Where don’t we find territorial disputes around the world? However, the nature of some disputes is so critical and alarming that they should be considered as a constant threat to World peace. It is unfortunate that UNO and other Global Forums are failed to address and resolve such conflicts that ultimately result into arms race among nations whose resources are utilized into warfare instead of health, education and other social welfare. In our region, Kashmir has become one such flash point between two nuclear powers Pakistan and India but another storm knocking at door of Asia is the territorial dispute in the East and South China seas.
The two disputing asian giants China and Japan, both make a claim over a group of islands, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China. After a recent military exercise from China tension has escalated to such degree that any unintended incident can lead to a use of arms between two nations. Japan is a close ally of USA and expresses the fear that China can take over both islands by force and thus conflict naturally invites USA to intervene into this critical matter annoying China who says “No outside pressure will affect the resolve and determination of the Chinese government and people to maintain territorial sovereignty.” Not only Japan but some other countries in Pacific Ocean are frightened by Chinese Military Exercises such as Malaysia and Philippines who are now upgrading their warfare to address any territorial challenge if occurs in Pacific Ocean.
Why neighboring countries are afraid of China?
Eastern Pacific Ocean is a somehow typical territory as there are several islands which are claimed by several nations/countries because of either their strategic importance or having rich oil/gas and raw material resources. There are several disputes among regional countries like China vs Russia, China vs Japan, China vs Philippines, China vs India and China vs Taiwan. These countries are afraid of China because of its rising military might and economical power and increasing global financial influence. Moreover, it’s a general perception that size of China, its huge population and typical political system are also major causes for other regional countries to be cautious from China to save their identity and sovereignty.
Why China may endanger its relationships with its neighboring countries?
Chinese leadership is wise, mature and human friendly. China is the only country in Asia that helps poor and backward countries without any undue condition and greed. China helps needy countries not only financially but its experts of different trades do not hesitate to go into that countries and take part practically to teach and train people there. China has played a vital and positive role for global peace wherever needed. During last six decades China remained peaceful and proved itself a business and trade loving nation. In that backdrop, if neighboring countries feel a security threat from China, it sounds quite strange and demands a careful assessment of the situation.
China claims over Taiwan too as its integral part whereas USA and Western Countries support Taiwan both financially and militarily to make it a counter force against China. Similarly India is also enjoying the same blessings from USA-led Western Countries. Japan and South Korea also have a military co-operation arrangement for their security with USA. In Afghanistan, USA and NATO forces are present for last 10 years. USA has strategically strengthened its positions in Western Africa and Middle East. China is very much concern about US military presence in its region and demands particularly Japan to clearly define its defense policies. China blames “outside forces” of provoking neighboring countries against China so that such forces can justify their military presence in region and also seek the opportunities to sell out arms, ammunitions and used warships after frightening those nations against military power of a peaceful China. Being a rising economic power of the World China considers rightly the presence of outside forces in its region as their attempt of controlling its sea routes (in Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean) of trades with Africa and Middle East, the main ocean passage of supply of raw material, Gas and crude oil. Naturally China will make every effort to keep open its supply routes with entire World and this situation forces it to more focus on its naval presence in open seas and finds out new naval bases in its supporting countries.
How China and other countries of region can safeguard the territorial sovereignty from outside forces?
It’s almost clear that Chinese concern is not about its neighboring countries but against outsiders whose activities of acquiring military bases in key naval passage is the main reason of Chinese aggressive reply in open seas. Every country has the right to defend itself and so as the neighboring countries of China but those countries should refrain to involve in any confrontation with any regional country that resulted into inviting foreign forces to play their own game.
Asia will have its dominance in the 21st century and many Asian countries will be more advanced, economically rich and influential globally. Today any regional dispute is a threat to Global peace so it is their joint duty to stay away from any confrontation and inviting outside forces in their mutual disputes. Regional forums should come forward to play a vital role to create a confidence building environment to resolve such territorial issues among main concern countries without allowing them to seek and think about any military solution.