13 November 2015
China is stepping up its military diplomacy within the region amid challenges from the United States’ pivot towards the Asia-Pacific and territorial tensions with various neighbours.
Three of the 11 members of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the supreme military decision-making body, have visited seven nations in the region this month alone, not counting President Xi Jinping’s visit to Vietnam.
General Fan Changlong, the CMC’s vice-chairman, embarked on a trip to Pakistan and India on Wednesday; Admiral Wu Shenglileft on Monday for Malaysia, Indonesia and the Maldives; andDefence Minister Chang Wanquanvisited Malaysia and Cambodia from November 3 as part of the Asean defence ministers’ summit.
Xi, who is chairman of the CMC, visited Vietnam last week, accompanied by Admiral Sun Jianguo.
Zhang Mingliang, a researcher at Jinan University’s School of International Studies in Guangzhou, said the visits were made because neighbours had been very concerned about China’s military intentions.
… High-level military exchanges could help ease the situation and prevent miscommunication, but would not remove all tensions as the territorial dispute was a “zero-sum” issue, said Dr Hoo Tiang Boon, a researcher at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
“There is very little China can do to convince its neighbours unless China sacrifices all its territorial interests, which is impossible,” he said.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 13/11/2015