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Huanqiu, China

Without Hillary Pretending To Be Fair
While Actually Favoring One Side,
Is America Still America?  

By Wang Jingtao

What we can be sure of is that the weaker China's national strength is, the more half-hearted the pressure the U.S. puts on China will be, and, conversely, the stronger China is, the more serious the suppression coming from the U.S. will be.

Translated By Caroline Moreno

21 January 2013

Edited by Heather Martin

China - Huanqiu - Original Article (Chinese)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was about to leave office, stated on Jan. 18 that the U.S. does not maintain a position on the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Diaoyu Islands, but admits that the Diaoyu Islands are within the bounds of Japan's administrative jurisdiction and that the U.S. opposes any unilateral movement that seeks to destroy Japan's administrative jurisdiction. This is the U.S. publicly pretending to be fair in stopping the Sino-Japanese Diaoyu Islands conflict, while actually favoring Japan.

Even so, there is nothing surprising about this; if the confrontation between China and Japan were to escalate further, the U.S. military would probably also send out a signal of pretending fairness while actually favoring one side. If China and Japan truly come to blows, the U.S. military stationed in Japan would also take concrete actions to put pressure on China. If China doesn't even have the psychological capability for this, then we should not have originally sent maritime patrol ships and aircraft to the Diaoyu Islands to do patrols, and we can forget about the outcries against Japan as well.

Considerable parts of both the Diaoyu Islands conflict and the South China Sea conflict have ultimately turned into a game of chess between China and the U.S., and if these few words of Hilary's on Jan. 18 are considered a "significant incident," then China should revise its country's entire foreign diplomacy strategy and even re-examine whether there is a need for national revival after all.

What we can be sure of is that the weaker China's national strength is, the more half-hearted the pressure the U.S. puts on China will be, and, conversely, the stronger China is, the more serious the suppression coming from the U.S. will be. This is China's fate as a great power and as it gradually becomes a world superpower.

Does this imply that military conflicts between the Chinese and the Americans will finally be ignited by frictions similar to that of the Diaoyu Islands conflict? This is another question, and we believe this is not necessarily the case.

This first depends on whether the U.S. is determined to use military methods to curb China's rising. We cannot discern this type of determination, at least not today. With China gradually becoming big and powerful, the risk of the U.S. using this type of strategy only increases with each passing day. Although the U.S. is unwilling to proactively confront this kind of risk, U.S. voters will not agree to their government making stupid wagers with the destinies of nations.

Secondly, we need to look at whether China is being excessive and directly threatening the U.S.’ core interests. If China openly expands in East Asia, like Japan's large-scale invasion in years past and attempts to drive U.S. influence out of East Asia then, even if it were a gigantic risk, the U.S. would still take action. However, China is not that kind of country; we haven't considered invading other countries' territories, and our frictions with Japan, as well as with the Philippines and Vietnam, all revolve around disputes regarding the jurisdiction of islands. Even if China and Japan were to make war, the nature of it would be clear at a glance.

Thirdly, the Diaoyu Islands are situated within the effective deterrence range of China's national defense capabilities, and if the U.S. intervenes tactically, it certainly would not have an assurance of victory. China has sufficient military means and non-military means to retaliate against the U.S.’ pretense of fairness with actual partiality to make the U.S. get bogged down in a quagmire it is unwilling to get bogged down in and completely lose face.

Therefore, China should treat the U.S.’ frequent subtle changes in stance on the Diaoyu Islands issue reasonably and not wishfully seek to exaggerate simultaneously individual phrases as being favorable to China in the process. China also shouldn't be depressed to the point of being timid because of how Hillary pretended to be fair and stop the conflict, but actually favored one side. The America factor is very important, but it is not so big that China cannot deal with it. All of this is happening at China's doorstep, and China is not going to the depths of the Pacific Ocean to provoke a dispute. We are safeguarding our own sovereignty. Furthermore, we are not a country that only has fire sticks in its hands.

Regardless of whether the U.S. interferes, either way, China should insist on actions that are reasonable, advantageous and controlled for the Diaoyu Islands and the South Sea conflicts. China is not warlike and is not afraid of war. These two "nots" do not have an order. Regardless of whom we encounter, our attitude and willpower are the same.

China, Japan and the U.S. will be involved in an extremely complex game of chess revolving around the Diaoyu Islands. Each side will probe the others, sound out the real situation, fight psychological battles and, at the same time, enjoy the benefits of mutual cooperation with the other sides. Currently, the true situation is that all sides have no intention of engaging in war, but all sides are intensifying preparations in case the gun goes off accidentally while it is being cleaned. There is more uncertainty around the military tactics of the situation, while strategies are instead clearer. That is, now is not the time for the main forces of the West Pacific to have a strategic collision; the Diaoyu Islands are not that large of a detonator.

What is most important for China is maintaining an attitude of constancy regarding the Diaoyu Islands; we need to make the outside world understand us through studying us and by studying us very accurately. China's resolve to counter military provocations needs to have the same lack of suspense that its resolve to rise peacefully has. This way, whatever words pop out of the mouths of the Americans at the time, it won't be that important.



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