Now that the Ukraine pseudo civil war is slowly drifting off into limbo, with western support for the eastern regions of the nation no longer on the table, and Germany making it clear no further sanctions against Russia are coming, the Ukraine conflict is on its way to becoming a second Syria: a nation split in two, with US support for one group, Russian support for the other, and the only real victor being the Kremlin, which has regained possession of the Crimea (which earlier today officially adopted the Ruble as its currency). Which explains why the US, embarrassed in its foreign affairs for the second year in a row, is pivoting once again, only this time using China as a distraction.
On Friday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said China has taken “destabilizing, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea” (which incidentally is not called the South American Sea). Hagel added that the U.S. will continue to raise cyber issues with China, and by raising he likely meant accusing PLA members of hacking, resulting in China dropping more US tech firms as critical suppliers.Following the Us Defense Secretary, it was the turn of Japan’s PM, Abe who said Japan would give more support to southeast Asian nations that are facing Chinese pressure.
He concluded that the U.S. takes no position on competing territorial claims, however the damage was already done: according the FT, a top Chinese general on Sunday accused the US and Japan of teaming up to stage “provocative actions” against China, as escalating maritime tensions spilled into an Asian regional defense forum.
Because if the US thought its latest pivot away from Russia and Syria into China (even if supported by Japan) would happen seamlessly, it is about to get an unpleasant surprise:
Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of the Chinese general staff, lambasted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chuck Hagel, US defence secretary, for telling the forum of Asian defence ministers that China was using intimidation to assert its territorial claims.
“The speeches by Mr Abe and Mr Hagel gave me the impression that they co-ordinated with each other, they supported each other, they encouraged each other and they took the advantage of speaking first . . . and staged provocative actions and challenges against China,” said Gen Wang.
Mr Hagel on Saturday said China was undermining? its claims that the South China Sea was a “sea of peace, friendship and co-operation” by using coercive tactics, adding that the US would “not look the other way when fundamental principles of the international order are being challenged”.
On Friday, Mr Abe said Japan would give more support to southeast Asian nations that are facing Chinese pressure.
As for Japan, China had one word: “fascist.”
In the face of mounting efforts by the US and Japan to shore up or build new security relationships in Asia, Gen Wang said China opposed both the practice of building military alliances and “attempts by any country to dominate regional affairs”. In a jab at Japan’s wartime history, Gen Wang said China would “never allow fascism . . . to stake a comeback”.
In the meantime, with Russia expanding geographically, China is doing the same, and in the process steamrolling over Vietnamese objections.
This year’s event became more heated because of the escalating disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea. China is embroiled in maritime disputes around the region, including with Manila and Tokyo. Scores of Chinese and Vietnamese ships are also involved in a stand-off near the disputed Paracel Islands after China started drilling for oil there in early May.
Gen Wang said China did not take provocative actions, but was being forced to respond to such actions from other countries. But when asked what Vietnam had done to trigger the decision to move the oil rig to disputed waters, sparking the worst crisis in China-Vietnam relations in years, the general did not respond.
While Shangri-La is designed to tackle a range of Asia-Pacific security issues, the focus has, in recent years, shifted squarely to China, with most of the participants this year asking China to explain its policies and actions.
Finally, Russia also chimed in:
Some experts questioned whether a new Cold War was emerging in Asia. Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s deputy defence secretary, took exception to comments by Mr Hagel that the US was the only power that could lead in the Asia-Pacific region. “Why does the US have to lead? To lead what?”
Based on his recent remarks at West Point, even Obama is not quite sure of the answer to that.
via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1pJgacO Tyler Durden