China - A super power in the making
China - A Super Power in The Making. With succession of summits in the Eastern part of the globe international politics is abuzz with China occupying...
With succession of summits in the Eastern part of the globe international politics is abuzz with China occupying the centre stage. The country received a shot in arm with IMF’s report ranking China as the largest economy in the world in terms of Purchasing Power Parity eclipsing the 142-year-long hegemony of US. Economists predict that China might emerge as the biggest economy in terms of GDP by 2021. In the Post Cold war era, the US assumed role of a big daddy wielding its strength and advocating its ideological supremacy. Resurgent China under the authoritative leadership of Xi Xiaoping is itching for a bigger role and recognition.
Beijing, the venue for the recently concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, witnessed the meeting of ascendant Xi and disappointed Barack Obama along with 20 other world leaders. China exercised its authoritarian muscle and ordered closure of factories and cars are warded off the road to guarantee clear blue skies in the notoriously smoggy capital. Apart from hosting a flawless event, China used this opportunity to establish a new financial order. APEC was closely watched as Chinese were bullying over disputed maritime claims that raised tensions in this entire region.
China had upset Philippines by grabbing a disputed reef; picked up a tiff with Vietnam by moving an oil rig into contested waters. It is challenging Japan’s control over the uninhabited 7 Senkaku islets and renamed them as Diaoyu islands. Even South Korea which had good relations with China is embittered when it declared an “Air Defence Identification Zone” over the East China Sea, demanding countries to inform it when entering.
China strategically carved out an alluring economic outreach plan for the South East Asian Nations to take heat off the maritime disputes. Being the single largest partner of the South East Asian nations it launched three initiatives to strengthen its economic and strategic foothold. During the neighbourhood summit with countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and other countries held alongside APEC, Xi announced $40 billion for the Silk Road Fund. Under this project, China intends to link South East Asian countries and Russia through energy pipelines. Second, was unveiling of the $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), through which it roped in 21 countries as founding members, including India to challenge the primacy of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headed by US and Japan. Third, using APEC platform, China sent a message that it is prepared to challenge the US in the Asia-Pacific.
While US is pushing for free trade agreements with countries in this region excluding China under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Chinese diplomats were busy wooing South Asian Countries through its Free Trade Agreement with Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). China managed to get confirmation for the roadmap of FTAAP under the APEC Summit Declaration. Besides, Beijing played an active role in the inauguration of the New Development with BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). It has been relentlessly pursuing every opportunity to challenge the predominance of the West and its multilateral institutions.
China has been skilfully crafting its foreign policy to consolidate its power. Xi during his first bilateral visit to Russia in 2013 after assuming power sealed a long stalled gas deal.
In an attempt to engage better in bigger issues of Climate Change, it has signed a historic climate change treaty with US. Accordingly it would allow carbon emissions to peak by 2030 and aims to generate 20 per cent of energy from the Zero-Carbon emission sources by the same year. It has also pledged $120 million as global health initiative towards fighting Ebola making it the second most generous country. Xi, the strongest Chinese leader after Deng Xiaoping, is propelling China along the road of rejuvenation to the top of the world order.
It backed Russia by taking a pro-Syrian stand in UN Security Council and deliberately refused to condemn the annexation of Crimea.
During his 10-day visit to Myanmar, Australia and Fiji, Prime Minister Modi should reinforce to countries in this region that India has a capability to be a major player. India should take a pragmatic view of issues and assert its stand as a major counter weight to China in Asia.
(The writer is scientist and freelance journalist and can be reached at email@example.com)