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China’s Territorial Claims: What Threats do this Country’s Appetite Pose?

China’s Territorial Claims: What Threats do this Country’s Appetite Pose?

Is a new territorial re-division of the world possible? So far, it isn’t quite usual for top-positioned people to reason in such seemingly outdated categories as ‘territorial claims’ and ‘border delineation’ between neighboring states as this is believed to be almost a medieval archaism. And they shouldn’t, according to experts of the Land Association of China within the Masterforex-V Academy. Territorial claims to Russia’s Kuril Islands have already been officially declared by Japan’s Foreign Ministry (see details in the article ‘Why Does Japan Believe RF’s South Kuril Islands to be… its Own Territory?’). This is nothing compared to what China sees as a possible expansion of its territory in the north in the very near future.


What has changed in the world in the past 20-30 years and what has kept territorial disputes under?


According to experts of the Masterforex-V Academy, there are a number of reasons:
The Cold War. A continued Cold War between the USSR and the US became the reason for such obvious progress. It resulted in the emergence of an entire system of checks and balances.
Execution of treaties. Executing a number of treaties and creating influential organizations is surely the highest achievement in this respect. Europe had to be safeguarded against border delineation by Helsinki Accord of 1975, Africa – by the Organization for African Unity, America – by the Organization of American States. There was nothing of the kind in Asia. This is why it is in this part of the world that most territory-related conflicts took place in the second half of the 20th century.
Inviolability of existing borders. Of course, this principle insurmountably contradicted another fundamental international principle – the right of nations for self-determination. However, with time this issue was solved through a variety of movements for independence.
US dominance. The United States of America played quite a role here. After the collapse of the Soviet Union it undividedly prevailed in the world promoting separatism of different kinds in every possible way.
Mutual recognition of borders. However, mutual recognition by the state of its neighbor’s borders has remained the untouchable ‘sacred cow’ all this time. To the degree that it could, the US tried not to allow any annexation of foreign territories. The first war in the Persian Gulf serves as a brilliant example as it started after Iraq invaded sovereign Kuwait.
The geographic factor. Given geographic remoteness of the only superpower from the rest of the world, Washington was thinking in different categories itself and made others do the same. Different types of expansion became trendy during the period of unipolarity: economic, cultural, even political, but never military. In other words, no state tried to shift the border of a neighboring country a little and fly its own flag on the seized piece of land. These thoughts are sure to have visited many people but nobody dared to put them in practice.

КитайGame by the new rules or the rise of China


Now the situation has changed. There is a new major player in the world that many experts are inclined to see in the People’s Republic of China. While America was living beyond its means, waged two very costly wars and paid for a range of risky ventures in different places of the planet, the only thing China did was to work and accumulate capital. The most populated country of the world was, in the meantime, strengthening its own armed forces and expanding the area of its influence. A host of analysts only shrugged their shoulders, surprised at how fast and elegantly Beijing was taking over the American strategy of ‘world conquest’:
1. The Chinese carried out large-scale economic expansion;
2. They were actively buying public debt of not only individual corporations, but also entire countries (including the omnipotent US);
3. Companies from the PRC made investments in the most profitable sectors of economy of other countries, demonstrating particular interest in the financial sector, production of mineral resources and real estate;
4. China created free trade zones (11 zones of this kind already include 28 countries);
5. It deploys ‘areas of commercial and economic cooperation in foreign countries’ (there are already over 20);
6. Exports of Chinese labor resources have reached a tremendous scale;
7. In the context of China’s total success only a few noted that its territory started growing along with an increasing influence of the country. First, it united with Hong Kong (former British colony), later Macao (former Portuguese colony). Then the clouds started gathering above Taiwan. However, all territorial acquisitions were made within long-standing arrangements (the term of lease of these islands expired, and colonizing states simply returned them to China, similarly to Port Arthur). In addition, both Hong Kong and Macao are populated by the Chinese and it would be absurd to deny them the right for reunification. So, nobody had the idea to raise the alarm at this event.


China’s greatness is reflected in tangible acquisitions


However, something new appears in China’s policies soon: now Beijing started negotiating the return of territories with its close neighbors rather than remote European countries. This was no longer about getting back lands populated to ethnic Chinese people:
strange as it might seem, another superpower, Russia, was the first to give in. Moscow, it seems, needed to be on friendly terms with an increasingly stronger neighbor in the south so badly that it reassigned an area of 337 square kilometers to China in 2005.
In 2002 Tajikistan gave away one thousand square kilometers of its area together with a river and a gold mine to the PRC;
In January 2011, quite routinely, kind of ‘doing business as usual’, independent Tajikistan transferred another 1,122 square kilometers, or 1% of its area, to China. As a result, the former Soviet republic already got 2% smaller;
Instead, Tajikistan (and, possibly, Russia) got preferential loans, investment growth and other types of financial support.


What other land does China claim?

мирAll China’s fans, especially from its neighboring states, might be interested to know that it would like to get 28,000 square kilometers from Tajikistan, or about a quarter of the area of a CIS member. The ‘only counterbalance of the US’ has similar claims to quite many of its neighbors. As a rule, these countries are not excited about the growing might of great China.


Chinese territorial claims to other countries of the region are based on the allegation that as early as in the 19th century the area of the empire was 12 million square kilometers while now it is only 9.6 million square kilometers. At any rate, this is what Mao Zedong said in due time, announcing the ‘putting together of Chinese lands’ for the first time. In the 1950-1970s China had different a varying degree of success in fighting for territories with India, Burma, the Soviet Union and Vietnam. It also annexed independent Tibet and threatened a war on Taiwan and Japan.


Modern PRC is in no hurry to abandon its claims to a host of disputable land. According to the official concept of Chinese historical science, all peoples that have ever been part of China, that paid a tribute to it, sent their ambassadors with a request to take them under its patronage, or even conquered the country are automatically regarded as the Chinese. This list includes quite a few:
territories torn away from the Empire: these are significant parts of Korea, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, Bhutan, North India, Ryukyu Islands (now part of Japan);
areas that used to be populated by tribes or suzerain tribes that were vassals to China: these are some lands of Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan (the area of East Pamir) and Afghanistan (Badakhshan Province), Russia (Transbaikalia and the south of the Far East up to Okhotsk);
territories that used to be held by a former vassal of China: part of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
China is in a haste to offer the world a new principle instead of the morally outdated border inviolability and a nation’s right to self-determination – it is the priority of a historical right. The stronger ‘the new pole of global policy-making’ becomes the more resolutely this principle will be implemented.


A survey of Market Leader and experts of the Masterforex-V Academy at the traders’ forum: In your opinion, who poses a larger threat to stability in the world?
• the US which is governed by the principle of ‘divide and rule’.
• the PRC which is eager to increase its territory at the neighbors’ cost.
• So far, they have been checking each other; there is no threat to the world.


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