so far that it will not tolerate American dominance indefinitely in an area it views as its strategic sphere of influence.Hille further observes:
The remarks came after two days of negotiations on maritime safety between military officials from both sides following a series of confrontations between US and Chinese ships in waters off the Chinese coast earlier this year.
“The way to resolve China-US maritime incidents is for the US to change its surveillance and survey operations policies against China, decrease and eventually stop such operations,” Xinhua, the official news agency, quoted the Ministry of National Defence as saying.
Chinese military officials have also in the past steered clear of confronting the US over its influence in Asia. They have sometimes even suggested that the two could coexist.It's easy to see down which road we're heading here. The right-wing Washington Times discusses China's attempt to browbeat US military officials over Taiwan arms sales. To wit:
Yesterday’s declaration, however, suggests that China is moving closer to scenarios long painted by defence experts under which it becomes more assertive and starts drawing lines for the US military.
On Aug. 20 in Beijing, Gen. Ge Zhenfeng, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, accused the United States of failing to respect China's interests, triggering an argument and rebuttal from the Army four-star, according to defense officials familiar with the exchange.It's a good example of the way China uses "worsening relations" to browbeat its opponents and to manage relationships in its favor. Gen. Ge was quoted in Xinhua saying that the United States needed to "remove obstacles" to better ties, like U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. In other words, when you serve Beijing relations will be "warm" -- at least until Beijing decides on its next demand, at which point the cycle of browbeating, warming relations, and worsening relations, will begin anew.
Then during a second meeting the same day, Gen. Chen Bingde, the PLA chief of staff, took the unusual step of allowing foreign news reporters to listen in during a photo session before the meeting when he told Gen. Casey that the United States was "challenging and violating our core national interests, and we have to react."
Such coverage of U.S.-China meetings normally is limited to a few minutes of photographs before reporters are shuffled out of the meeting room and doors are closed.
Gen. Chen then told Gen. Casey that the U.S. had undermined trust by selling arms to Taiwan and that Washington is only friendly when it seeks Beijing's cooperation on terrorism and piracy, but then does "anything they want, even to offend the Chinese people." He said, "I don't think that kind of cooperation can continue."
Gen. Casey stated that "it's difficult to build a lasting relationship when we start from a point that 'we have a problem and it is you.' "
One irony is that the US military, especially the Navy, has consistently attempted to maintain good relations with China. As I've observed many times, once "good relations" are a priority, that simply makes you vulnerable to increased pressure from the the Peaceful Riser©.
The arms sales cannot really be that serious of an issue, since the current government of Taiwan is basically allied to the CCP. Rather, China is simply not missing the opportunity to engage in pro forma displays of its consistent foreign policy of browbeating others to get what it wants, and, as China specialist John Tkacik described:
"The Chinese also want to make excuses for not pressuring either North Korea or Iran on their nuclear ambitions, so they point to U.S. support for democratic Taiwan and say, 'See here, if you Americans would only cut loose of Taiwan, we could help more with these other rogues.'"
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