China ups the ante

Southeast Asia Globe - - Panorama / On Our Minds This Month -

Less than a week af­ter Viet­nam and China re­leased a joint com­mu­nique pledg­ing to main­tain peace in the dis­puted South China Sea, the su­per­power’s shock re­veal that it had in­stalled rocket launch­ers on a con­tested island demon­strated once more the im­bal­ance be­tween the smat­ter­ing of ri­val claimants and an in­creas­ingly as­sertive China. Ling­nan Uni­ver­sity po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor Zhang Bao­hui said that the ris­ing su­per­power had long pur­sued a car­rot-and­stick ap­proach to shore up its sup­port in the re­gion. “I think in many ways China is suc­ceed­ing – be­cause it is pour­ing lots of money into other coun­tries, and that gives them mo­tives to main­tain a friendly re­la­tion­ship with China,” he said. “The other coun­tries, they won­der what China is try­ing to ac­com­plish by build­ing those is­lands. So that is a source of ten­sion be­tween China and dif­fer­ent coun­tries, and be­tween China and the United States. No­body’s sure of China’s ul­ti­mate goal for the South China Sea.”

China has in­stalled rocket launch­ers on is­lands in the South China Sea

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