<HTML><HEAD> <META name=GENERATOR content="MSHTML 8.00.6001.19019"></HEAD> <BODY> <H1 class="cN-headingPage prepend-5 span-11 last">Bluffing their way into crisis </H1> <DIV class="push-0 span-11 last"><!-- cT-storyDetails --> <DIV class="cT-storyDetails cfix"> <H5>Hugh White </H5><CITE>August 2, 2011</CITE> <P class=category>Opinion</P><!--<ul> --><!-- <p class="comments"> <a href="#comments">Comments <span>79</span></a> </p> --> <UL> <P class=comments><A href="http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/politics/bluffing-their-way-into-crisis-20110801-1i84l.html?comments=79#comments">Comments <SPAN>79</SPAN></A> </P></UL></DIV> <DIV id=googleAds class="ad adSpot-textBox"></DIV><BOD> <DIV class=articleBody><!-- cT-imagePortrait --> <DIV class=cT-imagePortrait><IMG alt="Illustration: Andrew Dyson." src="ctsdyson2-200x0.jpg"> <P>Illustration: Andrew Dyson. </P></DIV> <P><STRONG>Australia can play a role smoothing the waters between the US and China in the South China Sea. </STRONG></P> <P>Over the next few months, as Asia's leaders gather for their annual round of summits, we are going to hear a lot about the South China Sea. Australia doesn't care who owns the uninhabitable rocks and reefs that dot these waters, but we have a huge stake in an edgy game of double bluff that is playing out there.</P> <P>The issue no longer concerns the rocks themselves, or even the oil and gas that might lie around them. It is about the growing rivalry between America and China over who exercises power in Asia. Unless both countries are very careful, a small incident in the Spratly Islands could shatter the US-China relationship, plunge Asia into a major crisis, and destroy the foundations of Australia's foreign policy.</P> <P>Disputes over the Spratlys and other fly specks in the South China Sea have been around for decades, but they have taken a new turn since 2009, when China, after years of restraint, began to push its claims much more assertively. It started to describe its claim to almost the whole area as a ''core national interest'' and to more vigorously enforce those claims, especially against Vietnam and the Philippines.</P> <P>This has not been cost free for China. Its carefully cultivated image of a benevolent friend of south-east Asia has been badly dented. Why has China done it? Unfortunately, the most plausible answer is the most worrying - that the Chinese now feel strong enough to throw their weight around. Assertiveness in the South China Sea is only one sign of this. Since the global financial crisis, China has become notably bolder on many issues, and especially so on issues of maritime power in the western Pacific.</P> <P>This therefore seems a direct and deliberate challenge to America's position as the primary maritime power in Asia. That is certainly how Washington sees it. But it is a risky gambit, because a conflict with America would be a disaster for China. So Beijing presumably believes that America will back off and allow China to assert its claims to regional primacy. The trouble is that Washington has called their bluff.</P> <P>Since last year, the US has taken clear steps to counter China's challenge by stepping up its support for Vietnam and the Philippines. Hillary Clinton declared in Hanoi that America has ''national interests'' in the South China Sea. Other officials have reaffirmed US obligations to defend Philippine territory under their defence alliance, and the US Navy has conducted high-profile exercises in the area. All this has sent a clear and welcome message that Washington will support Hanoi and Manila in standing up to Beijing. America's stocks in south-east Asia have climbed as China's have dived.</P> <P>This all sounds good, but what happens next? This is not at all clear. The problem is less that America cannot afford a conflict with China and more that China can afford one with America. There is a big element of bluff in America's position, as well as China's. What if China calls America's bluff, just as America has called China's?</P> <P>In fact this seems to be exactly what is happening. Just over the past couple of months China has become even more forceful in asserting its claims over disputed waters against Vietnam, for example, twice cutting the seismic cables of Vietnamese survey ships.</P> <P>It is all too easy to imagine where this leads. In the next incident, Vietnam responds by attacking and sinking a Chinese patrol boat, China responds by sinking a Vietnamese ship, and as escalation looms Vietnam asks America for support.</P> <P>What does America do then? If it does no more than utter stern diplomatic warnings, Washington's bluff has been called and its place as Asia's dominant naval power takes a major knock. Its stocks in south-east Asia will plummet again, and China gets a big win. But if it offers Vietnam material help - especially if it sends ships of its own - it runs a major risk of being drawn into a serious conflict with China.</P> <P>And so do we. Recently, without much publicity, Australia and Japan participated in a combined naval exercise with the US in the South China Sea. The exercise itself was very small, but it was quite unprecedented and hence the message it sent was very powerful. The message was that America's closest allies in Asia support its policy of push-back against China. So, if China pushes back in its turn, we can be certain that Americans will seek and expect Australia to be there to support them if and when the shooting starts.</P> <P>Of course we hope it will not come to that. But already the US and China have got themselves to the point that neither side can step back without appearing to lose out to the other. In these situations it is terrifyingly easy for both to be drawn into a full-scale confrontation that would be a disaster for everyone.</P> <P>So what should Australia be doing? In the short term, we need to try to persuade both sides to back off without trying to score a win over the other. Neither Washington nor Beijing will want to hear this message, and by itself Australia cannot do much to persuade them, but we do not have to work alone. Our interests in avoiding a US-China war are shared by all our Asian neighbours. Marshalling the collective weight of Asia's middle powers to persuade both sides to cool off and step back calls for the kind of ''activist middle power diplomacy'' that Kevin Rudd is always talking about. And with the Asian leaders meeting over the next few months, now is the time to do it.</P> <P>In the long term, we will avoid endless replays of this kind of danger if the US and China can work out a new order in Asia. America must learn to acknowledge and accommodate China's growing power, and China must accept a continuing and central role for America. Otherwise the Asian Century will be a very dark time indeed.</P> <P><STRONG>Hugh White is professor of strategic studies at ANU and a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute.</STRONG></P> <P><STRONG>-----------</STRONG></P> <P class=cfix><SPAN><STRONG>79</STRONG> comments</SPAN></P> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Australia is a mere minnow in International Affairs, does one really think we are viewed as anything else?</P><CITE><B>Lionheart</B> | Gold Coast - August 02, 2011, 8:13AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>The sleeping dragon is awaking. America is bankrupt. Doesn't look good for anyone.</P><CITE><B>Growler</B> | Nimbin NSW - August 02, 2011, 8:57AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>I don't really think China gives a toss what Australia thinks. We've already assumed a subserviant position in terms of trade and allowing our farms, resource companies, and even residency to be sold off to the highest paying state owned enterprises and communist party members. China IS the Australian economy. China says "don't meet with the Dalai Lama", and our PM is suddenly too busy to meet him. As usual, we will play both sides until we see who will win, then jump on board with them.</P><CITE><B>Bob</B> - August 02, 2011, 9:02AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>History fails to record the existance of any nation which on attaining a significant military advantage over its neighbours has subsequently refrained from exploiting such power. If the past history of China is any indication it is doubtful that a new precedent of restraint is about to be set.</P><CITE><B>SteveH.</B> - August 02, 2011, 9:15AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>This sea is south of China, east of Vietnam, west of Philippines, but China has published maps claiming the "South China Sea" right down the Vietnam coast, across to Sarawak/Borneo and up adjacent to the Philippine coast. Why is China attacking Vietnamese ships 500 km south of Hainan island and 200 km off the central Vietnam coast? This cant be allowed - first step is change the name of this sea - to avoid the confusion - perhaps to the South East Asia Sea.</P><CITE><B>zwetschgen</B> - August 02, 2011, 9:39AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>In my opinion the greatest threat to the World Peace and Australia's Security is the looming critical global food shortage before 2050. D J Clark has recently produced a series of videos on this looming food crisis in Asia, see: http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/video/2011-06/15/content_12704749.htm.</P> <P>In this crisis there will be chaos and threat of a nuclear war in the Indian subcontinent. Australia is at risk of being conquered by a tsunami of millions of boatpeople from a pool of over 2,000,000,000 hungry Asians.</P> <P>If this scenario is right then we need USA, China, Japan and Korea to help us. These countries would help us in order to protect their access to resources in Australia by trade.</P> <P>USA and Australia need to focus on this Strategic Issue of global food shortages and the Indian Subcontinent rather than what is happening in the South China Sea. The ASEAN countries have grown up and USA and Australia must avoid getting sucked into their differences with China. These issues in the South China Sea are not strategic issues for USA and Australia.</P><CITE><B>Dr B S Goh</B> | Australian in Asia - August 02, 2011, 9:43AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Well if China must, as you suggest, accept "a continuing and central role for America" in the South China Sea then by the same logic the US must accept "a central role for China" in the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans. Oh, sorry! I forgot. We don't apply the same standards to our aggressive behaviour as we apply to "theirs", do we????</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 10:03AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>The US is not an Asian country, it has no place in Asia and its post-war role in Asia has been racist, subversive, violent and malignant. Thus post-1950 US Asian wars (in all of which Australia has participated) have been associated , so far, with about 26 million war-related deaths, the breakdown being 3 million (Korea), 13 million (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), 4.6 million (Iraq), 5.0 million (Afghanistan). In addition the US has variously subverted, threatened and supported violence in most other Asian countries from Occupied Palestine, Occupied Lebanon and Occupied Syria in the West to robot-bombed Pakistan in the East. </P> <P>In contrast, China has a remarkable record of non-imperialism since its incorporation of Tibet 800 years ago at the same time England was incorporating Wales, Scotland and Ireland.</P> <P>Decent Australians must protest the endless warmongering by the neocon Americans and their Australian puppets. Thus after WikiLeaks revealed Kevin Rudd suggesting war with China to Hilary Clinton and Kim Beazely offering Australian troops in that eventuality, former PM Malcolm Fraser revealed (in The Age) that back in the 1950s conservative Australian PM Robert Menzies had bluntly told the US that if it went to war with China Australia would NOT be involved.</P> <P>Thank goodness that America is broke and can't afford to kill Asians any more.</P><CITE><B>Dr Gideon Polya</B> | Macleod - August 02, 2011, 10:07AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>With the correct diplomacy, china will realise that its interest lies in realistic claims over the oceans. After all, China is more vulnerable than most in a sudden escalation of oceanic claims by Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. We take Oceanic travel in its current form as natural, but it could just as easy revert to closed zones patrolled by warships, with entry and exit costs. The freedom of the oceans is a legacy of the British Empire</P><CITE><B>colin</B> | melbourne - August 02, 2011, 10:13AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Timely remarks Hugh. We are all worried about the geo-political shifts that accompany changing economic power realtionships. The thinking seems to have been that it is best if China is in the tent.<BR>Well, examples such as the rare earths restrictions (a breach of the WTO rules), the support for North Korea and the recent troubles in the "South China Sea" make it clear that not only does the rule of law not apply inside China, it doesn't apply outside of China (as far as China is concerned).<BR>I concur that it is difficult to ascribe the actions of China in the SCS to anything other than than a belief that they can get away with it.<BR>The difficult and complex analysis covering history and the sense of entitlement that seems to exist in China is worth doing.<BR>I don't think that the ruling elites in China (CP) believe in any law except to the extent that it suits their interests. This includes international law. They are not alone in holding such views; neither does Robert Mugabe or Mr. Bashir. The difference is in their capacity to cause harm.<BR>I suspect the USA, Japan and Australia have made a considered decision that China (as it is presently governed) cannot be trusted. It may well be different in the future but in the immediate future we need to avoid appeasement creep. The consequences may be a disaster for all parties and we must strive to avoid such an outcome. However, if you back off enough, you will go over the cliff and it is in determining this point (the falling over one) that forms the heart of the defence policy position.<BR>Sometimes, things end badly.</P><CITE><B>Spunout</B> | DirectlyAboveYou - August 02, 2011, 10:23AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>America is uniquely poised at the moment to take a military loss of face from China. That's because Obama has just infuriated his left-wing base by accepting a deal with the Congress which doesn't raise taxes. Obama needs to win the left back on some other front to prevent them from organising towards a primary challenger from futher left of him. A diplomatic/military climb-down would be ideal. Seeing the US taken down a peg or several is like catnip to the Left there. B.O. could curry a lot of favour by swallowing some national pride and giving in to the Chicoms. </P> <P>As for Australia playing some kind of peace broker, it would be counterproductive for us to posture as some kind of morally superior voice of reason. They both know the score and they don't need advice from us, which would only annoy them. It would be like our Quixotic efforts to set an example to the world with the carbon dioxide tax: vain, presumptuous and counterproductive.</P><CITE><B>John A</B> | Sydney - August 02, 2011, 10:27AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@ lesm | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 10:03AM</P> <P>You are right. In Christianity and in the Confucius Philosophy a fundamental principle is: Do to others what you like others to do to you.</P> <P>The closest to a major nuclear war that the World had experienced was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Then the priest in my student dormitory gathered us together and ask us to get ready to meet God.</P> <P>Looking back I think the USA was the ultimate cause of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It should have learned an important lesson from that near death experiences in the Cuban Missiles Crisis.</P> <P>The USA then had nuclear missiles pointed at Moscow and these were based in Turkey. When the Soviets tried to follow the USA in its behavior the USA reacted like a mad man gone berserk.</P> <P>The World was within hours of a clash between Soviet Union and USA.</P> <P>Reading the recent book by Kissinger On China we find that there were many differences between China and USA but no serious strategic conflicts since 1971. </P> <P>USA which is quite broke should wake up to the reality of modern China and make a quiet withdrawal from East Asia. It must instead work with China to help maintain peace in the World with each having its sphere of influence.</P><CITE><B>Dr B S Goh</B> | Australian in Asia - August 02, 2011, 10:29AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>This Week's Whitewash Winner for Worldwide Imperialism:</P> <P>Dr. Gideon Polya</P> <P>Outstanding work Dr G, never history get in the way of a good lie.</P><CITE><B>SteveH.</B> - August 02, 2011, 10:33AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Good call on renaming the South China Sea to South East Asian Sea. ASEAN will be happy with this change. The European powers still hold onto many "possessions" in the Indian Ocean. Perhaps that should be renamed to Australoafroeurasian Sea before India, too, rises up and become assertive.</P><CITE><B>T</B> - August 02, 2011, 11:17AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@ Dr Gideon Polya:</P> <P>I think you have missed the core issue of this opinion piece, and that is that China is unfairly exerting its weight against its smaller Asian neighbours (Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia etc). In this case, it is up to countries like the US, Australia and even the EU to intervene, because an aggressive (and cowardly) Chinese military is not good news for Asian stability.</P> <P>Acts like cutting the Vietnamese shipping cab;es would be construed as an act of war if it were committed against China, and so for the Chinese to be doing this in Vietnamese territory is an outrage, and terrifying. These aggressive acts cannot go unchecked, and I believe a strong, unified stance is required. </P> <P>Whatever your thoughts on American activity in Asia may be (and I agree that it is negative), it isn't fair for Vietnam and the Philippines to be left to fend for themselves against an almost tyrannical naval regime. In contemporary times, the world has looked to the US for leadership in these matters, and that is not an easy position to hold. </P> <P>I think you should stick to biochemistry.</P><CITE><B>Jazza</B> | Melbourne - August 02, 2011, 11:21AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Gideon Polya as always makes a good deal of sense. He decorates his blogs with facts that are checkable and come from pretty reliable sources. Unlike others who adorn their posts with infantile statements and unsubstantiated allegations. Well done Dr Polya!!!</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 11:22AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@Dr Gideon Polya | Macleod - August 02, 2011, 10:07AM: "China has a remarkable record of non-imperialism since its incorporation of Tibet 800 years ago"</P> <P>Umm... what?</P> <P>Yuan Dynasty: Japan - 1274, 1281; Vietnam - 1257, 1278-1288; Champa - 1283; Korea - 1231 to 1270; Java 1293.</P> <P>Ming Dynasty: Yunnan - 1382; Native Office established to control SE Asia by threat of force - 1377; Mng Mao polity - 1387; Lanna - 1405; Vietnam - 1406, 1407. </P> <P>Qing Dynasty: Korea - 1627, 1636; Taiwan - 1683; Burma - 1765 to 1769; Dzungar Khanate (Xinjiang) - 1755; Tibet - 1905.</P> <P>PRC: Tibet - 1951; East Turkestan (Xinjiang) - 1949; Vietnam - 1979.</P><CITE><B>Atticus Dogsbody</B> | Melb. - August 02, 2011, 11:26AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@ lesm</P> <P>I suppose thats the kind of conclusion one comes to when you get your get your history lessons from a highly regarded speech therapist.</P><CITE><B>SteveH.</B> - August 02, 2011, 11:38AM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>SteveH,</P> <P>Thank you for revealing who you get your history lessons from but I think I already knew that!!</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 12:12PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Gideon Polya 10.07<BR>After all that blather, what is your suggested solution in the South China Sea? And why use the pretentious and self satisfied Dr. prefix when you are merely commenting on International Affairs, in which you are no more qualified or informed than many others? The reality is that those Countries opposed to Chinese Nationalist expansion must find a way to allow China to back away without excessive loss of face. I would suggest the only practical solution is to set the respective claims before an International Court and definitive possession of the Spratly's be established once and for all. In my opinion China's resolve and local ambitions will diminish quickly now that it is aware that the International community will not tolerate localized aggression. A stitch in time.</P><CITE><B>rext</B> - August 02, 2011, 12:42PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>China is way ahead of broke USA, ever heard of the Gwadar port project and the Karakarum H'way? Not heard of BRICS either?</P><CITE><B>Mazanbic</B> | paradise - August 02, 2011, 12:46PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@Dr G, propaganda is in your genes, China has never been imperialism? Why Chinese called their kings emperors? </P> <P>China was a small Han occupant land around Shanghai, Chinese took Korean land from Shanghai to north Beijin, and Annam land to the south, Quandon, canton all belong to Vietnamese land. To the West belong to Minorities, such as Turk, Tibet, Hmong, etc ..<BR>Vietnamese, Japanese, and Korean will take their land back someday. Chinese already lost demonstration war against Vietnam 1979, so Chinese has more enemies than they think they have.</P><CITE><B>Elite</B> | Lidcombe - August 02, 2011, 12:54PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>The narrative that the US is sticking up for smaller nations trying to maintain their independence is dated. The same thing occurred in the 60s when the US had to protect the poor, besieged dictator of South Vietnam.</P> <P>Asian nations with an American military presence (such as Japan, Korea, the Philippines) are in a stronger position to resist Chinese demands, but they can hardly exert a political position that is independent of what the US demands. It is a questions of spheres of influence between China and the USA. Hugh White clearly recognises this, but some posters here do not. </P> <P>Australia would have to be mad to support anyone in a confrontation with China. America may express its claims for the moral high ground in a language we understand, while the Chinese speak a near incomprehensible language full of cultural references that are alien to most Australians. Yet America's moral credentials stand at zero and we'd be foolish to start believing them anytime soon. </P> <P>Australia is best off to control the ownership of our natural resources as much as we can so that we can continue selling iron ore and all the rest to China at outrageous prices!!!</P><CITE><B>CT</B> | sydney - August 02, 2011, 12:56PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Dr. Polya 10.07<BR>Doctor of what? Certainly not International History, or did you merely forget or not know of China's invasion of Vietnam in 1979?</P><CITE><B>fredblogs</B> - August 02, 2011, 1:06PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Hugh, you forgot to mention the live fire exercise held last September with HMAS Waramanga and PLAN frigate Luoyang. The USN and the JSDF Nay were not involved.</P> <P>Commander Bruce Legge, the Australian frigate's commanding officer, says even though Australia is a close ally of the United States, tensions between Washington and Beijing are not any of his business.</P> <P>"Well I don't even think it's necessary to have the US here because it allows Australia to just concentrate on working together," he said.</P> <P>"You know we're working very closely with China, we certainly don't need America to do that and you can see just how forward we're moving with this."</P> <P>Hmmm...</P><CITE><B>Ian</B> | Sydney - August 02, 2011, 1:13PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@ Atticus Dogsbody | Melb. - August 02, 2011.<BR>Your knowledge of the history of China is impressive.<BR>May I add that the Yuan Dynasty was established by the Mongolian descendents of Genghis Khan. I am curious why you did not add the conquests of Eastern Europe and part of Germany by Genghis Khan.</P> <P>I also like to add that the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644  1911) were established by the Manchus who were "foreigners" to China. So history question is who conquer who?</P><CITE><B>Dr B S Goh</B> | Australian in Asia - August 02, 2011, 1:18PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@ lesm</P> <P>I notice you and the good doctor are not bothering to refute the list of Chinese imperialist adventures provided by Atticus. </P> <P>Lets just roll those credits again in case you missed them:</P> <P>Yuan Dynasty: Japan - 1274, 1281; Vietnam - 1257, 1278-1288; Champa - 1283; Korea - 1231 to 1270; Java 1293.</P> <P>Ming Dynasty: Yunnan - 1382; Native Office established to control SE Asia by threat of force - 1377; Mng Mao polity - 1387; Lanna - 1405; Vietnam - 1406, 1407. </P> <P>Qing Dynasty: Korea - 1627, 1636; Taiwan - 1683; Burma - 1765 to 1769; Dzungar Khanate (Xinjiang) - 1755; Tibet - 1905.</P> <P>PRC: Tibet - 1951; East Turkestan (Xinjiang) - 1949; Vietnam - 1979</P><CITE><B>SteveH.</B> - August 02, 2011, 1:21PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>I repeat that China's history for centuries has been inward looking and one of non-imperialism outside its immediate region. There were inevitably demands for tribute from immediate neighbors in its sphere of interest and inevitable border conflicts, the most recent being transient spats with India, Russia and Vietnam.</P> <P>In marked contrast, Australia has an appalling secret genocide history, an involvement in over 20 genocidal atrocities, overwhelmingly in remote, non-contiguous countries, and of which some are ongoing (genocides as defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention) (for details simply Google "Australia's secret genocide history"). </P> <P>As for Tibet ("Chinese" for half a millennium longer than Scotland has been "British"), according to the UN ESCAP the infant mortality rate ["under-5 infant deaths per 1,000 births"] in Tibet had fallen from 430 per 1,000 in 1951, to 91.8 per 1,000 in 1990 and to 35.3 per 1,000 by the year 2000  as compared to 34 for China as a whole in 2000 according to the UN Population Division. </P> <P>In contrast, according to WHO infant mortality in Australian-occupied Afghanistan is 199 per 1,000 as compared to 5 per 1,000 in Australia - a continuing war crime by the Australian and US Alliance Occupiers. </P> <P>.</P><CITE><B>Dr Gideon Polya</B> | Macleod - August 02, 2011, 1:33PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Countries in the world act to serve their national interests. The US's involvement in Asia such as the sale of arms to Taiwan in 2010 and now the interference of the South Asia Sea territorial dispute between China and Vietnam act as a pathway for the US to access the Asian countries and also to limit the exponential growth of power of China. However, the US must be careful to not damage its economic ties it has with China as it also serves its economic national interest of sustaining its economic development. In turn, Australia needs to consider the growing economic ties we have with China and the diplomatic ties we have with the US. Although Australia is a medium power in the Asia-pacific, however, our stance on the issue will matter nontheless.</P><CITE><B>Mary</B> | Australia - August 02, 2011, 2:10PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>SteveH,</P> <P>Well Atticus does appear to be taking some diabolical liberties with the language. </P> <P>(Yuan Dynasty: Japan 1274,) Undertaken by the Mongols, not the Chinese.<BR>(Vietnam-1257, 1278-1288)) Undertaken by the Mongols, not the Chinese.<BR>(Champa-1283) Undertaken by the Mongols, not the Chinese.<BR>(Korea-1231 to 1270) Undertaken by the Mongols, not the Chinese.<BR>(Java 1293) Undertaken by the Mongols, not the Chinese.</P> <P>You do understand that the Mongols are not Not Chinese don't you or do they all look the same to you?</P> <P>Ming Dynasty: Yunnan-1382) This was the expulsion of the Mongols from China by the Chinese. Hard to suggest this was some sort of Imperialism I suggest Steve old son!! Are you getting the message. I'm not going to bother to go through all of them as they all appear to involve a deliberate mis-representation of Chinese history. If you want to believe in the horse-shit that Atticus is peddling you go right ahead as it seems pretty consistent with your usual approach!!!!</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 2:15PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>And what if China requests the Trillion$ back from the good ol USA? Then there will be trouble!</P><CITE><B>size 12</B> | in a frock - August 02, 2011, 2:16PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@ Dr. Gideon</P> <P>Seeing as your so interested in death rates I thought you might care to peruse this article:</P> <P>"Mr Diktter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years; the worldwide death toll of the Second World War was 55 million.</P> <P>Mr Diktter is the only author to have delved into the Chinese archives since they were reopened four years ago. He argued that this devastating period of history  which has until now remained hidden  has international resonance. "It ranks alongside the gulags and the Holocaust as one of the three greatest events of the 20th century.... It was like [the Cambodian communist dictator] Pol Pot's genocide multiplied 20 times over," he said. </P> <P>Between 1958 and 1962, a war raged between the peasants and the state; it was a period when a third of all homes in China were destroyed to produce fertiliser and when the nation descended into famine and starvation, Mr Diktter said.<BR>"<BR>http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/maos-great-leap-forward-killed-45-million-in-four-years-2081630.html</P><CITE><B>SteveH.</B> - August 02, 2011, 2:22PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@Dr B S Goh | Australian in Asia - August 02, 2011, 1:18PM: "May I add that the Yuan Dynasty was established by the Mongolian descendents of Genghis Khan. I am curious why you did not add the conquests of Eastern Europe and part of Germany by Genghis Khan."</P> <P>I didn't mention the western Mongol conquests because by the founding of the Yuan Dynasty by Kublai Khan, there had been a rift amongst the grandsons and nephews of Genghis. The Yuan Dynasty (accepted as a Chinese dynasty) had little or nothing to do with those conquests.</P> <P>"I also like to add that the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644 "1911) were established by the Manchus who were 'foreigners'."</P> <P>The Qing Dynasty is also an accepted Chinese dynasty. The Manchu minzu and Mongol minzu have long been accepted as Chinese. There are currently 55 different Chinese minzu. Yes, the Han make up the vast majority, but China has always been much more than the Han.</P> <P>"So history question is who conquer who?"</P> <P>At some point everyone has conquered everyone, but we're talking about China and we don't get to fudge about who and what is Chinese.</P><CITE><B>Atticus Dogsbody</B> | Melb. - August 02, 2011, 2:26PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>.... "when China, after years of restraint, began to push its claims much more assertively....."</P> <P>Years of restraint? One only has to look at a map to see how ridiculous, unreasonable and unfair is China's claim over those waters. </P> <P>They are claiming sovereignty over ALL those waters bordered by Vietnam and the Philippines, allowing only a normal territorial coastline claim to each of those nations, while the nearest mainland Chinese coastline is 1000 Km north. A huge teardrop shaped claim over an ocean, with the claimed area nestled right up against the neighbouring coastlines.<BR>Even if they do claim some or all of the Spratley Islands - why is the extent of that claim not simply the territorial waters surrounding each of those islands?</P> <P>It defies all logic and any sense of fairness.</P><CITE><B>markx</B> | Indonesia - August 02, 2011, 2:26PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>I see that all the experts who have been systematically fed on a multiple dosage of the USA propaganda are busy trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Australia is a tiny population made up mostly of anglo saxon which has a policy of make believe that they are part of the Northern hemisphere. Australia has as much influence in the region as Bikini Island.</P><CITE><B>Mazanbic</B> | paradise - August 02, 2011, 2:29PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>There seems to a lot of debate on here as to whether China is, and has been, a fair and reasonable nation.</P> <P>You only have to look at the extent of the South China Sea claim to realise the answer to that question is "no".</P><CITE><B>markx</B> | Indonesia - August 02, 2011, 2:32PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>WIth the feedback in forums like these and the commentariat class in general, it doesn't appear to me that Australia and the US are allies. Australia only makes token military gestures to keep up appearances because anything more would disturb the generally anti-American Australian public.</P> <P>Perhaps deeper cuts in the US military are necessary to balance the US budget and client state backstabbers like Australia should be left swinging in the breeze. </P> <P>The Philippines are the only people in Australasia that matter to this seppo.</P> <P>Best of luck, Aussies.</P><CITE><B>kodiak</B> | Melbourne - August 02, 2011, 2:33PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@lesm | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 2:15PM: "You do understand that the Mongols are not Not Chinese don't you or do they all look the same to you?"</P> <P>The Yuan Dynasty is a Chinese dynasty (read my comment to Dr Goh). When you've spent a decade studying Chinese history and cultue, 5 years of that decade living, studying and travelling in China, come back and we'll talk about horse-shit.</P> <P>RS: &nbsp;S0  0 a </P><CITE><B>Atticus Dogsbody</B> | Melb. - August 02, 2011, 2:34PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Rubbish, China listens to no-one.<BR>With their economic rise (after dumping the proven failure of communism) their arrogance has reached new heights.</P> <P>China claims a maritime EEZ pretty much up to the beaches of the Philippines, Borneo and Vietnam, over 1500 km offshore from China in some places.</P> <P>They seem to believe that an EEZ equals territorial waters (no foreign ships without permission) and have shown their totalitarian government is not to be trusted.</P> <P>We must absolutely prevent any and all Chinese SOEs from purchasing any companies, mining rights or real estate in Australia.</P><CITE><B>JohnB</B> | Melbourne - August 02, 2011, 2:40PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Atticus Dogsbody,</P> <P>You appear unable to come to grips with the fact that Genghis Khan conquered China, not the other way around. It matters not that he then went on to conquer many other lands. That cannot be attributed to China. It is all the work of the Mongols. To suggest otherwise would be equivalent to suggesting that it was France that invaded Russia in the Second World War, not Germany. Are you getting the picture???</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 2:40PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>My My The Independent eh, the Uk newspaper owned by a Russian....A left leaning newspaper...Looks like steveH has no shame and or credibility.</P><CITE><B>Mazanbic</B> | paradise - August 02, 2011, 2:50PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@Atticus Dogsbody<BR>Uh, you do realise that there is a difference between restrospective recognised Chinese dynasties (like Yuan and Qing) and actual Chinese (Han-ruled) dynasties? The non-Han dynasties which the Han chinese considers periods of foreign occupation are only recognised NOW as Chinese dynasties to ensure harmonious co-existence and sense of belong between Han majority and the other 55 minorites groups currently in PRC.<BR>Suggest you look at the maps of dynasties that are ruled by Han Chinese in the last 1000 years (Ming, Song, PRC) and those ruled by non-Han. Everytime the Han ruled (including NOW as PRC) the borders SHRANK.</P><CITE><B>Charles</B> | Maidstone - August 02, 2011, 2:52PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@ lesm</P> <P>Like your mentor Chumpski you're a master of picking out the favourable from the unfavourable evidence. The Mongol Yuan dynasty certainly launched its own imperialistic attacks against Vietnam. </P> <P>However those are considered small beer incomparison to the three great periods of Chinese Imperialist occupation in Vietnam. The first 111 - 39 BC defeated by the Trung sisters.</P> <P>The second occupation 43 - 544 AD under the Han dynasty and the third period 602 - 905 AD under the Sui and Tang dynasties.</P> <P>However I'm sure you will find a way of ignoring this evidence.</P><CITE><B>SteveH.</B> - August 02, 2011, 2:57PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@ Dr Gideon Polya, The figures quoted are massively over inflated in most cases casualties. The deaths due to violence in Iraq are estimated to be 150,000 by an Iraqi family health survey and the deaths in excess of the normal background rate is estimated as 650,000 by the Lancet, which may not be taking fully into account migration. Likewise Vietnam (2-4million deaths) and Afghanistan(60,000). You are at least close with Korea. </P> <P>As to Tibet as far as I've been able to determine Tibet was as best a tributary to China before the 1950s and only for short periods. So no direct rule and a different culture and language. The way that the imperial chinese saw the world, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Burma and much of the area of Russian and Central asia were all considered Tributaries.</P> <P>Perhaps some research from peer reviewed sources would not be out of the question in future?</P><CITE><B>Alex</B> | Melbourne - August 02, 2011, 3:00PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>"Australia can play a role smoothing the waters between the US and China in the South China Sea."</P> <P>Umm, why not 'Denmark can can play a role...' or Chile or Germany?</P> <P>Are we looking for roles to help or are we looking for roles to make certain people feel important?</P> <P>Let 'em work out their own desires out I say. The Chinese are not incapable.</P> <P># It doesn't really matter what I think though because some ALP politician will now jump at the chance to back another diversion away from a turd of a tax and run away inflation. </P> <P>What do you say boys? How about another anti nuclear proliferation 'summit' in the Asia Pacific --where none of the nuclear powers bother attending again-- to be paid for by the Aus tax payer? <BR>*It would sure make those attending feel mighty important.*</P><CITE><B>Alex</B> | Finley NSW - August 02, 2011, 3:02PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Atticus Dogsbody,</P> <P>So you don't know that the Mongols and Chinese are different races then??????? You seem to have wasted your time in China then!!!!</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 3:12PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Love it...Wonderful stuff on Fox news O'Bama is anti america according to the neocon..commentators....The Tea Party is acting like terrorists according to Biden....And China should be worried about the US????. What a shame that the US political lunatics have such a big say on the lives of the good people of Australia. Calm down I am referring to the 20% of the population.</P><CITE><B>Mazanbic</B> | paradise - August 02, 2011, 3:13PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>SteveH,</P> <P>You are getting confused again old son!! Dr Polya referred to the last 800 years. I think the events you are describing might, just might, be a little older than that, don't you think???????</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 3:16PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Alex,</P> <P>Where is yours?????</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 3:18PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@lesm | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 2:40PM</P> <P>I am well aware that Genghis Khan conquered China, I am also aware that the Yuan Dynasty is a Chinese dynasty. You appear unable to come to grips with Chinese history and what China is. Perhaps you'll try to tell me that the actions of England under the Normans or the Tudors don't count because they weren't really English.</P> <P>It might surprise you to learn that the unification od North and South under the Yuan set up what essentially would be China in the modern era.</P> <P>Start here.<BR>Herbert Franke "From tribal chieftain to universal emperor and god: The legitimation of the Yuan dynasty" 1978</P><CITE><B>Atticus Dogsbody</B> | Melb. - August 02, 2011, 3:21PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Goodo John B lets.....Stop the Chinese buy companies or real estate...Would the same policy apply to not accepting Chinese money...or would you apply the famous Aussie hypocrisy in the case of Chinese money?</P><CITE><B>Mazanbic</B> | paradise - August 02, 2011, 3:21PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>An outbreak of hostilities is likely to be engaged primarily by the US employing the same means as that conducted in the Pacific War against the Japanese. That means the cut off of the Chinese from energy supplies sourced primarily in the middle east (Iran/Iraq) and North Africa. Central Asia overland supplies other than from Russia will likely remain dysfunctional as a result of the existing efforts. Without a British fleet in the Indian Ocean it brings the Indian Navy into prominence, they with the most rapidly increasing stocks of long range offensive weaponry and means of delivery in the world . They whose doctrine is now "bring war to enemy shores". This is the decisive element in preparations to launch hostilities against the Chinese. Australia's security interests would be subordinated to the weight of the US-Indian alliance short and long term from the date of that decision forward.</P> <P>The US navy's carriers are already strategically redundant if there is a confrontation with the Chinese because they cannot be defended against new generation missile attacks and hence can't get combat aircraft in range.</P> <P>The US's own wargaming is said to predict that an offensive war against East Asia would be lost. Engaging an Indian alliance might be their solution but it doesn't suit Australia's security interests short or long term so we must be wary of their attempts to deflect attention from their problems at home with false flag events and political coercion.</P> <P>China and Vietnam should wake up to themselves.</P><CITE><B>ciao</B> - August 02, 2011, 3:29PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Sadly everyone spends more on military equipment - to no one's benefit, except arms manufacturers and defense analysts.</P> <P>We should be making clear to the US behind closed doors we won't back them all the way, just as John Howard signaled we would not send forces to Iran</P><CITE><B>Lazy Guy</B> - August 02, 2011, 3:32PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Atticus Dogsbody, </P> <P>They were the actions of the Normans and the Tudors, not of the English. If you do the crime, own it!!</P> <P>I'll go with Charles of Maidstone on the issue of whether they were Chinese or Mongolian.The Han Chinese, whilst they have not been occupied by foreign invaders have, as Dr Polya suggests, not been an imperialistic power like the US. That is clear. The Mongols have long gone from China (heading towards 800 years, and in that time China has been largely inwardly focussed. It certainly has not spread its tentacles of empire around the globe as the US has done. At no time in its history did it have over 1,000 military bases on countries around the world. Nor was it demanding that the rest of the world do its bidding.</P> <P>That may not continue in the future, but if the last eight centuries are anything to go by, we have less to fear from them than we did from the US!!</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 3:34PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@Charles | Maidstone - August 02, 2011, 2:52PM:</P> <P>Once again I'll explain. The Yuan and Qing Dynasties and official, legitimate, accepted Chinese dynasties. The actions under those dynasties are Chinese actions.</P> <P>"Suggest you look at the maps of dynasties that are ruled by Han Chinese in the last 1000 years (Ming, Song, PRC) and those ruled by non-Han. Everytime the Han ruled (including NOW as PRC) the borders SHRANK."</P> <P>Song - wrong<BR>Ming - correct, because the Ming were unable to gain all the territory held by the Yuan.<BR>PRC - wrong</P> <P>You guys are trying to make a case for an explicitly Han China, sorry, but China and it's history, especially the last 1000 years, is much more than that.</P><CITE><B>Atticus Dogsbody</B> | Melb. - August 02, 2011, 3:35PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@lesm | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 3:34PM: "They were the actions of the Normans and the Tudors, not of the English. If you do the crime, own it!!"</P> <P>Oh, dear God, someone let the weasel out!</P> <P>"The Han Chinese, whilst they have not been occupied by foreign invaders have, as Dr Polya suggests, not been an imperialistic power like the US. That is clear."</P> <P>This is even stupider that the England comment. How the hell do you think there got to be a Chinese "empire" in the first place?</P> <P>"The Mongols have long gone from China (heading towards 800 years"</P> <P>Really, did you know that the Chinese Mongolian population is greater than that of Mongolia?</P> <P>"and in that time China has been largely inwardly focussed."</P> <P>True, but not completely as I posted earlier</P> <P>Ming Dynasty: Yunnan - 1382; Native Office established to control SE Asia by threat of force - 1377; Mong Mao polity - 1387; Lanna - 1405; Vietnam - 1406, 1407.</P> <P>Qing Dynasty: Korea - 1627, 1636; Taiwan - 1683; Burma - 1765 to 1769; Dzungar Khanate (Xinjiang) - 1755; Tibet - 1905.</P><CITE><B>Atticus Dogsbody</B> | Melb. - August 02, 2011, 3:51PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@lesm | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 3:12PM</P> <P>I missed this comment earlier.</P> <P>"So you don't know that the Mongols and Chinese are different races then??????? You seem to have wasted your time in China then!!!!"</P> <P>Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!!!!!</P> <P>I know that the Han and the Mongols are different ethnic groups, I also know that the Han and Mongols are both Chinese ethnic groups.</P><CITE><B>Atticus Dogsbody</B> | Melb. - August 02, 2011, 3:55PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Atticus Dogsbody,</P> <P>China has not, repeat has not, in the last 1,000 years, engaged in an expansionist strategy to dominate the rest of the world, as the US has done, and has admitted to wanting to do in government document after government document since the Second World War. </P> <P>Do you believe that they have? If so provide the evidence!! Any suggestion that they have will have to contend with the reality that they have been singularly unsuccessful in doing so. Their influence to date cannot even extend to uncontested control over their contiguous seas as this article makes clear. If they haven't then drawing parallels with the US are otious and unwarranted.</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 3:56PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>International relationships between countries are complex and dynamical.</P> <P>Those interested in China and China future relationship with Australia should read Kissinger latest book On China.</P> <P>Here we are arguing how naughty China was to attack Vietnam in 1979. </P> <P>If you read Kissinger's book you may be surprised to learn that China discussed with USA one month before it attacked Vietnam in 1979 its plans for the attack and the reason why. Then USA and China have the shared objective of keeping Vietnam out of Kampuchea.</P> <P>Let us hope Australia is never the pawn in the Game between China and USA.</P> <P>Another interesting explanation why USA and China got together in 1971 was because the Soviet Union at that time tried to ask USA for tacit support for the Soviet Union to attack China by Nuclear Weapons and destroy China's new nuclear weapons.</P> <P>Let us all hope there will be PEACE in our region.</P><CITE><B>Dr B S Goh</B> | Australian in Asia - August 02, 2011, 3:59PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Atticus Dogsbody,</P> <P>We have already demonstrated that many of these single word quotes of yours are attempts to distort the historical record. I am tired of it. When you can demonstrate that the Chinese have run a world wide empire like the US has for the last sixty years come back and tell me about it!!!</P><CITE><B>lesm</B> | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 4:15PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@lesm | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 3:56PM: "China has not, repeat has not, in the last 1,000 years, engaged in an expansionist strategy to dominate the rest of the world"</P> <P>WEASEL! This "rest of the world" phrase has just arrived in the conversation. This isn't Calvinball, but I'll address it briefly.</P> <P>In the last thousand years China has engaged in expansionist/imperialistic strategies within their sphere of influence. They have not, until very recently, had the ability to influence the rest of the world in such a manner.</P> <P>If they did have the ability, would they have tried to dominate in the manner of the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, British, French, Germans, Japan, Russia/Soviet Union? Maybe yes, maybe no. I would say - probably, yes, because, if you look at history there has been no group (tribe, nation, empire, state etc.) that hasn't tried to gain influence commensurate with its power.</P> <P>Basically, you're claiming that I'm saying China is the same as the U.S. I'm not. I have explained my feeings on U.S. foreign policy in other threads, they're no secret. What I am saying is that your knowledge and assumptions about China (a place I know and love) and its long complex history are incorrect.</P> <P>Have a nice day.</P><CITE><B>Atticus Dogsbody</B> | Melb. - August 02, 2011, 4:31PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@lesm | Balmain - August 02, 2011, 4:15PM: "We have already demonstrated that many of these single word quotes of yours are attempts to distort the historical record."</P> <P>What? You haven't demonstrated anything, the invasions that happened under the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties happened, you have shown that you don't understand the historical record and are trying to distort it, using weaseling and straw men, to make a claim about the United States.</P> <P>The rest of your comment I have addressed in a pervious post. I don't disagree with you about U.S. imperialism, but stop trying to compare apples and oranges.</P><CITE><B>Atticus Dogsbody</B> | Melb. - August 02, 2011, 4:43PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@ markx: it is very stupid to claim that you can determine the justice or injustice of China's claim by looking at a map. Australia's claim over the entire territory of Tasmania (leaving none for PNG) would not be unfair because Tasmania has historically been a part of Australia and not PNG. Sovereignty is not determined by 'fairness' or even geographical distance (though that may be relevant under the norms of international law).</P> <P>That is not to say that China's sovereignty over the South China Sea is anywhere as clear cut as that of Australia over Tasmania. I will reserve judgement on that except to say that I think that it has a stronger historical claim than some, if not all, of the other disputants.</P> <P>But the question posed by the article is whether Australia can be an 'honest broker' in this issue. To my mind the answer is definitely not. The Western (including Australian) governments and media have tended to cast the dispute in terms of Chinese aggression, such that provocations by the Chinese side are characterised as aggression (e.g. cutting cables) while provocations by smaller countries are ignored (e.g. firing shots at Chinese ships or arresting sailors). </P> <P>No doubt the West would argue that any bias is due to an instinct to support the underdog, and a natural sympathy for other (ostensibly) democratic countries over a totalitarian government. This may be the case. But it is near certain that the Chinese government and people will see it as another example of the West trying to stymie their rise, and, frankly, there is a lot of evidence for that proposition too. In any case, true or not, the perception of bias alone rules Australia out as a mediator.</P><CITE><B>Rubadubadoobag</B> | Melbourne - August 02, 2011, 5:04PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>To the extent that the US has "engaged in an expansionist strategy to dominate the rest of the world...since the Second World War" it is because of that very fact - namely, to try to avoid having to fight another war like World War II. In any event, much of its positioning in the decades following the World War II was "defensive" in nature -for example, in Europe to prevent Russian expansion into Western Europe, in Korea to prevent the communist "dagger threatening the heart of Japan" (and the rest of Asia) - and, not to forget (somewhat ironically), in sending General Marshall to China in 1946 to try and negotiate a peace between the Communists and the Nationalists.</P><CITE><B>WKA</B> | Sydney - August 02, 2011, 5:05PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@ lesm</P> <P>One of the reasons academic historians snigger at Chumpski's attempts at (re)writing history is because he uses the same devices as you use to waterboard the evidence into submission. The last Chinese military incursion into Vietnam only occurred a few decades ago not 800 years ago. One could easily point out that Chinese claims on Tibet are based on imperial dynastic marriages, or that the occupation of Taiwan only occurred as recently as the 17th Century not 800 years ago. Distort away Les, the true facts are still easily accessible for anyone who cares to look.</P><CITE><B>SteveH.</B> - August 02, 2011, 5:07PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@Atticus Dogsbody<BR>Prove I am wrong. Show me the evidence<BR>Song dynasty: did it shrink or expand during its rule? North Song and then South Song. Song had the highest GDP and most advanced technology in the WORLD at the time.<BR>Ming dynasty: Really only because Ming can't hold on? They overthrown the Mongols... Who is stronger than they are militarily during that period? They sailed the seas (Zheng He), they came, they saw and they DID NOT conquer. <BR>PRC: Sorry you are wrong again. Look at the map of Qing dynasty and compare to PRC.</P><CITE><B>Charles </B>| Maidstone - August 02, 2011, 5:11PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Why do the yanks always say ...The Americam people... when they are in fact talking about the people of the United States of America. They do not speak on behalf of Canada, Mexico,Peru, Brazil ,Argentina, colombia and all the other countries in America south and North...The folie de grandeur of the yanks appears not to know boundaries, I have never heard China calling the other neighbour countries as China and their inhabitants as the people of China.</P><CITE><B>Mazanbic</B> | paradise - August 02, 2011, 5:18PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Most of today's contributions are about the history of China and whether or not given its history China will become anywhere close to the mixed up bully and missionary like the USA.</P> <P>China has undergone incredible changes in the past 100 years. Even under the present political and ruling Party there has been dramatic changes. The present Govt could not be further from the Govt during the Cultural Revolution. Then continuous revolution was the catch cry and today the emphasis is on a stable harmonious Society.</P> <P>Look at Japan and Germany during the Second World War. They descended close to the bottom of human depravity. Yet today Germans and Japanese are fantastic people.</P> <P>I think USA should make a quiet strategic withdrawal from East Asia</P><CITE><B>Dr B S Goh</B> | Australian in Asia - August 02, 2011, 5:27PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>What the? China is feeding Australians today...And the experts at everything on this blog worry about what China did or did not do 800 years ago. I reckon that China would gain a lot by dumping Australia as a customer and supplier. More respect both cultural and as a friend would be given to China in other countries, so why bother with a country of 20 odd million that has no respect for China, a country without whose buying power would soon see Aussies walking down the street eating dry bread and dripping.</P><CITE><B>Mazanbic</B> | paradise - August 02, 2011, 5:28PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>The Chinese DF 21D ballistic anti-ship missile already spells the end of US carrier power anywhere within 2000 miles of the Chinese mainland.</P> <P>I applaud Gideon Polya's comment. Same story with cold war Russia. How about trying to see things from their point of view before judging them.</P> <P>I'm seriously concerned, though, that Rudd would have entertained the possibility of war with China. I'm roughly quoting a 1950s source from Denis Healey's autobiography: "If you can defeat an enemy on your own, fight. If you can defeat an enemy with the help of allies, fight. If the enemy is China, don't fight."</P><CITE><B>davoid</B> | Lancaster UK - August 02, 2011, 5:49PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>China is not a friendly country. Never was and never will be. Australians need to realise that the chinese will turn against us when it suits them. Don't think that the chinese won't use force to take our resources in the future if they have the strength to do it (why do you think they are buying our farmland and mines?). We need a world dominated by rational democratic western nations like the US, when the chinese dominates the world, there will be world war 3!</P><CITE><B>australiabeware</B> - August 02, 2011, 5:50PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@Charles | Maidstone - August 02, 2011, 5:11PM:</P> <P>I should have read your first comment more closely, then I would have realised that you are fenqing.</P> <P>The size of China was nearly tripled during the Northern Song, it lost a third of its size during the Southern, but was still twice the size than when the Song Dynasty began.</P> <P>The Ming were not able to expand into the steppes in the North, the other steppe tribes (not just the Mongols) were too strong. They expanded in the south, as I mentioned earlier:</P> <P>Yunnan - 1382; Native Office established to control SE Asia by threat of force - 1377; Mong Mao polity - 1387; Lanna - 1405; Vietnam - 1406, 1407.</P> <P>What does Zheng He have to do with anything? He was an explorer and trader, and had little to do with the above mentioned military expeditions, although the Native Office made his travels in parts of SE Asia much easier.</P> <P>"Sorry you are wrong again. Look at the map of Qing dynasty and compare to PRC."</P> <P>Silly fenqing. After the fall of Qing and during the time of the ROC, China lost territory, not because they were being peaceful, but because of turmoil. At the establishment of the PRC in 1949 China did not control Tibet or East Turkestan.The PRC took Tibet by force in 1950. East Turkestan is much more complicated. Unfortunatly for you, after 1949, the PRC expanded.</P><CITE><B>Atticus Dogsbody</B> | Melb. - August 02, 2011, 5:54PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>@Dr Gideon Polya</P> <P>As usual, your bigoted, racist, anti-American view comes out in a flurry of what is now a cut-and-paste job. citing xxx million deaths here or yyy millions there. You failed to mention the tens of millons killed by Mao or Stalin or Pol Pot or the Japanese during WWII. Brilliant (sarcasm intended). You have succeeded in allowing some of your points (some of which have merit) be drowned by the bigoted and racist, anti-American hatred you have.</P><CITE><B>Typical</B> | Sydney - August 02, 2011, 5:54PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>It is disturbing that commentators on both sides here want to attribute "aggressive" or "peaceful" characteristics to countries on the basis of the history of their rulers. I am particularly disappointed that Lesm, motivated by a praiseworthy scepticism about Australian and US imperialism, has volunteered as defence lawyer for China.</P> <P>The discussions on Chinese history have revealed what most historians know - that States wage war when the rulers judge they can profit from it. Good historians also know that the nation State is a recent innovation, with State borders rarely coinciding with boundaries between ethnic groups and with States routinely containing several or even a multitude of nations. In this context, judging the moral qualities of a nation from the actions of its rulers over millenia is ludicrous.</P> <P>Hugh White's thesis, that the best thing that the Australian Government can do is to urge both the US and China to back off, is correct. Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely to be very successful, because Australia is correctly perceived as cemented into the US alliance. The best shot would be to round up ASEAN and try getting a co-ordinated position from it.</P> <P>In the long run, though, only the international solidarity of workers can prevent war. Workers in each and every country have the responsibility and the power to oppose the war factions at home and build solidarity with workers in other lands instead. We can and must make war impossible by opposing "our" own militaries first and foremost.</P> <P>The real enemy is at home.</P><CITE><B>Greg Platt</B> | Brunswick - August 02, 2011, 11:48PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Professor White is a highly respected analyst and once again he has produced an apt assessment of the situation, the dangers inherent and a recommendation for action.<BR>Two things we must accept. One is that China wants to be and will be a blue water naval power. Second - and you may dispute this but in my view it's something the rest of the world needs to take on board, China is hell bent on being No.1, whatever that means. The first metric in that chase is GDP. Most analysts now accept that, that milestone is inevitable. It probably is. Still, China may be a current and future super power but it will still have to share toys in the global sandpit with all the other kids. No one likes a bully and it is not in China's interests to have other powers go out of their way to coalesce to limit its influence. The kids in the sandpit need to learn how to play together and respect each other. That includes the big kids as well as the little tikes. Level headed states like Australia and Singapore have a very important role to play to moderate the tone and stick to impartial principles. China has a right to move around the seas as much as the US. The world is going to have to accept China's rise, like it or not. All the more reason why respect for international agreements, reciprocal port visits and the like will become increasingly important in the years to come.</P><CITE><B>James Ward</B> | Singapore - August 02, 2011, 11:39PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>china, vietnam, north korea and cuba are the only countries that are still ruled by their communist parties. they are consider themselves as blood brothers protecting each others further developing/ flourishing their communism philosophy. why on earth would china going to attack vietnam? (sarcasm intended).</P> <P>china stands to loose if it engages in a war with any of its neighbours not military but in term of its economic development and its political stability, in long run it will not escape political instability regardless. they know this and that why they do what they are doing (testing water). the article is suggesting what australia could do to avert an unlikely event of a major war breakout which could start by a mere incident which possibly involves nuclear weapon.</P><CITE><B>don</B> | maidstone - August 02, 2011, 9:48PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Yet another academic study from the comfort of an armchair. The plain fact is China has big elbows, one only need look at Tibet, where the place is now referred to as 'Our Chinese Water Tower', given that 6500 cubic kms of water is locked up there. Meanwhile the Tibetans are on well down the road to serfdom.</P> <P>Much the same real estate posturing has been going on in the Sth China sea, and if a stand isn't taken it will simply be another repeat of Tibet. Meanwhile a few armchair academics who seem to know little about one of the worlds most important shipping lanes advocate that it should be colonised too. In other words hand it to a sovereign state so they make act as gatekeepers</P> <P>Put simply, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and others have long standing and valid claims, yet China has already started testing them via their own form of thuggery</P> <P>Make no bones about it, the US military machine is equal to the combined forces of the rest of the world combined - And they know it. Thus China has a problem</P><CITE><B>Garry</B> | Melb - August 02, 2011, 8:16PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Cant understand why such serious forums degenerate into blather, slather and slander instead of discussing the current issue = China's claim for all of the "South China Sea". On that theme on must also ask why China is rapidly expanding it's navy including commissioning of aircraft carriers. Of course Australia has little influence but can surely contribute as a rational, reasonable international voice. As for the US, I would suggest they may take up Vietnam's invitation to base a ships at Cam Ran Bay, which incidently is almost adjacent the scene of the recent Chinese action against Vietnamese survey vessels. Lastly, regarding China's invasion of Vietnam in 1979 one should not forget this was punishment for Vietnam entering Cambodia to overthrow the murderous Pol Pot Khmer Rouge regime a long time ally of China's. Whether China discussed this "punishment" with the US first or not, may be open to debate, after all these 2 countries were hardly on intimate terms at the time. But we should also remember the US was nursing a large bruise after losing the Vietnam war and would not have minded at all that communist Vietnam was to be punished by communist China.<BR>Friends let's stop the personal comments and stick with the debate which is, is China's grab for all of this sea in any way justifiable and if not, how best to persuade China their claim is invalid and provocative.</P><CITE><B>zwetschgen</B> - August 02, 2011, 7:43PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P></P> <P>Australia should stay out of the way of these two giants. Nose to the grindstone, keep a looooooww profile. The last thing we need is grandstanding ego driven politicians (yes, they do exist) getting us sucked into a global power play that is totally beyond us because they want to make a big splash on the world stage through their international buffoonery.</P><CITE><B>Jim, there's life here but not as we know it.</B> | Melbourne - August 02, 2011, 6:11PM </CITE></BLOCKQUOTE> <P><B>Comments are now closed</B></P> <DIV style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; COLOR: rgb(0,0,0); OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none"><BR>Read more: <A style="COLOR: rgb(0,51,153)" href="http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/politics/bluffing-their-way-into-crisis-20110801-1i84l.html#ixzz1U74B7d00">http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/politics/bluffing-their-way-into-crisis-20110801-1i84l.html#ixzz1U74B7d00</A><BR></DIV></DIV></BOD></DIV></BODY></HTML>