Why Our Growing Indebtedness to China is an Enormous Mistake!
China Tries To Make Australia An Offer It Can't Refuse
Posted 06:56 PM ET
The Far East: 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.
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. [Seriously,
what are China's ultimate intentions, that they feel they have to
complain about 2,500 U.S. Marines being based in Australia, a country
that is quite far removed, geographically, from China?]
U.S. must "respect facts, change its mindset and stop wrongdoing in
issuing similar reports year after year," a Chinese foreign ministry
spokesman stated.[So now we are being instructed by the Chinese that our very presence in an ally's country is "wrongdoing?"]
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
Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines have found themselves targeted
and bullied by China, ostensibly over old territorial disputes.
In reality, though, the belligerence is due to a Chinese military buildup and intent to throw its weight around in the region.
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.
Australia is an interesting target because, in one sense, China needs Australia far more than Australia needs China.
As John Daly of Oilprice.com points out, Australia is one of the few
countries that enjoys a trade surplus with China. The $15 billion
difference in trade is due to exports of iron and coal, two commodities
China cannot live without.
To intimidate a trading partner of such vital supplies seems
foolhardy. But it may be that China sees Australia's left-leaning
government as unpopular, politically weak and lacking in resolve.
The Chinese may also see President Obama and his administration the same way and therefore responsive to pressure.
That may or may not be true, but it lays to rest all those statements about China having peaceful intentions in the Pacific.
Crudely attempting to make Australia choose between allies and
trading partners is not a sign of peaceful intentions, but a warning of
worse to come.
China is claiming, quite literally, the entire South China Sea as its
territorial waters, including islands that are much closer to other
nations bordering the body of water, including Vietnam and the
Philippines. I wouldn't be surprised if the Philippines aren't wishing
the U.S. still had its significant military presence at Subic Bay and
Clark AFB right about now.
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