I’m now studying in China. When I talk with Chinese people about political issues, most Chinese students say “China’s development is aimed at peace keeping, and the emergence of Chinese power will never cause tension between the nations”. However, there are many doubts for this. Is China really aiming for peaceful development and never bring tension to neighboring countries?
China became the second largest economy in the world; China is becoming more and more important and powerful in the world. China’s GDP exceeded Japan’s GDP in 2010, leading China to be the world’s second largest economy. In 2013, its GDP reached the doubled size of Japan’s GDP, in dollar volume. Though depreciation of Japanese yen lead this, economic growth speed is about 10% annually, China is getting more and more powerful in the world.
Moreover, the budget for national defense in 2013 is more than US$ 12 million. It’s the world second largest amount, following the national defense budget of the U.S., and it’s the tripled the size of Japan’s defense budget in the same year.
China is getting stronger in both economy and military. How the China’s emergence influences east-Asian countries? China officially announces that “The development of China aims for peace in the world. China will never compete with other countries in military, and will never cause tension in the world”(Eastday, 2012).
Moreover, when I with Chinese students about politics, they always say “China always aims for peaceful development and will never threat any other countries”. Of course they are relatively open-minded students, and I would never have chance to talk with extreme Chinese students. However, their idea expresses many of Chinese pacifist’s opinion.
However, China causes many territorial problems between the neighboring countries. e.g. Senkaku islands (diaoyudao in Chinese) dispute with Japan, Spratly islands (Nansha islands in Chinese) dispute with Philippine, etc. Especially in the sea near the Senkaku islands, a Chinese frigate did direct fire-control radar at Japanese Maritime self-defense force destroyer early in 2013. Moreover, China set a new air defense identification zone (ADIZ) unilaterally in 2013. These acts by China causes tension in east-Asian countries. How can these be explained by “peaceful development”?
These unilateral acts by China can explain that the increasing budget of national defense doesn’t mean peaceful development, rather they are one of the important strategies. Especially for Senkaku islands and Taiwan issues are crucial for China’s ambition for entering the Pacific ocean.
Furthermore, Chinese media report more about possible war between China and Japan. Most of them anticipate possible consequence of the war, saying that “If Japan and China had a war, Japan would surrender and its land would be devastated (Xinhua Economy news, Xinlang Military News).
These reports might try to threaten neighboring countries. Though China’s true military power is questionable, reporting exaggerated military power threatens neighboring countries. If neighboring countries are afraid of China’s power, less countries would be against China. And China can take control over issues with neighboring countries, like territorial dispute.
Chinese media’s report for anticipated consequence of possible war probably tries to threaten other nations.
Now, think about official message of Chinese government. China really tries for peaceful development and will never cause any tension for other nations? The answer is definitely “No”.
Although China officially says “China will never invade other countries”, considering the reports by Chinese media, simulation of possible war, the increase of national defense budget, territorial disputes with neighboring countries, we can realize that “Official message is not TRUE”. China is not trying for peaceful development, rather it is bringing tensions to neighboring countries.