QUAD: Beyond China with New Agenda

Source:Japantimes.co.jp


Paul Wilson

CCGS, Sydney Chair (Australia)

Email: info@globalculturz.org



Quad-a group of four nations-is setting new agenda. The idea of Quad or ‘Security Diamond’ was propounded by the former Japanese Prime Minister-Abe Shinzo in 2007 during his state visit to India. It was hibernation since then and no ‘active’ steps were taken to groom the group. The initial focus was to ensure free Indo-Pacific navigation and contain Chinese aggression in the region. Now, the group of the US, India, Japan and Australia-have come up with new agenda to control the spread of Covid-19 virus, boost global vaccination and improve economic growth. However the real issue, though hidden, is to check and balance Chinese expansionism in Indo-Pacific, South and East China Sea.

 

The Sprit of the Quad is presented in recently held summit, online. It seems, the Quad countries have realized the need to broaden the agenda and carry out more welfare schemes. Just opposing China have been found ‘ineffective’ in contemporary global scenario. “We bring diverse perspectives and are united in a shared vision for the free and open Indo-Pacific. We strive for a region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion” states the document supplied by the White House. It is also taking up the vaccination. “China, in a reference to the Quad coalition comprising India, United States, Australia and Japan, on Monday said that certain countries were keen to exaggerate the threat posed by Beijing in order to create discord in the Indo-Pacific region” writes scroll.in. 


Quad has created worries in Chinese administration. It has claimed a larger part in South China Sea, despite global concerns and International Court of Justice ruled against this occupation and termed it ‘illegal’. There were several sanctions and diplomatic altercations between the US and China in the last few years. The relationship between Australia and China touched low during Pandemic period of coronavirus. Even, Japanese water boundaries, particularly near Senkaku Islands were violated by Chinese naval ships on many occasions. Indian Army, too, has seen longer standoffs with Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) at different boarder points. These emerging situations in Asia-pacific compelled the Quad Nations to come together and address the security cause, collectively. This time, though, it has been kept in background and other issues like covid vaccination and climate change have been floated on the table. 


Security analyst, sometimes, call this alliance as ‘Asian NATO’. Some of them also said that -this the beginning of the new cold-war. China is showing her mighty presence across the globe by initiating One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) under the influence of China providing a parallel economic and development platform and offering better finance facilities than the US controlled International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. An economic and security demarkation is quite visible at global scenario. Will Quad be able to contain Chinese aggression and expansionism? There are some indicators and dynamic activities. We have to observe them closely.

Jailing Joshua: Hong Kong

Joshua Wong: Jailed Activist

Finn Schulz

CCGS,Vaduz, Liechtenstein

info@globalculturz.org





 

Democratic freedom has become a bone of contention in Hong Kong. A large number of young people, particularly students, were continuously protesting on the streets since last year to demand better freedom and save the democracy in the territory. China is willing to control it and has introduced several laws to crush the human rights and freedom of the citizens. Hong Kong was brought under Chinese administration with a pledge of ‘one country two systems’ from the Britishers. This is no more honored and mainland China is eager to put more pressure and intervention, though indirectly, on Hong Kong. Young generation of Hong Kong wishes to enjoy freedom of speech and open democracy. To ensure it, several agitations were organized which ha:mpered the daily administration and activity  of  Hong Kong. China is in practice of jailing the human rights and pro-democratic activists. The global community is watching and recorded its dissent on several counts. Joshua and Agnes Chow are just 24 and 23 years old and leading the movement. It is difficult to say, right now, whether jailing them will serve the purpose of China or not.  Another friend, Ivam Lam, 26 also sentenced. All three were key figures since the beginning the protest as an umbrella movement. Important reactions came from Dominic Raab, Britain’s foreign minister:

“Prosecution decisions must be fair and impartial, and the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong must be upheld.”

A group, Demosisto, was form to assert the cause of freedom of speech and national security law imposed by mainland China.


Chinese aspiration of expansionism, controlling the inner folks like Uighur and Hong Kongers, occupying the South China Sea by illegitimate constructions and continuous military altercations with Taiwan, India, Japan and other neighboring countries is pushing the world again towards two-polar situations. The US, EU and UK, Japan, India Israel and Australia seems to be on the opposite side of China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia. Though this is not very clear demarcation but slowly these poles are getting shape. However the main player will be the neutral countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Brazil and many other. Both poles are dependent on these countries for their economic stability and prosperity. As the new data from different Think Tanks are coming up, China will surpass the US economy in 2028 five years ahead than predicted earlier.    

This will naturally dictate the activities inside Chinese territories including Hong Kong. China is well focussed on its economy and she is using this richness towards political and security polarization by floating infrastructural projects and lending money in poorer nations. 

In recent jailing Zhang Zhan,37, a citizen journalist and lawyer reached Wuhan from Shanghai, in February, 2020. She began to show the crowded hospitals and severe conditions of the streets of the city through online media. In November last year a trial was done against her for “false information through text, video and other media through WeChat, Twitter and YouTube”. She has been sentenced four years in prison.

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Free and Open Indo-Pacific: Suga


    Shio Motodate

Researcher, Hokkaido University

Hokkaido, Japan

E-mail: info@globalculturz.org

 Rently, the new PM of Japan, Suga Yoshihide is supposed to move ahead with the policies adopted by former PM Abe Shinzo. During his first foreign visit to Vietnam and Indonesia he pledged for free Indo-Pacific region. In 2012 former PM Abe Shinzo also visited these two countries after taking oath to the office. Indonesia and Vietnam play an important role in Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Amid Chinese maritime activities in South China Sea, this visit of Suga is as a considered diplomatic strategy to check the expansionism, an ideology adopted by the present government of China to dominate the neighboring countries and controlling the navigation. 

Vietnam is Chairing the current ASEAN bloc of ten countries and Indonesia was vocal to ensure the free Indo-Pacific movement despite potential pressure from Beging. In the recent years US military and Chinese Forces seen several face-off in South China sea and else where. This visit will serve the purpose of Japan-US security and economic alliance.

In the meanwhile Japanese travel and tour industry has suffered severely due to global lockdown hampering the economic growth. The leaders discussed to open the travel and boost the business activities. Several auto corporations have their settlements in Indonesia and need an instant relief. Suga’s journey helped to the Vietnamese economic development as well. The Bangkok Times stated, “Vietnam's growth potential and low-cost labour supply continues to curry favor among Japanese companies, which regard the country as the most promising place in Asia to invest in 2020. Previously, Japan gave ¥200 million (59.7 million baht) in aid to help Vietnam fight the pandemic.” Vietnam and Japan both are willing to play a vital role in maintaining security and economic stability in ASEAN region. Free and open Indo-Pacific was the key agenda during his visit and Suga assured for the same.

China is in confrontations with most of her neighbors including India and Japan. After loosing the case in International Court of Justice (ICJ) there no stoppage of its ‘illegal’ activities in South China sea, which is a matter grave concern for global community and peace loving nations. Indian Prime Minister Modi, on many occasions, condemned the idea of expansionism, without citing China directly. The same suit is followed by Mr. Suga and outgoing US president Mr. Trump. 

Suga Yoshihide’s visit is also termed as an act of balancing. Indonesia is the only member of G-20 from the region and Vietnam is continuing his economic growth. These two countries can help and protect the interest of Japan in particular and Japanese allies in general. It seems, to contain China, in South China sea is primary purpose of the visit but moving ahead with business is also equally important in the current prevailing situation of pandemic Covid-19. ASEAN and Japan are interdependent on each other in context of economy and security. Developing a personal relation with Indonesian skipper Joko Widodo will serve this purpose.

Chinese Expansionism in Nepal

Credit : Tibet.net 

Shiho Suzuki

Socio-Cultural Department

Fukuoka University, Fukuoka (Japan)

Email: info@globalculturz.org


Recently China entered in Nepal. A small part of Nepalese territory is occupied by Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA). Ambitious China is not sparing any one in its neighbor. Almost 17 countries have some sort of territorial dispute with China. The major risks are with Japan, Taiwan and India. The US, though not a neighbor is actively trying to control Chinese interference in South China Sea. There are several recent incidents of face off between Taiwan, India and Japan. The desperation to become global leader, Chinese government, taking aggressive steps to show its supremacy in regional area and global platforms. Nepalese area is the new addition to this.


Nepal, as we all know, culturally and geographically more connected to India. The present government of Nepal, though, wishes to join the Chinese camp for its economic empowerment. It can be easily observed that Chinese economic success have lured many small nations and their governments. Nepal is recent one which is falling pray to it. Loans and debts avail by these nations have become a business of loss and Pakistan, a neighboring state of India and China, is almost ‘sold out’ to Chinese administration. Nepal may be the next. Unlike Pakistan, Nepal will be more prone to Chinese expansionism as they share a larger international boarder line. Nepal and India-both governments- underplayed Chinese occupation in their territories. The reason seems to be avoiding domestic criticism. However these issues are now floating well on the streets in India and Nepal. 


Media reports are saying, ‘Nepal and China are engaged in a boundary row in Humla after the Chinese side allegedly built 11 buildings in a remote part of the district that Nepal claims as its own territory’. China has adopted an aggressive infra development policy near boarder areas. Constructions in Humla are part of that policy. One of the Nepali officers-Bishnu Tamang-visited the disputed area and submitted his observations. He said, “The Chinese side claimed that the area where the houses are built falls within the Chinese territory.” Another media report say, ‘China has encroached at least 28 hectares of Nepali land spread across four districts of Humla, Rasuwa, Sankhuwasabha and Sindhupalchok.’ In a press statement Chinese ambassador to Nepal denied any illegal occupation of Nepalese land. Nepal in no way is capable of retaliation. In recent years its relations with India worsened. The communist forces in Nepal advocate stronger ties with China and create troubles to Indian sympathizer. In this scenario China has an advantage to move in slowly and silently into Nepal. 

The Nepal governments casual attitude towards the Chinese expansionism is the bell of warning. Examples of Tibet and Taiwan are before the international community. Reports are alarming. The Guardian quotes-’Shiva Upreti, the Gorkha district correspondent of Nepalese newspaper Annapurna Post in a story done on 7 July, had revealed that China has occupied the entire Rui village that comes under Gorkha district.’

The contemporary government in India, too, is not taking active role as it has played in case of Doklam earlier. Moreover there is continuous face-off between India and China in the northern most area of Ladakh. Chinese neighbors must unite to stop such unethical expansionism.

Chinese Expansionism: South China Sea and the Other Regions

South China Sea

  Mami Yamazaki

 Department of International Studies

 Open University of Japan

 Chiba, Japan

 E-mail: info@globalculturz.org


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.

 



 



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