Gioco di potenza cinese in Asia

Tesi WSJ 29/7/05

Cina è riuscita ad istituire East Asian Summit – Vertice dell’Asia Orientale, con cadenza annuale, che include

10 paesi ASEAN + Cina, Jap, S. Corea, India, Australia, N. Zelanda

ed esclude USA.

“Tentativo trasparente della Cina di divenire la potenza dominante in Asia, spiazzando gli USA”.

“Il suggerimento di Tokyo che USA siano almeno invitati come osservatori non è passato”.

Australia è stata inclusa solo dopo che ha accettato di firmare un trattato di non-aggressione con l’ASEAN (su pressione USA, che vuole avere almeno una pedina all’interno), che prima aveva rifiutato temendo potesse minare l’alleanza con gli USA.

Timore che l’iniziativa si sviluppi sulla falsariga della Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in opposizione a USA (invito della SCO perché USA ritiri truppe da Asia Centrale).

L’EAST ASIA SUMMIT dovrebbe divenire un forum economico, per creazione di “Comunità dell’Asia Orientale”, ma Cina già sta cercando di introdurre cooperazione politica e militare.

WSJ accusa Segreteria di Stato di avere inizialmente trascurato la questione; poi si sarebbero resi conto del rischio, e indotto Australia a firmare il Trattato di Amicizia e Cooperazione.

Occorre dire alle nazioni asiatiche che se vogliono continuare a godere della protezione dell’ombrello USA, spetta a loro di resistere ai tentativi cinesi di tener fuori gli USA.

Indonesia, dapprima allarmata, ha “deciso di non contrapporsi alla Cina su questa questione”, Vietnam idem, dopo aver epsresso preoccupazioni in privato. L’opposizione di Indonesia e Malaysia alla proposta USA di partecipare al pattugliamento dello Stretto di Malacca è stata un primo segnale…

“L’onere di lottare per una presenza USA nei nuovi organismi regionali non può ricadere sulle sole spalle del Jap” (ma perché Jap ha accondisceso? –ndr)

ma la vicenda mostra che “alcuni paesi asiatici sono disposti a rischiare di essere lasciati a far fronte per conto proprio all’ascesa della Cina”

 

Altro editoriale WSJ del 4/8/05:

Condoleeza Rice, Segr. di Stato USA, ha mietuto successi ma non è stata all’altezza in Asia. “Sta lasciando che Pechino tenga fuori (letteralmente: sgomiti fuori) gli USA da un nuovo importante raggruppamento di nazioni”.

Gli USA mantengono una preponderante presenza militare nella regione, ma non si devono ignorare i benefici del “soft power”.

“Quando Hu Jintao visiterà la Casa Bianca in settembre, speriamo che Bush lo sfidi senza mezzi termini su questo gioco diplomatico di potenza”.

July 29, 2005

 
The smiling face of Beijing’s diplomacy toward Southeast Asia has been much in evidence this week. A beaming Chinese foreign minister made the rounds at a regional forum, greeting some of his counterparts as "brothers" and "friends." Li Zhaoxing had good reason to be cheerful. The meeting of Asian foreign ministers in the Laotian capital of Vientiane finalized plans for the first major regional gathering to exclude the U.S.  

It is to be called the East Asian Summit. It will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in December and is expected to become an annual event. For all Beijing’s protestations to be a status-quo power with no intention of challenging American interests in the region, China’s key role in organizing the summit tells a different story. The Kuala Lumpur event is part of a transparently bold effort by China to become the dominant power in Asia, displacing the U.S.
  On the guest list for Kuala Lumpur are leaders of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), China, Japan, South Korea, India, New Zealand and Australia. Tokyo’s suggestion that Washington at least be invited as an observer made no headway. Australia was only added after executing a major U-turn this week and agreeing to sign a treaty it had initially feared would undermine its alliance with the U.S.

Beijing’s determination to exclude the U.S. is a clear indication of China’s long-run intentions. Over time, a body without U.S. participation will tend to define itself in opposition to American purposes. Just look at the China-dominated Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a recent alliance with Russia and four formerly Soviet Central Asian states. Earlier this month it called for U.S. forces to quit Central Asia. U.S. Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld had to make a rush trip to Kyrgyzstan to put out the fire and preserve the use of Central Asian bases to supply U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  
As for the East Asia Summit, Beijing already is attempting to broaden the agenda for what was originally pitched as the first in a series of purely economic and trade-related summits. China’s state-run media has suggested that future meetings discuss political and military cooperation as well.  

The stated long-term aim of the summits is the creation of an — as yet undefined — "East Asian Community." That’s a goal which offers Beijing an opportunity — especially in the absence of a U.S. presence — to try to fashion and dominate a new regional power axis, and sideline the trans-Pacific organizations in which America currently plays an important role.

That demonstrates the importance of the U.S. insisting that its huge contribution to keeping the peace in the region over the last half century entitles it to a role in any new Asian institutions. It’s a point which initially seemed lost on the U.S. State Department. We’re told that when Japan and Singapore first voiced their concerns about Beijing’s intentions — after the summit proposal emerged from a meeting of Asean and other Asian nations last November — they were met with a distinct lack of interest in Foggy Bottom.

Now, however, the Bush administration seems to have awakened to the dangers of being excluded from this new regional structure — and is urging its allies to help remedy matters. Australian Prime Minister John Howard says President Bush stressed the importance of this at their White House meeting earlier this month, and even urged Canberra to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (a largely toothless regional nonaggression pact that Australia had earlier feared could undermine its defense treaty with the U.S.) if that was the price of securing a seat at the table.  
State has made other missteps. As Greg Sheridan points out in an article nearby, State’s downgrading of a trilateral security dialogue with Australia and Japan risks sending the wrong message to two staunch allies at a time when Washington is upgrading its diplomatic contacts with China.  
Clearly, U.S. diplomats need to do a lot of fence mending in Asia. They have strong cards to play. The U.S., unlike China, is a democracy and hence has a lot more in common than Beijing with the democratic leaders who will be part of the Kuala Lumpur gathering. Asian nations need to be told that if they want to continue to enjoy the protection of the U.S. security umbrella the burden lies on them to resist Chinese efforts to freeze out America.  

The record on that count has been disappointing. Indonesia
, Asean’s largest member, was reportedly alarmed when China put forward its proposal for a summit that excludes the U.S. — but decided against confronting Beijing on the issue. Vietnam too has repeatedly voiced its concerns in private, but is reluctant to publicly challenge the Chinese. Indonesian and Malaysian opposition to an American proposal to help patrol the Strait of Malacca sent an unfortunate message about their support for a continued U.S. presence in Asia.

If Southeast Asian nations don’t want to find Beijing proposing that its warships patrol this strategically vital strait instead, they need to take a more proactive approach to ensuring that America continues to feel welcome in Asia. The burden of fighting for a U.S. presence on new regional bodies cannot rest solely on Japan’s shoulders. Quietly acquiescing in America’s exclusion from the East Asian Summit sends the message that some Asian nations are willing to risk being left to face the rise of China on their own. And the U.S., at least until its belated awakening, seems to have regarded that prospect with regrettable nonchalance.

<1337406">China’s Power Play

August 4, 2005; Page A12

 
Condoleezza Rice is getting high early marks for her high-octane diplomacy, but there’s at least one place where her State Department is falling down on the job. She’s letting Beijing elbow the U.S. out of a major new Asian group of nations.  
The East Asian Summit, to be held in Kuala Lumpur in December, is expected to become an annual event. On the KL guest list are leaders of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), China, Japan, South Korea, India, New Zealand and Australia. Tokyo’s suggestion that Washington at least be invited as an observer made no headway. Australia was added after only executing a U-turn last week and agreeing to sign a treaty it had initially feared would undermine its alliance with the U.S.  
Beijing’s effort to exclude the U.S. is a raw show of China’s new political muscle. Over time, a body without U.S. participation will tend to define itself in opposition to American purposes. Just look at the China-dominated Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a recent alliance with Russia and four former Soviet states. Last month it called for U.S. forces to quit Central Asia. Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld had to make a rush trip to Kyrgyzstan to preserve the use of Central Asian bases to supply U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  
As for the East Asia Summit, Beijing already is attempting to broaden the agenda for what was originally pitched as the first in a series of purely economic and trade-related summits. China’s state-run media have suggested that future meetings discuss political and military cooperation as well. The long-term aim is the creation of an — as yet undefined — "East Asian Community." That’s a goal that offers Beijing an opportunity to fashion and dominate a new regional power axis, as opposed to the trans-Pacific organizations in which America plays an important role.  
We’re told that when Japan and Singapore first voiced their concerns about Beijing’s intentions — after the summit proposal emerged last November — they were met with a distinct lack of interest in Foggy Bottom. Now, however, the Bush administration has awakened to the dangers of being excluded — and is urging its allies to help remedy matters. Australian Prime Minister John Howard says President Bush stressed the issue at their White House meeting earlier this month.  

The record on this count has been disappointing. Indonesia, Asean’s largest member, was alarmed when China put forward its proposal for a summit that excludes the U.S. — but decided against confronting Beijing on the issue. Vietnam too has repeatedly voiced concern in private but is reluctant to publicly challenge the Chinese. Indonesian and Malaysian opposition to an American proposal to help patrol the Strait of Malacca sent an unfortunate message about their support for a continued U.S. presence in Asia.

Slowly but surely, the prediction that the center of world power is moving from Europe to Asia is coming true. The economic rise of China inevitably means it will play a larger political and diplomatic role, and it would dearly love to displace America as the dominant Western Pacific power. The U.S. retains an overwhelming military presence in the region, but the benefits of "soft power" can’t be ignored. When Chinese President Hu Jintao visits the White House in September, we hope Mr. Bush challenges him bluntly on this diplomatic power play.

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