18 December 2014

Beijing Projects Power through Cooperation, Intimidation

Andrew S. Erickson, “Beijing Projects Power through Cooperation, Intimidation,” Nikkei Asian Review, 18 December 2014.

China’s military development offers costs and benefits for its neighbors and the world. To understand why, look at two factors: technology and geography.

     In the contested “near seas” off China’s coast (the Yellow, East China, and South China seas), Beijing is exploiting new developments to target neighboring militaries’ vulnerabilities — as well as those of the U.S., the Asia-Pacific’s ultimate security guarantor. …

     The bottom line: you don’t have to count all the beans to see that China is making a potent “keep out” soup. In the oceans beyond, which China calls the “far seas,” Beijing lacks island or maritime claims. This makes its interests more compatible with other nations, and it seeks to cooperate, albeit cautiously. ….