China Isn’t Concealing Its Territorial Greed – OpEd


China recently released its new “standard map” for 2023, including the territory of nearby countries as its own, and which does not conceal territorial greed. The map reinforces the widespread view that the present leadership in China would pursue its territorial expansion schemes with determination. No one can accuse China of implementing its territorial expansion strategies in a veiled manner, as it has clearly announced its intentions to the neighbouring and nearby countries.

Obviously, the mindset of China’s leadership has not changed for better during the last 75 years, after it aggressively occupied Tibet region and in the process killing thousands of protesting Tibetans and forcing the respected the Dalai Lama and his followers to flee from Tibet to India. China’s aggression in Tibet and new map that it has released now also indicate the fact that China would seek to achieve it’s greed without caring for the means adopted.

In the map, China has included territory belonging to India, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia showing them within China’s borders and including all of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin as well as the entire south China Sea.

India, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia have released separate statements voicing their opposition to the map released by China. However, in spite of such protests and concern, China defended the issuing the map on August 28. Obviously, China does not care about the protests from the neighbouring countries and think that such protests can really be “impotent protests” of no consequence.

When China occupied Tibet in 1950s, Tibetans suffered enormously due to China’s aggression, there were no strong and worthwhile protests from other countries and China had its way. At that time, there were some mild murmur of protests from USA and USA did not go beyond that .

China is now threatening to occupy Taiwan and has openly said this several times. The fact is that China has no legitimate claim on Taiwan region, since it is separate entity that happened only after civil war in China. The ground reality and logical fact is that if China can claim that Taiwan belongs to mainland China, then Taiwan too has the right to claim that mainland China belong to Taiwan. China has running dispute with Japan also with regard to Senkaku Island.

Where would China go from here while trying to achieve it’s territorial expansion plans ? China has waged war against India several times and it is still occupying thousands of kilometres of Indian territory. It is now in full control of Tibet and has established strong military presence there. In short, China has tasted the blood and whether it would stop it’s adventure is a question that one has to think about.

Unfortunately, the United Nations Organisation, has become a toothless body and is unable to interfere effectively to restore peace in any region. No country including China seem to be viewing UNO seriously anymore, as UNO has gained an image of debating club.

Apart from the map that China has now released including territory of other neighbouring countries as it’s own, it has also now got a stranglehold over Pakistan by launching economic corridor project and to some extent over Sri Lanka also by taking over Hambantota port. By launching One Belt One Road (OBOR) China’s global infrastructure project, China is steadily extending its influence in several vulnerable countries, particularly in Asia and Africa. By extending huge debt to such countries, China’s economic aggression is forging, just as the political aggression that it is launching with regard to its neighbouring countries by releasing the “standard map”.

As China’s economic and industrial growth has achieved a big leap forward in the last few decades, military establishments have been strengthened and significant technological progress have been made, China appears to think that it can have its way to become the super power in the world.

While one cannot find fault with China for targeting to become a super power, it cannot be allowed to do so at the cost of other countries. For such aggressive and unacceptable approach of China, the recent release of “standard map” is a disturbing indicator.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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