China’s weak leadership, growing military prowess and propaganda driven xenophobia combine to dictate their foreign policy and international relations. Dan Blumenthal reports for the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research:
Why has China’s foreign policy been more aggressive over the past three years? Why have the Chinese undone a decade’s worth of good neighborly diplomacy in Asia? The facts of the case are now well known. In Southeast Asia, China declared the South China Sea a “core interest” (a term previously reserved for Taiwan and Tibet), in essence defining the sea as Chinese territory. To punctuate the point, China harassed Vietnamese fisherman near disputed islands in the sea.
In Northeast Asia, China could not bring itself to condemn its North Korean ally for Pyongyang’s wanton murder of South Korean soldiers and civilians on two separate occasions last year. China also picked a fight with Japan. After Tokyo acquiesced in Beijing’s demand to release a Chinese fishing captain that had been arrested for ramming Japanese vessels in disputed waters, China suspended diplomatic relations, demanded an apology, and halted the sale of rare earth minerals to Tokyo. And finally there was China’s shabby treatment of U.S. President Obama during his November 2009 visit to China. If ever there was a president entering office with an outstretched hand to Beijing, it was Obama. His secretary of state went out of her way to downplay China’s human rights abuses. Obama delayed both a meeting with the Dalai Lama–a standard affair in U.S diplomacy–and the sale of the second half of a package of badly needed arms that President Bush had promised to Taiwan. During Obama’s maiden voyage to China, Beijing reneged on agreements to allow the president’s speeches to air on television without censorship, and left the new president to return to Washington without accomplishing anything on his agenda, from climate change talks to Beijing’s currency manipulation.