Bayern underline title credentials with 5-1 rout of Cologne    In pictures: Minister inspects precautionary measures at Cairo, Ain Shams universities on 1st exam day    Egypt's FEDCOC aims at attracting European finance for development projects in S.Sinai    Amnesty says Eritrean troops killed hundreds of Ethiopian civilians in Axum    Egypt will provide property tax services online via Digital Egypt platform    Egypt counts on private sector to increase growth levels: Madbouly    Egypt lifts ban on Ramadan's Taraweeh prayers in some mosques amid strict coronavirus measures    Moody's sees Emerging markets' real GDP to grow by 13.9% in 2021, 5% in 2022    Live score: Leeds United v Aston Villa (English Premier League)    Myanmar police crack down on protests after envoy appeals to UN to stop coup    Trump the dominant force at conservative conference    Olympics: Tokyo 2020 committee to pick at least 11 women to join board: Media    Egypt detects 601 new coronavirus cases; 49 deaths on Friday    Sisi urges establishing Shinzo Abe axis east of Cairo based on advanced engineering plan    GameStop shares soar as 'meme stocks' rally again    Egypt briefs Arab, European ambassadors on developments in GERD dispute    Whirling Dervish: Egyptian artist Abdelhamid Tahoun among winners of Sony World Photography Awards    Egypt's Sisi directs government to scale up qualification programs for rural women pioneers    Egyptians can register for COVID-19 vaccine next Sunday    Eschewing the radical    Senate prepares for its first session    Cairo theatres programme: 25 February - 3 March 2021    Egypt's Sarwa Insurance partners with Hannover Re to offer COVID-19 related travel insurance    Tales of the city    King Tutankhamun funerary mask is must-see tourist icon: The Telegraph    Russian flights to return to Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada for first time since 2015    Australia slams Facebook's move to block news as unnecessary and heavy-handed    Sisi calls on securing fair access to coronavirus vaccines for African nations    Egypt eyes gradual return for tourism after revenues fall to $4 bln in 2020    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    Coronavirus strikes Egypt's youth team as 17 players, coach test positive    Nassef Sawiris plans to up his stake in owner of New York Knicks, Rangers    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





China's Threat to Russia
Published in Daily News Egypt on 31 - 08 - 2007

Last week, Russia and China held joint military maneuvers in the presence of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao. But a new strategic alliance between the two countries is not likely, as it is China that poses the greatest strategic threat to Russia, although many in the Kremlin seem blind to this as they rattle sabers at America and the West.
Indeed, China officially considers several regions in Russia's Far East to be only "alienated from it. China's territorial claims on Russia are often noted in Chinese grade school geography textbooks, which include a number of Russian Far Eastern regions within China's borders.
This is consistent with the Chinese strategic concept of "vital space, which includes all spheres of a state's strategic activities, on land, at sea, under water, in the air, and in space. The dimensions of "vital space are determined by a country's economic, scientific, technical, social, and military capabilities - in essence, its "total power . According to Chinese theorists, the "vital space of great powers extends far beyond a state's borders, whereas the "vital space of weak countries is limited to strategic boundaries that do not always correspond to the borders of their national territory.
Today, China has territorial claims against 11 of its 24 neighbors, including India, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, in addition to Russia. In China's relations with all of them, the potential use of military force was and remains an important factor.
In September 2006, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducted an unprecedentedly large 10-day exercise, involving the Shenyang and Beijing military districts, the two most powerful of China's seven military districts. Shenyang abuts the Russian Armed Forces' Far Eastern District, and the Beijing district shares a border with Russia's Siberian Military District. During the exercises, Shenyang units advanced 1,000 kilometers into the Beijing district, where they engaged in joint war games.
To military observers, the Beijing/Shenyang exercises seemed to be practice for a possible offensive operation against Russia, because exercises on such a scale are undertaken only at the final stage of a multi-year program to train troops to enact specific strategic and operational plans. The geography of the exercises, and the offensive nature of the tasks undertaken, leaves little doubt that Russia was cast in the role of "potential adversary . Such a show of force is an ancient, traditional Chinese political technique. Paradoxically, these exercises were undertaken during a period when bilateral political and economic ties appeared on the surface to be at their highest point. Russia has an important place in Chinese geopolitical calculations, as a supplier of both modern weaponry and energy resources needed to continue its modernization. Therefore, the Chinese are doing everything possible to strengthen their economic and political position in Russia, and to draw Russia into their sphere of influence.
And China is succeeding, most importantly by consistently reinforcing Putin's anti-American and anti-Western agenda. While Beijing/Shenyang exercise should have indicated to Russian leaders that China's intentions toward Russia may not always be benign, Russia's political and military leadership seem not to sense any threat; on the contrary, they continue to sell the Chinese advanced weapons.
Russia's current diplomatic tilt, indeed, is clearly against its own long-term national security interests. China will never be interested in Russia's economic and political modernization, for it prefers Russia to remain a source of mineral and energy resources and a vast "strategic rear in its looming challenge with the United States. Likewise, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which just concluded its annual meeting, is in China's eyes a tool of regional policy that helps strengthen China's influence and control over Central Asia's natural resources at the expense of Russia.
No nation threatens China's land borders. China can solve its domestic problems, such as separatism, by itself. China is militarily self-sufficient and needs military cooperation under the SCO framework only in order to free its hands if any conflict should arise that affects its interests.
In fact, conflict between Russia and China is possible precisely in Central Asia, given the clear differences in the two countries' economic and political interests in that region. Aside from control of the region's energy supplies, water has become a potential source of conflict, given China's serious shortages. Yet, while the Chinese clearly understand these contingencies and are preparing themselves to deal with them diplomatically and militarily, the Kremlin remains myopically obsessed with the phantom threat of America.
Thus, as the Kremlin dreams of re-establishing its domination over what Russians refer to as the "near abroad (Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic countries, and the other post-Soviet states), China is increasingly looking at Russia as its own "near abroad . Will the Kremlin finally wake up to this?
Thirty-six years ago, Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong turned world politics upside down, as both America and China realized that it was the Soviet Union, and not each other, that posed the greater threat. Vladimir Putin needs his own "Nixon moment . Alienating the West is a foolish strategy when the greatest long term threat to Russia comes from the East.
Andrei Piontkovskyis Executive Director of the Center for Strategic Studies in Moscow. This commentary is published by DAILY NEWS EGYPT in collaboration with Project Syndicate (www.project-syndicate.org).


Clic here to read the story from its source.