WASHINGTON – China and the United States are engaged in a competition to sway regional security in the Pacific Far East, as the U.S. begins to put more assets into the region at the same time that China shows a greater assertiveness to extend its influence, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Part of China’s assertiveness has been displayed recently in restating historical claims over maritime interests in the East and South China Sea, pitting it against such neighbors as Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, among others.
As a result, these countries have appealed to the U.S. and its military presence to counter China’s dominance in the region.
For its part, the U.S. wants to turn the East Asia Summit into a U.S.-led regional security group. The EAS is expected to meet in November in Bali and will be the first indication of the U.S. commitment to these countries’ security concerns.
More immediately, however, the U.S. is in the process of rushing two anti-missile systems to Japan as that country has its own dispute with Beijing over disputed islands that China claims for itself.
In turn, the Chinese are concerned that the anti-missile systems would defeat China’s ballistic missile deterrent.
The confrontation between China and Japan has prompted massive demonstrations in China against Japan, forcing Japanese companies to shut down operations due to the potential for attacks against them.
Chinese memories still are vivid of the Japanese occupation and massacres from 1931 to 1945 in which an estimated 2.7 million Chinese were killed in a Japanese “pacification” program. Of the thousands of Chinese prisoners captured during World War II, only 56 Chinese prisoners reportedly were found alive in 1946.
Part of China’s assertiveness also is due to its economic and military expansion of a “blue-water” policy. It wants to project military power and economic infrastructure development in many countries of Africa and Latin America.
Yet, the U.S. and China have their own political and economic interactions that force both countries to seek more cooperation than confrontation, especially in the East and South China Seas.
At the same time, analysts see Beijing seeking greater interaction with its neighbors considering just how linked these countries’ economies. Indeed, these countries look to that economic relationship as essential to their long-term development.
For China, it will need to work with its neighbors to balance its economic strategy with its security strategy while China’s neighbors will seek to avoid what is turning into a U.S.-Chinese competition in the Pacific Far East.
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