‘China growing like crazy facing more disputes worldwide’

d549000 hkg8377414 ‘China growing like crazy facing more disputes worldwide’

RT: It looks like Xi Jinping is going to adopt theforeign policy course of his predecessor, what will that mean forrelations between Beijing and Washington?Martin Jacques: It is no surprise that Xi Jinping isreally expressing continuity because that is the whole way now theChinese leadership is constructed. I mean, if it is going to shift,it is not going to shift now, it will shift several years down theroad, I think. What will it mean for the relations with the UnitedStates?The relations with the United States have steadily been gettingmore complicated, and I think the reason for that is because,before China was very much still a developing country and a muchweaker global power than the United States. China, of course, hasbeen growing like crazy and is more and more present around theworld, in different continents, in different countries, so theirinterests are liable to be in more conflict in more areas that inprevious decades. And I think is the reason why it’s getting morecomplicated. RT: Some experts fear the US and China are fighting acyber-war – do you think the digital space could turn into aphysical battlefield?MJ: I doubt it. The first thing I would say when we say“more physical,” is that I don’t think the Chinese are going to bemilitarily aggressive. That has not been, firstly in Chinesehistory and secondly the tradition of this regime, especially since1978. And the Chinese military, talking about the rise of militaryexpenditure, but actually compared with the United States, China isvery weak militarily. So, I do not think we’re going to see some ofthat. And I don’t think the Chinese would want that to happen atall, because really, it would startle me to see what has been thegreat priority and remains it, which is their economicdevelopment.Now, it is true, things like the cyber question and so on couldlead to deterioration in relations. Personally, I take the Americanaccusations with a pinch of salt, I’m not saying that the Chineseare not up to it, but I’m pretty sure the Americans are up to a lotmore. RT: Washington is not the only problem for China – theSenkaku Islands dispute has put it at loggerheads with Japan. How dangerous could this dispute turn out to be?MJ: I think that is the most dangerous dispute. It is muchmore serious than the South China Sea. There is no way China isgoing to go to war in the S. China Sea. These skirmishes mightcontinue, but there is not going to be a war. China’s relationswith some of these South East Asian countries are quite good –there are problems with the Vietnam, which is a very longhistorical problem and Philippines.Japan is a very different matter. Why? Because of the history.It’s about history. It’s about what Japan did essentially from 1895onwards and especially in the Second World War. This is still ahuge scar for the Chinese. But again, personally I think theChinese will be very cautious when it comes to any kind of seriousescalation of conflict. They will resist that. It is not in theirinterest and I don’t think they are going to go down that path. Andactually I don’t think the Japanese will either. RT: The new President has already scheduled his firstdiplomatic visits – and the list starts with Russia. So what willhe want to achieve in Moscow?MJ: Although we know that the relationship between Russiaand China is quite complex and all sorts of difficulties. Thereally striking thing, looking at it from a slightly longer periodin relationship between Russia and China, is how much theirrelationship has improved. There was a long border war. Those daysare long since gone. The borders have been completely agreed andthere has been a remarkable cooperation through BRICS and on a lotof international issues that Chinese and the Russians agree. TheChinese by and large have been very happy to follow the Russianlead on these questions.I think that it would be a question of furthering theircooperation, furthering trade agreements. It is always the mostimportant thing for the Chinese – trade, trade relations, economicrelations and at the same time discussing future development of theBRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and so on. And ageneral discussion on international issues – of course Syria willfeature. But the lead player on Syria there has been Russia, notChina.

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‘China growing like crazy facing more disputes worldwide’

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