Confronted in the East by a US led coalition, #China marches WestJune 5, 2013
While the US engages in it’s much-discussed “Asian Pivot,” China has responded by aggressively courting new markets and allies to the West. The China Daily Mail has a long analysis of what they call “China’s Reverse Imperialism.” I don’t entirely agree with their conclusion (and question some of their contents), but it is a provocative read. An excerpt:
China is turning regional losses into strategic wins. As the CCP cannot approach their objectives directly, they probe for weaknesses and align themselves with US enemies or unstable partnerships.
To expand, they need to infiltrate and influence. To acquire entrance and influence, they must make an offering to others in order to solicit and forge better partnerships. After influence is secured, they expand their projective power-base. This upsets the US, throws them off balance, erodes their target goals, and stealthily captures their territories or partnerships of value.
While China infiltrates further into the West it has established beachheads not just through corporations and corporate takeovers but through diaspora communities and the establishment of whole cities.
Just recently, Bloomberg reported that China plans to build an entire city in Belarus for the price of $5 billion (USD). The author, Aliaksandr Kudrytski, noted that the Belarusian President laid out an area next to the capital that is over 40 percent larger than Manhattan that would give them the manufacturing capacity in a European country that they have desired for a long time, as well as a strategically sound march into Eastern Europe.
. . .
The two civilisations have little in common culturally, politically or strategically. The partnership is unfortunately based on mutual need and not a mutual understanding or respect. China needs an outlet for growth and wants eventually more influence into European affairs. Europe needs money.
China’s insistence of a “mutual respect” means that it expects to dodge European human rights intrusions and liberal reforms so rampant in the 1990s from European advocates with something akin to bribery of silence from the financially wounded player.
Nor is China playing by European rules. In the Wall Street Journal: “European executives and officials say the Chinese government retaliates against companies that bring trade complaints, either by imposing tariffs on their imports or taking action against their investments in China.”
Michael Schuman, of Time Business, says “China’s SOEs are potentially poised to alter the rules of global economic competition.”
It is not the strict amount of China’s purchases into its West that are of concern, but rather it is the overall objectives: technology acquisition, key sector investments, political bargaining, etc. Among other problems, such as censorship of European journalists and restrictions of European charitable organisations working in China, there is also a clear lack of transparency in Chinese business practices. Hence, the “mutual respect” that is being solicited is a one-sided advantage in Beijing’s fortuitous international political future.
Wen Jiabao met with 16 Central and Eastern European countries last April. Of note is that these are all former Communist countries. Of particular interest is the Chinese pursuit of Poland. “Chinese companies are being urged to invest more in Poland,” states People’s Daily Online. Warsaw is a critical access point into the West and such a move is a factor of pressures in the West and vulnerabilities within it.
It is a long piece, but read the whole thing.