The emergence of China as the world’s new superpower has raised many questions in the international community and across the blogosphere regarding the longer-range agenda of the Middle Kingdom. In a recent discussion on this forum, the question of Chinese territorial ambitions was raised. Our own poster Crownarmourer made the point that over the past two millenia, the extent of China’s domain has waxed and waned. Does the twenty-first century incarnation of China hold ambitions of global hegemony? What you are about to read today may hold some clues.
In this third excerpt from Low Carbon Plot by Gou Hongyang, and translated into English by Locusts, the author examines in detail the position of America with regards to carbon emissions; specifically, the reluctance of successive U.S. administrations to put in place any binding controls on emissions of the kind stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol; quotes former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in saying that policy decisions of the U.S. government should always be based on national interests and not global interests. Coming from some left-wing political activist group, these sentiments would form part of the usual anti-American rhetoric. The Chinese, however, are actually praising America in this regard as being concrete realists, and suggesting that the Chinese themselves should use the same principle in formulating their own national policy.
The narrative then turns, pointedly and ominously, to the subject of the global deployment of the U.S. Navy and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. As the author puts it,
America has 7 fleets of aircraft carriers, America’s view on its freedom of movement in the world is placed here, the USA obviously wishing that its fleet have freedom of movement throughout the world, and can go wherever they wish to go.
In order to counter America’s control of the seas, a grouping of poor nations worked together through the United Nations and put forward a “The United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea”, to settle rights of passage in related areas. China, as the leader of the Third World, could naturally not just stand to one side. It not only got involved, but also led; and not only led, but also gave official approval.
Let’s put it like this, a group of poor guys wanted to counter the richest guy in the world, to divide the seas, with each one having rights over 200 nautical miles, could Uncle Sam not know? Was this not reducing America’s freedom of movement? To begin with, America resolutely opposed, and if the Government refused to sign the Agreement, there was little chance of obtaining the Senate’s approval ”The United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea” could only be a toy, whilst participants watched it die a natural death.
Without explicitly saying so, it is apparent from this that China holds at least some ambitions of projecting naval power beyond its own shores. The first and clearest zone of contention would be the East China Sea, and the island groups that are the subject of rival territorial claims, but one imagines it would hardly end there. Could the (presumably state-condoned) 50,000-strong anti-Japanese riot in Sichuan Province’s capital city Chengdu just three weeks ago be a coincidence?