If there were ever any doubts about China's aggressive military intentions in the Pacific, its warning to Australia last week to choose itself a U.S. or Chinese "godfather" ought to remove all of them.Yeah, nothing shows how much you want peace quite like threatening and bullying your neighbors.
In what can only be construed as a direct threat to a top U.S. ally, Song Xiaojun, a "retired" Chinese general, told the Sydney Morning Herald that "Australia has to find a godfather sooner or later."
"Australia always has to depend on somebody else, whether it is to be the 'son' of the U.S. or 'son' of China," Song said, adding that Australia had best choose China because it all "depends on who is more powerful and based on the strategic environment."
The Chinese statement — which implied Australia is so weak it can't make its own decisions — is false, arrogant and insulting. But above all, it's an effort to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Australia. And it isn't the first time.
Just as Song was implying that China's trading relationship with Australia would now be used as leverage, China's foreign minister told Australia's foreign minister in Beijing that "the time for Cold War alliances has ended."
At the heart of this crude threat is China's fury over the 61-year-old U.S.-Australia alliance and a renewed U.S. effort to focus its naval strength on the Asia-Pacific region to counter a Chinese military buildup that is unsettling the nations of the Pacific Rim.
Two weeks ago, 200 U.S. Marines, the first of a "Fox Company" contingent numbering 2,500, arrived for stationing in Darwin, Australia. U.S. military officials say it's part of a new forward operating base to ensure peace, help out in natural disasters and keep sea lanes open.
China has complained about this, and in recent days made harsh criticisms of the Pentagon's May 18 annual report on "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic Of China" as an "obstacle" to good relations with China.
The U.S. must "respect facts, change its mindset and stop wrongdoing in issuing similar reports year after year," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman stated.But the new Marine presence in Australia has been warmly welcomed by Australia's neighbors and is having a soothing psychological effect across the region.
A U.S. naval presence has historically been the springboard that allows Asian tiger states to rise through trade in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines have found themselves targeted and bullied by China, ostensibly over old territorial disputes.
The one obstacle keeping China from completely taking over has been the U.S. presence in Australia. That presence may expand to stationing aircraft carriers, establishing long-range listening posts and deploying nuclear-powered attack submarines.
This explains China's new effort to slap around and intimidate the Australians, forcing them to choose between its alliance with the U.S. and its trade with China.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Winning friends and influencing people -- the Chinese way
The communists in Beijing are following the "Like a good neighbor, China is there" policy: