International

Global tensions reinforce Sino-Russian bonds

Two write-ups in newspapers close to the Chinese establishment underscore the growing rift, with serious geopolitical implications, between the Sino-Russian combine and the U.S. File photo  

Growing tensions between the U.S. and China over the South China Sea and the ongoing crisis in Syria are reinforcing Sino-Russian bonds, with Washington as the focal point.

Two write-ups — one in the state-run tabloid Global Times, and a commentary relayed by the People’s Daily — underscore the growing rift, with serious geopolitical implications, between the Sino-Russian combine and the U.S.

The Global Times editorial is unusually blunt in warning the U.S. not to test China’s resolve in defending its position on the South China Sea. It pointed out that, “China may face a grave test imposed by Washington's escalation of tensions over the maritime disputes”, referring to U.S. media reports that that the country’s military vessels would enter within 12 nautical miles from China’s “artificial islands” in the South China Sea.

The editorial also referred to the assertion by the U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter that U.S. ships and aircraft would “fly, sail and operate whenever international law permits”, in response to a question whether the U.S. would enter 12 nautical miles of China’s “artificial islands” in the South China Sea.

The write-up accused Washington of playing “rough against China and stress its hegemony”, despite China’s decision not to make a statement “about the expansion of its sovereignty due to the construction work”. The daily then asserted that the “Chinese military should be ready to launch countermeasures according to Washington's level of provocation”.

It warned that, “Despite the legitimacy of China’s construction work and the public good it can provide, if the U.S. adopts an aggressive approach, it will be a breach of China’s bottom line, and China will not sit idly by”. Using unambiguous language, the edit made it plain that “if the U.S. encroaches on China’s core interests, the Chinese military will stand up and use force to stop it”.

It added:  “The South China Sea is not a place where countries can act wantonly. Rules should be jointly made by all stakeholders, and US military ships cannot dominate the region. Washington has over-estimated the effect of its military prowess.”

With the U.S. as the common denominator, a commentary relayed by People’s Daily, the government’s official newspaper, backed Russia’s military assertion in Syria to counter terror groups in that country. The write-up described Moscow’s military involvement in Syria as “a sensible strategic move” in response to the “ineffectiveness of United States’ strategic manoeuvres in the region in the past few years”.

The daily observed that Russia’s involvement was driven by concerns about “its own stability and security”.

While offering diplomatic support, Beijing has, however, made it clear that it was not getting militarily involved in the Syrian conflict. On Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying rejected speculation that the Chinese aircraft carrier, Liaoning, widely perceived of having a training role, was heading in support of Russia’s military action in Syria.

“I can tell you that as for China's warships, for example the Liaoning, whether it has gone to join, for this issue, as far as I know, there is no such plan. At this time the Liaoning is in a phase of carrying out technical training and military exercises,” observed Ms. Hua. While China has decided to maintain its distance, undercover Iranian troops, and fighters belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah, bolstered by the Russian air strikes, are apparently set to launch a new offensive to dislodge forces opposed to Syrian President Bashar al- Assad.


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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 6:05:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/global-tensions-reinforce-sinorussian-bonds/article7774815.ece

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