Chinese Expansionism: South China Sea and the Other Regions

South China Sea

  Mami Yamazaki

 Department of International Studies

 Open University of Japan

 Chiba, Japan


Recently Chinese People's Liberation Army (Naval) along with Chinese Coast Guard conducted a military drill in South China Sea. Chinese Government has a big aspiration to become a global power. This aspiration is a result of manifold achievements in the sector of economy. The US also sent two aircraft carriers The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan to do operations and make sure free navigation in Indo-Pacific region. Though the US Naval Force has denied any kind of retaliation; apparently this exercise was to check and balance the activities of Chinese army.

Around $3 trillion of trade passes through South China Sea, each year. This naturally rich region became a bone contention among Chinese neighbors viz Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam claim territory in the South China Sea. Indonesia is also concerned about the Chinese exercises. China began to build seven artificial island in the area in 2010. In 2016 these construction and overall activities of the Chinese Government were termed ‘illegal’ by an international court. The Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague, Netherlands, is said to give a decision on 12 July in matter of the case files by the Philippines.   

China has been involved in military altercations along with Japan and India too. Indian army personnel and Chinese military men were killed and the tension is still high along with Line of Actual Control (LAC) an imaginative boarder line not accepted by either side. Narendra Modi, PM of India paid a surprise visit to border Leh to boost the morale of their army. It is not yet known if there is any progress to normalize the situation through diplomatic channel. Chinese navy vessels frequently navigate near Senkaku Islands of Japan. The Japanese government has recorded many protests for these unwanted navigation activities but there is hardly any improvement in Chinese mindset. 

In the meanwhile, Hong Kong is severely disturbed by pro-democratic protests. Various autocratic laws are imposed on the citizens curbing freedom of speech. A number of sanctions  have been imposed by Global community taking into the considerations of Chinese adamant attitude towards Hong Kong. China faced the heat of Covid-19 pandemic. The economy was affected. During this period Hong Kong was peaceful because of lockdown. But the protests erupt again. 

Just look the history of Chinese expansionism. The autonomous region of Tibet was captured in 1958. Now, people of mainland China injected in the social system of Tibet to ‘naturalize’ the area. The Tibetan leader Dalai Lama is still living in an asylum in India. Since WW-II China was eying to weaken the neighboring countries including Japan. Almost all of its neighbors are engage with one or other type dispute. South China Sea is well contested territory now-a-days. The Permanent Court of Arbitration, Netherlands, is going to issue a decision on July 12 on a petition made by Philippines challenging Chinese claims. However China continuously boycotted the proceedings and continued its activities. The US and European Union have shown their concerns on several occasions regarding ‘unlawful’ activities by Chinese forces. The US president Donald Trump has taken a hard stand against Chinese goverment and categorically blame to spread the Coronavirus globally. Indian PM, Modi, indirectly advised China to focus on developmentalism and not on expansionism. The PM of Japan, Mr. Abe Shinzo, has shown his hesitation to meet Mr. Xi and probably the later’s re-scheduled visit to Japan will be canceled. In this scenario, the Chinese dream to become a global power remains dim.



Hong Kong: Post-Covid19 Protests

Protests in Hong Kong

Chikaho Yamamoto

International Studies Department
Open University of Japan
Chiba, Japan

Hong Kong is again on the path of protest. China’s recent national conference has approved a new controversial ‘National Security Law’ to tighten its grip over Hong Kong. Pro-democratic movement activists fear that this law will gag their cause. In the mean while the US has passed the UIGHUR protection bill. The tussle between them to extend further and going to hit the global economic process. Recently US also evoked the Hong Kong special status. 

Activists, mostly students in their twenties, tried to halt traffic, chant pro-democracy slogans and encircle government offices just after the lockdown was lifted in Hong Kong. They were headed to police buses and not allowed to ‘disturb’ the city. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo and Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen have reacted sharply.  Washington has terminated the Hong kong’s special trading status with the United states. 

A massive police deployment was seen in Hong kong after Wednesday protest. Police was hunting and stopping the suspect protesters. Though on Sunday many of protesters flooded on the streets defying the social distancing orders.

China, being an expansionist countries and aiming to become a global power continuously tries put a potential threat to its neighbors like Taiwan, Philippines, Japan and India. In South China Sea, a port and an airbase has been developed which was challenged in International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ ruled against the Chinese Government which the latter didn’t accept. Japanese Prime Minister Mr. Abe Shinzo is advocating ‘free Indo-Pacific Navigation’ along with India and the US. China’s policies are annoying Japan as well, as it claims Senkaku Islands and many a time sent military navy vehicles in the area. The matter was raised on different occasions at foreign ministry level to resolve the issue, diplomatically. Similar incidents are seen in Indian territories of Ladakh and Sikkim, often. After gaining a substantial economic stability, it aspires to become a military super power. And, the trial begins from home. Various reports show Chinese atrocities towards UIGHUR muslims and now the same is happening in Hong Kong. 

US revoked the special status of Hong Kong. European Union has also raised concerns on new security law passed by Chinse Government. Covid-19 has hardly hit the global economy. Escalation among nations will further deepen the crises of unemployment and revitalization of developing countries. As some of the investigative reports show, China was the beneficiary of Covid-19 pandemic. The most devastating country was the US. There are unconfirmed researches and reports that China developed Covid-19 virus, artificially. If this gets confirmed world community will build more economic pressure upon China and may demand compensations. This kind of situation is cannot be not considered good for global peace and prosperity. 

To avoid present tensions, China should move to resolve the Hong Kong and other issues relating to its neighbors amicably and through diplomatic dialogues. Sooner or later Covid-19 will be controlled but if any war breaks between two atomic powers, it will take decades to put the humanity back on track.  


G. Hirose







Mr. Tokio Hasegawa: His Life and Social Contribution

Mr. Hasegawa along with Bihar CM Hon'ble Nitish Kumar Ji & H.E. Sujan Chinoy Ji
Mr. Masayuki Handa,
Executive Director
Japanese Association of Museums 

世界はいよいよ危機的な局面に入っている。2011 3 11 日の東日本大震災による福 島原子力発電所事故による災害、世界的な気象異変になる大規模災害の多発、さら に、新型コロナ・ウィルスの世界的大流行。こうした問題はいずれも、人間と自然の 関係、大都市圏に人口が集中する暮らし方について、根本的に再考することが不可欠 になっていることを意味している。 
国際交流基金賞の趣旨は、国際交流に貢献した人物や団体を表彰することだという が、こうした危機的な局面において、国際交流のあり方について根本的なところから 考え直し、これからの時代の国際交流の指針となるような人物や団体に光を当てる必 要があるのではないだろうか。私が、長谷川時夫を推薦するのは、そうした視点から 注目すべき人物だからだ。 


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