Prelude

China. A land of abundant resources, highly efficient and cheap labor, overall a very dominant and one of the most powerful nations in the east as well as in the world. I recall a famous quote on leadership –

“The true test of leadership is how well you function in a crisis”.

-Brian Tracy

We know that Covid-19 was first encountered in the Wuhan province of mainland China. In my opinion, while the whole world is fighting against coronavirus (Covid-19), it is the responsibility of China to guide the whole world. Perhaps this is the last task on the Chinese President, Xi Jinping’s to-do list.

Make no mistake – the world will not be the same after this wartime-like crisis. The historians will credit this pandemic as a turning point of world politics and trade policies. The crisis has made the world wake up to the potential threats stemming from China’s grip on many global supply chains, and moves are already afoot to loosen that control.

Read more – How Coronavirus Is Impacting the World Economy?

China’s Leadership

Four out of 15 specialized agencies under the United Nations are headed by Chinese nationals. Inside China, the communist party’s tolerance for free expression and dissent is minimal, to put it mildly. Since major tech companies (Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter, etc.) are banned in China, the only source of information regarding Chinese governance and policies is only authorized Chinese media and Chinese MFA.

We will analyze Chinese strategy from following two perspectives:

  1. Economical
  2. Border expansion

Economical Strategy

The trade war between the USA and China has made several headlines. We are here talking about China and USA, so whatever we hear or read is just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous underlying reasons for this war.

Diplomacy served as an adjunct of the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda apparatus. Hong-Kong has become one of the world’s most significant financial centers and commercial ports. President Xi’s administration seeks to overturn Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” framework. As an effect of this, the USA issued an executive order to abolish the special relationship status of the country with Hong-Kong.

The Chinese government has threatened Australia and India for supporting and initiating the idea of an international coronavirus inquiry. Through trade actions, the Chinese government has effectively cut off imports of Australian barley and blocked a major portion of India’s regular pork exports to China.

Border expansion

Until recently, China has primarily relied on its economic power to cultivate influence in its immediate neighborhood and beyond. In East Asia primarily, China has mounted an expansionist and aggressive policy to further its power in the region at the expense of the sovereignty of other pro-democracy nations.

While the relations between China and Taiwan have persevered since the 1950s, China has now mounted an aggressive and expansionist policy to enlarge its sphere of influence. The same strategy has been implied for other nations as well, provided most of them are key US allies.

According to a report, small and remote islands like the Senkaku Island chain, as well as the Spratly and Paracel islands, are now being threatened by China’s Navy. China unilaterally declared an Air Identification Zone over the disputed East China Sea, encompassing parts of Japanese and South Korean airspace. What this means is international civilian airliners traversing this zone need to report to China’s Air Force, fueling geostrategic tensions in the region.

It has almost been a month since the first skirmishes on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between Indian and Chinese soldiers were reported. China has claimed Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh as its territory on several points in history. However, the current stand-off on the LAC is due to road construction along the LAC on Indian soil. The US president has offered to mediate between Delhi and Beijing to de-escalate the tensions. Knowing the opportunistic nature of the US, India has officially declined President Trump’s offer, as well as any official talk between President Trump and PM Narendra Modi.

Conclusion

Xi’s approach is alienating other countries, in the process risking their appetite for Chinese-made goods, panicking away investors, and accentuating China’s image problem. China currently faces the most daunting international atmosphere since it began opening up in the late 1970s, and now it risks suffering lasting damage to its image and interests. It’d be interesting to see the response of countries that are dependent on Chinese products in the post-pandemic world. Clearly, the US will try to negotiate with countries to be on their side using every weapon in their arsenal. Surprisingly enough, Russia is unexpectedly silent on the whole scenario. That’s the food for thought for you all. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section down below.

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2 Comments

  1. Rohit Chauhan

    A good article to understand how China was always expanding its presence across the globe. Post the outbreak of the pandemic, the world is not taking note of these things and should act on this.

  2. Anamica Sinha

    Clear without being verbose, the writer very beautifully articulates the strategies that his meticulous brain has observed about China’s cunning ways to reach it’s ultimate goal of becoming the superpower. Hope to read more …

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