Read the whole thing.Then, last week, in another unmistakeable sign of hardening Chinese determination, Xi made his first public appearance in military uniform and formally claimed the title of commander in chief of China's war-fighting headquarters.
What is Xi doing? What does China hope to achieve? And where is this dispute heading? An eminent Chinese expert, Dr Shi Yinghong, provides answers.
Xi has declared the pursuit of "China's Dream", a national resurgence after centuries of foreign domination. Shi, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing, says there are three international implications. First, Xi wants China to be acknowledged as a superpower equal to the US. Second, he wants China to become the co-manager of global affairs with the US, a Group of Two for world governance. Third, "China must be the preponderant power in the Western Pacific and have some advantage over the US", he told me. Shi's definition of Chinese aims supports that of the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, Admiral Harry Harris, who says China seeks "hegemony in East Asia".
Shi, who has been an adviser to the State Council, China's cabinet, for the past five years, says this will be "based on an arms build up and the strategic ability to go tit-for-tat with the US and to force the US finally to recognise Chinese preponderance" in China's claimed sphere.
"China," Shi explains, "must be number one in diplomatic influence and economic clout and maybe in [military] force. It wants to prevent the US military's freedom of navigation eventually, and gradually squeeze Vietnam, the Philippines and all the others out of the South China Sea." This is precisely what the region's governments fear.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
China's goals for the South China Sea and dominance of the SCS area laid out excellently in the Sydney Morning Herald's South China Sea: The fight China will take to the brink of war: