US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has reiterated recently that the US attaches great importance to its relations with China, and its plan to increase its navy presence in the Pacific is not directed at Beijing.
Beijing says it welcomes a US return to the Asia-Pacific region, but has stepped up its military buildup as soon as the US announced its new strategy. In a hurry, it began a test of its aircraft carrier, completed construction of two more 20,000-ton landing platform docks, put its own GPS system into operation and tested the second prototype of its fifth-generation J20 aircraft.
The US held a large-scale military drill with its allies in the Pacific, allegedly not directed at China. China in turn held a large-scale navy drill with Russia in the Pacific, allegedly not directed at the US.
China had lots of interests in Libya, but did not hinder Western military intervention there. China had to withdraw 50,000 citizens from Libya, and suffered great economic loss. However, it did not complain until the US announced its new strategy.
Since then, China has reversed its position, and has begun to support Russia in blocking Western military intervention in Syria, even though China has little interest there. Russia is so pleased that it wants closer partnership with China.
Now, Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting China to seek much closer partnership in economy, trade, energy, culture and technology. In his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, they signed a joint declaration for further development of the two countries’ strategic partnership. The two presidents also pledged to intensify military exchanges, strengthen co-ordination in the Asia-Pacific and cooperate in investments.
After their meeting, the two presidents attended the signing of 11 cooperation documents, including cooperation between the two countries in building nuclear power plants in Juangsu, and the establishment of a US$4 billion joint investment fund.
Putin has brought with him a host of Russian ministers and most major business executives. The two countries will carry out lengthy intensive discussions to enhance cooperation. This seems to be a second honeymoon between the two countries, after their first honeymoon when China pleased Stalin by sending troops into Korea in the 1950s.
With China and Russia as the centres, the six-country Shanghai Cooperative Organisation will adopt its first comprehensive plan – to expand the bloc from focusing on security co-operations to being an economic and geopolitical alliance. Moreover, it plans to enlarge the alliance. It has already taken in Iran and another three countries as observer states, and now plans to take in Afghanistan as an observer state, and Turkey as a dialogue partner during this summit meeting.
Before leaving for China, Putin published an article in China’s People’s Daily, stressing that Sino-Russian cooperation was not directed at any third Party, but pointing out that without Chinese and Russian involvement, no international issue can be discussed or enacted.
Putin has announced his ambitious plan to build a powerful navy, while China is also vigorously, but silently, building up its navy. The US, though lacking money, plans to increase the proportion of its navy in the Pacific.
The arms race has already begun, and the mutual blocking is actively under way! The US cannot do what it wants in Syria without Chinese and Russian involvement, while China cannot smoothly settle its South China Sea disputes due to US support to the other parties.
It seems a new Cold War has already begun.
- Putin Arrives in China for Regional Summit – New York Times (nytimes.com)
- Putin ‘to push military ties with China’ (todayonline.com)
- Asia to be base for 60 pc of U.S. fleet; China welcomes move (chinadailymail.com)