CHINESE MISSILE FORCES POSE THREAT TO U.S. IN FUTURE CONFLICT

chinashipChinese aircraft carrier Liaoning / AP

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BY: Bill Gertz | Washington Free Beacon

ASPEN, Colo.—China’s advanced cruise and ballistic missiles pose a significant threat in future conflict with the United States, the chief of naval operations (CNO) warned last week.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the CNO, also said during a security conference Friday that China is building a second aircraft carrier that could be deployed in the not too distant future.

However, China’s current single carrier force is still under development and the Chinese are incapable of conducting aircraft strike operations from the refurbished Soviet-era carrier now called the Liaoning, Greenert said following a recent visit to China, where he toured the carrier.

Asked what Chinese weapons systems he is most concerned about if the United States went to war with China, Greenert noted Beijing’s growing arsenal of cruise and ballistic missiles.

“They have an extraordinary selection of cruise missiles, and a ballistic missile force that they developed,” Greenert told the Aspen Security Forum.

If the conflict were close to China, the missile forces would pose the most serious threat, he said.

“If it’s in their backyard, I’m a little worried about their ballistic missile [force] because of its reach,” Greenert said.

China has developed several types of advanced missile systems, including a unique DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile that is intended to strike U.S. aircraft carriers hundreds of miles from China’s coast.

The DF-21D has been described as a “carrier killer” for which the U.S. Navy has few defenses. Greenert has said earlier that U.S. defenses against the DF-21D would involve breaking the weapons’ “kill chain—the network of sensors and communications links used to guide the missile to its target.

The Pentagon stated in its latest annual report to Congress that the DF-21D “gives the [People’s Liberation Army] the capability to attack large ships, including aircraft carriers, in the western Pacific Ocean.

The missile has a range of more than 930 miles and is armed with a maneuverable warhead.

Another major threat in a future conflict is China’s new guided missile destroyer, the Type 052D that the Pentagon says has deployed the PLA’s first multipurpose vertical launch system that is believed “capable of launching [anti-ship cruise missiles], land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs), surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), and anti-submarine missiles.” More than a dozen Type 052 destroyers are planned.

China’s H-6 bomber also has been upgraded to carry six land-attack cruise missiles with precision guidance capabilities.

“The development of China’s conventionally armed missiles has been rapid, even in the context of overall Chinese military modernization,” the Pentagon report said, noting that as recently as 10 years ago China could not strike targets far from coasts.

“Today, however, China has more than 1,000 conventionally armed ballistic missiles,” the report said. “U.S. bases on Okinawa are in range of a growing number of Chinese [medium-range ballistic missiles], and Guam could potentially be reached by air-launched cruise missiles.”

Chinese missiles also have grown more accurate and “are now better suited to strike regional air bases, logistics facilities, and other ground-based infrastructure, which Chinese military analysts have concluded are vulnerabilities in modern warfare,” the report said.

The combination of ballistic, ground- and air-launched land attack cruise missiles, and other forces threaten targets throughout the region, the report said.

China’s first threatening cruise missiles were purchased from Russia in the 1990s aboard Sovremenny-class guided missile warships that are equipped with high-speed SSN-22 Sunburn anti-ship missiles.

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center lists 14 types of Chinese short-range ballistic missiles, five types of medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and two types of land-attack cruise missiles.

Earlier this month, Greenert met in China with PLA Navy chief Adm. Wu Shengli, and the two admirals sought to improve cooperation and coordination.

Greenert said that Wu asked that Chinese naval experts be permitted to visit U.S. aircraft carriers as part of China’s carrier development program, but the request was rejected.

“They want to learn a lot more about our carriers by coming aboard our carriers with experts, and we said ‘well we’re not ready for that,’” Greenert said.

U.S. law passed in 1999 currently prohibits the Pentagon from sharing details of U.S. power projection capabilities with China during military exchanges. The law was passed to prevent the Chinese from exploiting U.S.-China military exchanges to bolster their large-scale military build up.

Greenert described the Chinese carrier as “very Russian.”

“It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s onerous,” he said, adding that the refurbishment includes advanced Chinese military gear.

“They will build another carrier, probably relatively soon,” he said. “It’ll look just like this one, they said. Ski ramp. About the same tonnage, 65,000, 70,000 tons.”

While U.S. carrier operations can include the launch and recovery of 100 aircraft routinely, China currently is limited to launching and landing 10 jets at a time, and test pilots are involved in takeoffs and landings.

“But they are moving at a pace that is extraordinary,” Greenert said of the carrier development.

Currently, the Chinese have operated the carrier in the South China Sea, but without aircraft, and in the Yellow sea with carrier-based jets.

Greenert said he is not overly concerned by the Chinese carrier development because the PLA needs more work before the warship can conduct military operations.

Greenert defended allowing the Chinese navy to take part in the recent international military exercises known as Rim of the Pacific. He noted that the Russians had taken part in RIMPAC in the past and there were few protests.

Some in Congress opposed the Chinese navy involvement in RIMPAC because it appeared the United States was rewarding China by allowing Beijing’s participation at a time when China is engaged in bullying most of its maritime neighbors in Asia.

Asked about China’s use of advanced weapons that are designed to allow a weaker power to defeat a stronger foe, Greenert defended the Navy’s development of high tech arms. He highlighted several new Navy weapons programs, including a laser weapon that can shoot down drones

“Number one, we’re looking at lasers,” Greenert said. “And as we speak we have a laser gun in the Arabian Gulf on a ship that we are testing. It’s been demonstrated. It’s shooting down a drone and, if you will, ‘overheating’ a fast craft at this level of power.”

Other advanced systems include unmanned aerial vehicles that can be launched from carriers, and autonomous underwater vehicles that can conduct searches and pass the information to surface vessels.

“We’re into cyber in many ways beyond the classification that we’re talking here,” he said.

“So I too agree just more kinetic [weapons], more missiles that’s not the way ahead,” Greenert said. “The way is the electro magnetic spectrum to get in to spoof, to jam, to fry, if you will, microwave, and that’s the way of the future for us as well.”

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U.S. SAYS CHINA TESTED ANTI-SATELLITE MISSILE

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. says China has tested a missile designed to destroy satellites and is urging Beijing to refrain from destabilizing actions.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the “non-destructive” test occurred Wednesday. She said a previous destructive test of the system in 2007 created thousands of pieces of dangerous debris in space.

Harf said Friday that the continued development and testing of destructive anti-satellite systems threaten the long-term security and sustainability of the outer-space environment that all nations depend upon.

China’s state-run Xinhua (shihn-wah) news agency, citing a Defense Ministry statement, reported a successful missile interception test conducted from land within Chinese territory late Wednesday.

Xinhua did not refer to it as an anti-satellite system. It said such tests could strengthen Chinese air defense against ballistic missiles.

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CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING ENDS LATIN AMERICA TOUR IN CUBA

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By Marc Frank

HAVANA (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping ended an eight-day trip through Latin America on Wednesday with a visit to eastern Cuba, where both the island’s independence struggle against Spain and Fidel Castro’s revolution began.

Xi arrived in Havana on Monday and presided over the signing of 29 trade, debt, credit and other agreements on Tuesday ensuring his country will remain Cuba’s second largest trading partner after Venezuela, at $1.4 billion last year.

The Chinese president also met with his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, who traveled with him to the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

China will continue to restructure debt, estimated at $6 billion, import Cuban nickel, sugar and cigars, digitalize the television system, upgrade communications and cyber security and cooperate in health, education and science, according to some of the agreements which were made public without any details on Wednesday.

New credits included funding to build a multipurpose shipping terminal in Santiago and a donation to help Cuba’s second largest city recover from Hurricane Sandy, which struck the area almost two years ago.

“China and Cuba being socialist countries, we are closely united by the same missions, ideals and struggles,” Xi said on Tuesday upon receiving the Jose Marti Medal, Cuba’s highest honor.

Other deals included cooperation in pharmaceutical research and development and an agreement between state-owned Cubapetroleo and state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation to increase flows from existing wells and drill at an onshore block just east of Havana.

Raul Castro began instituting market-oriented reforms after taking over from ailing brother Fidel Castro in 2006, much as China did in the 1980s.

But growth has nevertheless slowed and is expected to come in at around 1 percent this year, compared with 3 percent in 2013.

This year, Cuba established its first Chinese-style special development zone and passed a more attractive foreign investment law with a particular eye to friendly nations such as Russia, China and Brazil. It includes a clause aimed at China that for the first time would allow investors to bring in their nationals for construction.

Little of the $80 billion China has invested in Latin America and the Caribbean in recent years has been in Cuba, where just two joint ventures operate.

No new ventures were announced during Xi’s trip. However, a letter of intent was signed between Beijing Enterprise Group Real Estate Co Ltd and state-owned CUBAGOLF S.A. to build a golf course and condominiums on a plot between the Cuban capital and the famed Varadero tourism resort.

Xi was in Brazil last week for a summit of the BRICS nations, which also includes Russia, India and South Africa. He then traveled to Argentina and Venezuela, signing a raft of multi-billion dollar credit and investment agreements.

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CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING VISITS CUBA

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The last stop of a four-nation tour saw Chinese President Xi Jinping visit Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana.

After reviewing Cuba’s Honour Guard at the Palace of the Revolution, the Chinese president entered into talks with representatives of both countries.

Former President Fidel Castro was also on hand for a brief meeting with the leader.

The nations are close political allies, with generous trade credits making China Cuba’s largest creditor and second-biggest trade partner.

Xi Jinping’s packed Havana schedule also included being decorated with the Jose Marti medal, Cuba’s highest honour.

Both countries signed accords aimed at boosting ties. The cooperation documents covered economy, trade, agriculture, bio-technology, culture and education.

Talks are also said to be underway for a number of investment projects, although no financial agreements are expected to be signed during the visit.

To top off Xi Jinping’s first day, both presidents attended a ballet performance in the capital.

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CHINA SECURES VENEZULAN OIL AND GOLD DEALS, AS PRESIDENT VISITS LATIN AMERICA

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during a signing-of-agreements ceremony, in Caracas on July 21, 2014. (AFP Photo / Leo Ramirez)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (R) shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping during a signing-of-agreements ceremony, in Caracas on July 21, 2014. (AFP Photo / Leo Ramirez)

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by RT

Chinese President Xi Jinping has signed a row of oil and mineral deals with Venezuela. The Chinese leader is on a four-country tour of Latin America aimed to increasing influence in the region.

The 38 economic agreements are related to the production and development of Venezuelan oil and agriculture, as well as social and cultural expansion, says the BBC. The deals provides a credit line of $4 billion in return for Venezuelan oil and oil products, as well as allocating $691 million to explore Venezuela’s gold and copper reserves, and an agreement to develop the countries’ third jointly-owned satellite.

China is the second-largest market for Venezuelan oil after the United States.

The underlying purpose of the visit has been to secure more natural resources from Latin America to fuel China’s long term economic expansion, BBC cites analysts. The Venezuela negotiations were preceded by visits to Brazil and Argentina.

At the BRICS summit in Brazil the Chinese leader, along with the other emerging powers Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, launched a $100 billion BRICS Development Bank and a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 billion. Both will counter the influence of Western-based lending institutions and the dollar.

The next stop was Argentina where President Xi Jinping agreed an $11 billion currency swap and extended much-needed investment to President Cristina Kirchner. Argentina’s economy has been locked out of the international capital markets since defaulting on its debt in 2001, and is staring down the possibility of another default.

After Venezuela the Chinese leader arrived in Cuba on Tuesday where he is meeting President Raul Castro on the last stop of his four-country visit to Latin America.

Xi Jinping hopes to expand political and economic ties in the other communist nation. The island has had close political ties with China for decades, and was granted generous trade credits in the past.

Chinese trade with Latin America has grown rapidly reaching $261.6 billion in 2013. It is now the second-largest trading partner in Argentina and Cuba, and has been Brazil’s largest since 2009. To compare, in 1990 China was ranked 17th on the list of Latin American export destinations.

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CHINA SENDS SPY SHIP OFF HAWAII DURING U.S.-LED DRILLS

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By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China has sent a spy ship to international waters off of Hawaii during a giant U.S.-led naval exercise involving 22 countries, even as Beijing participates in the drills for the first time this year, the U.S. Navy said on Sunday.

The Navy played down any U.S. intelligence risk associated with the proximity of the Chinese surveillance vessel and noted that China also sent a similar ship to monitor the last Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise two years ago.

“We’ve taken all necessary precautions to protect our critical information,” said Captain Darryn James, chief spokesman of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

“We expect this ship will remain outside of U.S. territorial seas and not operate in a manner that disrupts the ongoing Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise.”

There was no immediate comment from Beijing.

U.S. officials hope China’s participation in RIMPAC helps avert misunderstandings on the high seas but analysts long cautioned the maneuvers may ultimately help Beijing strengthen its growing naval capability by observing the forces of the United States and its allies.

Still, the United States also conducts surveillance operations in international waters and airspace and the Navy did not voice protest over the appearance of the Chinese vessel, described as a Chinese Navy auxiliary general intelligence ship.

Even though the vessel was inside America’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone, it was operating within international law, James said.

Still, James said he was unaware of any participant doing something similar since the drills began in 1971.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time a nation has ever sent a surveillance ship near Hawaii while also having invited ships participating in the RIMPAC exercise,” James said.

The Chinese ships participating in the drills are the missile destroyer Haikou, the missile frigate Yueyang, the supply ship Qiandaohu and the hospital ship Peace Ark.

Chinese forces include two helicopters, a commando unit and a diving unit, a total 1,100 personnel.

The exercises come at a time when tensions are high between Beijing and U.S. allies such as Japan and the Philippines over China’s pressing of territorial claims in the South and East China Seas. They also come after a dispute with Vietnam that led to one of the worst breakdowns in ties since they fought a brief war in 1979.

CHINESE LEADER WOOS LATIN AMERICA WITH DEALS

CHINAChina’s President Xi Jinping (L) is welcomed by his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff at Planalto Palace on July 17, 2014 in Brasilia (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

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By Laurent Thomet

Brasilia (Brazil) (AFP) – China’s president pressed a charm offensive with Latin America on Thursday, signing deals with Brazil, meeting regional leaders and proposing a $20 billion infrastructure fund that highlights Beijing’s growing interests in the region.

President Xi Jinping was greeted with a military honor guard in Brasilia by President Dilma Rousseff before overseeing the signing of a raft of agreements during a state visit.

Xi then met behind-closed doors with a dozen Latin American and Caribbean leaders, including Cuba’s communist President Raul Castro.

After the summit, Rousseff said China proposed the creation of a $20 billion fund to finance infrastructure projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

He also offered a credit line of up to $10 billion to nations of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

In addition, a Chinese-Latin American cooperation fund of $5 billion would be set up for investments.

- Brazil-China deals -

Earlier, Rousseff and Xi oversaw the signing of several agreements between the two emerging powers.

Chinese companies agreed to buy 60 Brazilian Embraer E190 passenger airplanes worth a total of $3.2 billion.

The two countries also reached agreements to cooperate in railway projects and shipping that could facilitate Brazilian exports to resource-hungry China.

The Asian giant’s import-export bank will loan $5 billion over three years to Brazilian mining powerhouse Vale so that the company, which ships iron ore to China, can buy or rent vessels.

The two nations signed a cooperation agreement for railway projects, with Brazil hoping China will help build tracks linking the continent-sized South American country to Peru’s Pacific coast.

Xi and Rousseff, whose nations marked 40 years of diplomatic relations, also launched the Portuguese-language version of China’s Baidu Internet search engine.

“Our relations, which represent a truly strategic partnership, are developing at an unprecedented speed in diverse areas of cooperation,” Rousseff said.

Xi said China aims to “strengthen our strategy to create an even more prosperous future for our nations.”

- Alternative to US -

Xi arrived in Brazil this week for a summit of the BRICS group of emerging powers — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — and South American presidents.

The visit is Xi’s second to Latin America since taking office last year, when he toured Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago.

This week, the BRICS agreed to launch a New Development Bank to fund infrastructure projects in developing nations and an emergency reserve, drawing praise from Latin American presidents who see them as alternatives to Western-dominated financial institutions.

“We welcome this commitment to a new international order that is just and equitable,” Castro said in written remarks.

Venezuela’s leftist President Nicolas Maduro hailed the “relations of mutual respect between a world giant like China and Latin America.”

With the visit, Xi is presenting China as an alternative to the United States in the region, analysts say.

“China is an option that matches with the leftist political sympathy that it has with some countries in the region,” said Rubens Figueiredo, foreign relations professor at Sao Paulo University.

China’s massive purchases of commodities and exports of manufactured goods to the region have boosted its two-way trade with Latin America to a total of $261.6 billion last year, according to official figures.

After Brazil, Xi will head to Argentina, a key source of soybeans for China, before visiting oil-supplier Venezuela and communist ally Cuba.

Despite China’s growing investments in the region, it will be hard for Beijing to dislodge the United States in Latin America, said Yun Sun, East Asia expert at the Washington-based Stimson Center think-tank.

“US-Latin America long-standing, traditional ties will not be easily affected by the Chinese political and economic engagements, which are more recent and less comprehensive than US-Latin American relations,” she told AFP.

KERRY, HAGEL TO VISIT INDIA TO PUSH STRATEGIC TIES

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By David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – America’s top diplomat and the head of its Defense Department will visit India in coming weeks seeking to revitalize a relationship the United States sees as a crucial counterbalance in Asia to an increasingly assertive China.

Secretary of State John Kerry will represent the United States in an annual session of Strategic Dialogue with India scheduled for July 31, and he will be followed to New Delhi by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in early August, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

They will be the most senior U.S. officials to visit India for talks with the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since his May election. Modi is expected to visit the United States in September.

In testimony for a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Nisha Biswal, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asia, noted that President Barack Obama had said the U.S.-India relationship would be “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.”

She also said Modi had told U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns in India last week that the world would benefit from closer U.S.-India ties.

“Across the board … we have an opportunity here to engage more robustly with in India in how the Asian landscape unfolds,” she said. “And we look forward to engaging with the new government in that agenda.”

Biswal referred to planned joint military exercises involving India, the United States and Japan, a country with a growing strategic rivalry with China in East Asia.

“We see opportunities for increasing the collaboration across Southeast Asia,” she said.

“We are engaging more frequently in consultations and dialogue with India on ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and look forward to increased and more frequent consultations across the East Asian sphere,” Biswal said, adding:

“A rising India is in some ways going to be an ameliorating influence on China, in China’s own growth and China’s own behavior in the region.”

Amy Searight, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia, said there was “a real strategic convergence” as India looked east in Asia and the United States pursued its “rebalance” to the continent.

“We both are looking to the challenges in East Asia today, of which a rising China is certainly a major part,” she said.

Searight said there were growing relationships between India and Japan and India and the ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, a country which has been playing out a bitter territorial rivalry with Beijing in the South China Sea.

Referring to India’s growing relationships with other Asian countries, Searight added: “We want to capitalize on that … we want to support that activity.”

THE FALSE NARRATIVE OF CHINESE-INDIAN FRIENDSHIP

A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

A signboard on the Indian side of the Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh, November 11, 2009. (Adnan Abidi / Courtesy Reuters)

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By Tansen Sen | Foreign Affairs

Although China and India are often described in the West as rivals, the governments and some scholars of those countries have deliberately tried to paint a different portrait of their relationship. Since at least the first half of the twentieth century, several prominent members of Chinese and Indian elites have been in thrall to an intellectual movement known as pan-Asianism, which posits a deep cultural — and, by extension, political — solidarity between Asia’s two largest countries. The rhetoric of pan-Asianism has evolved over the decades, from the “brotherly” relationship described by the Indian intellectual Rabindranath Tagore and his Chinese contemporary Liang Qichao in the early twentieth century to the euphoric “Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai” (India-China brotherhood) celebrated by political leaders in the 1950s to the idea of “Chindia,” put forward by the Indian politician and columnist Jairam Ramesh in our current era.

The core aspect of this rhetoric has remained consistent: it has always justified present-day friendship between China and India on the basis of allegedly harmonious ancient ties. Today, diplomats and academics in both countries routinely claim that the two have enjoyed more than 2,000 years of mutual solidarity and peaceful exchange. This romanticized narrative is used as a diplomatic tool by policymakers who want to sidestep acrimonious border disputes and foster closer cultural ties between Beijing and Delhi.

An increasing number of scholars, however, are acknowledging that this narrative not only distorts historical reality but also, as demonstrated by the military conflict between China and India in 1962, may not be capable of sustainably resolving tensions between the two countries. A new collection of academic essays, India in the Chinese Imagination, is an overdue effort to more accurately portray and critically examine the ancient ties between China and India, with a special focus on the role of Buddhism. The contributors reveal that China regularly rejected aspects of Indian culture that did not fit into the Chinese context. Solidarity between the two civilizations, contrary to the claims of present-day diplomats and politicians, was never truly attained.

TWEAKING BUDDHISM

The first corrections to the standard narrative appear in the book’s introduction, where the editors of the book, Stanford University professor John Kieschnick and Tel Aviv University professor Meir Shahar, point out that direct contact between the two regions in ancient times was in reality very limited and mostly mediated by various middlemen, including Parthians and Sogdians from Central Asia and Arabs and Persians from the Middle East.

The editors also note that claims of a long-standing Chinese-Indian relationship are complicated by the fact that China and India didn’t exist as coherent or independent states until the twentieth century. Using contemporary countries as a shorthand for describing the ancient world obscures how amorphous Asian borders once were. Consider the case of the ancient Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, who is typically described by Chinese and Indian scholars and politicians as a native of southern India responsible for introducing martial arts to China in the fifth or sixth century after taking residence in the famous Shaolin Temple. But in a splendid chapter by the late John R. McRae, a leading scholar of Zen Buddhism, the truth is shown to be more complicated. McRae writes that the earliest Chinese reference to Bodhidharma records him as a person from an area now under the jurisdiction of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This raises the question of why he should be evoked as a symbol of close ties between Beijing and Delhi, rather than as a symbol of ties between Beijing and Kabul, or Beijing and Islamabad.

Buddhism typically plays a central role in contemporary Chinese-Indian cultural diplomacy. This, however, comes at the neglect of the study of Hindu influences on Chinese society. India in the Chinese Imagination highlights this important facet of ancient interactions between India and China. In one chapter, Meir Shahar examines China’s popular fiendish divinity called Nezha, which he traces back to Hinduism. Nezha, Shahar argues, has its origins in Nalakubara, the son of the famous Hindu deity known as Vaisravana. The latter was introduced to China in the seventh century through translations of Tantric Buddhist texts and appropriated by Chinese storytellers who began associating him with a historical Chinese warrior from the Tang dynasty named Li Jing. Nezha is a remarkable example of the amalgamation of Chinese and Indian mythologies — but to that extent, Nezha also testifies to the distinctiveness that was attained during the process of transmitting Indian ideas to China.

Another Indian deity discussed in this volume is King Yama, the god of death. Similar to Vaisravana, Yama originated in ancient Hindu tradition and was later incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon. From there, he made his way to Chinese culture. Columbia University’s Bernard Faure traces the avenue by which Yama and the ritual practices associated with him spread. In China, Yama eventually became identified as a fearsome deity in charge of judging and punishing the dead, and he was often portrayed in images that illustrated the torments of hell. China’s Buddhist clergy, Faure notes, used Yama to induce fear among the Chinese populace about karmic retribution, which “may reflect an attempt by the Buddhists to strengthen their hold on Chinese society.” The idea of hell that emerged in China thus bore traces of ancient Indian culture, but eventually developed into an entirely distinct conception with roots in indigenous Chinese culture.

This volume also explores the culture of sexuality in China and India, a subject that most scholars have avoided until now. Focusing on the Hindu-Buddhist deity Mahesvara (commonly known as Shiva), Nobuyoshi Yamabe of the Tokyo University of Agriculture compares phallic symbolism in Chinese and Indian texts. Yamabe discovers that local Chinese Buddhists censored sexually explicit discussions and images filtering into China from India. It seems that the Chinese were insistent on maintaining their own traditions concerning sexuality, rather than adopting those common in India.

This theme — China’s uneasy appropriation of certain aspects of Indian culture — is also the theme of the final three chapters of the book. Robert H. Sharf of University of California, Berkeley, illustrates that medieval Chinese Buddhists were indifferent to the contemporaneous philosophical debates in India about existential issues. The French scholar Christine Mollier examines the ways that the Chinese (especially adherents of traditional Daoist religion) struggled to accept Indian concepts of karmic causality with the “simultaneous rejection and appropriation of the foreign tradition.” Stephen R. Bokenkamp of Arizona State University explores Chinese strategies for dealing with unfamiliar Indian scripts. These chapters show that the ancient encounters between these two very distinct cultural zones were extraordinarily complex, because they were each operating on the basis of beliefs and practices that seemed mutually irreconcilable. These and other chapters do demonstrate that ancient China and India managed to become connected with each other, but only through an arduous process of translating, rendering, explaining, and altering new ideas. Each cultural zone acquired an image of the other — but those images were distinct from what each side saw when they looked in the mirror.

CHINDIA’S BORDERS

The question of whether the ancient cultural exchanges are in any way relevant to the contemporary relations between China and India is mostly outside the scope of the book. But, with many diplomats and politicians in both countries answering that question in the affirmative, it deserves closer scrutiny.

There are three significant differences between the interactions that took place in the first millennium AD and present-day bilateral relations. First, territorialized states — and the sense in both states of distinct national interests — did not exist when Buddhist monks and itinerant traders wandered ancient China and India. Although various Indian polities and the courts of successive Chinese dynasties conducted diplomatic exchanges, the overall context and aims of political communication were vastly different from the contemporary political agenda. The emergence of two nation states in the mid twentieth century resulted in the creation of a common border for the first time. It is this border that is now the key cause of conflict between India and China. Ancient interactions between the two regions, even in the absence of a common border, were not always peaceful and harmonious, as pan-Asianist and bhai-bhai propagandists would have us believe. Chinese governments on several occasions instigated regime changes in South Asia. And in the early fifteenth century, the famous Ming admiral Zheng He used military force in the Malabar coast and Sri Lanka, most likely to demonstrate Ming dynasty’s hegemony in the Indian Ocean region.

Second, using Buddhism to promote contemporary exchanges and understanding is a complicated matter. As is clear from the chapters in India in the Chinese Imagination, the spread of Buddhist teachings to China involved several modifications and rejections of teachings and practices. In fact, by the tenth century, the Buddhists in China had started charting their own path and formed their schools of Buddhist teachings that needed little, if any, input from their Indian counterparts. The invoking of Buddhism in contemporary relations discounts this important divergence and fails to recognize the distinct Buddhist traditions in India and China that have evolved over the past 1,000 years.

Finally, it must be recognized that China and India — their worldviews, self-perceptions, social and political concerns, and geographical contours — have changed vastly over the past 2,000 years. To say that the two regions have had a continuous and consistent relationship with one another is mistaken, because the two societies have not had consistent relationships with themselves. The rhetoric of Chindia might serve the purposes of contemporary international relations and government propaganda. But it crumbles when exposed to first-rate scholarship of the sort found in India in the Chinese Imagination.

JAPAN’S PM VISITS PAPUA NEW GUINEA

ABE-

By Will Morrow

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s spent two full days in the resource-rich South Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG) last Friday and Saturday, underscoring the geo-strategic ambitions behind his government’s decision to “re-interpret” Japan’s constitution to enable the country’s armed forces to engage in overseas military operations.

Abe was accompanied by a business delegation of more than 150 people on the first visit by a Japanese PM to the small country in three decades. Abe’s tour, which also included New Zealand and Australia, came days after his announcement of a constitutional “reinterpretation” aimed at removing any obstacle to the re-emergence of Japanese militarism. A major component of that strategy means securing energy supplies.

Japan was the first buyer from ExxonMobil’s just-completed $US19 billion liquefied natural gas project in PNG, which is expected to produce 255 billion cubic metres of LNG over the next 30 years. Abe told the Port Moresby Post-Courier before his visit that “the government of Japan regards the LNG development project as one of the priority areas of our bilateral cooperation.”

Another major Japanese business interest in PNG is a plan by Mitsubishi Corporation and Itochu to develop a $1 billion petrochemical plant. According to the Australian, the Japanese business delegation accompanying Abe included the chairman of JX Holdings, the parent company of Nippon Oil, which owns 4.7 percent of PNG LNG. In addition to a $197 million pledge of government aid, Japan is offering PNG low-interest loans from the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation.

As the Australian noted, the prospect of ongoing LNG imports from PNG “holds special appeal for Japan, since 60 percent of its gas imports presently have to traverse the increasingly disputed South China Sea.” The South China Sea has been the stage of increasingly tense territorial disputes, fomented by the United States, between China and the Philippines and Vietnam.

While China was not publicly mentioned during Abe’s PNG visit, commentators said the trip sent a message to Beijing. “This visit is a big signal to the region, and also to China, that Japan still has a stake in the region,” Jenny Hayward-Jones, director of the Myer Melanesia Program at Australia’s Lowy Institute, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Its trade and investment interests are strong, and it has a political interest if its prime minister is prepared to spend two days in PNG and bring a huge delegation with him.”

Abe declared Japan’s “determination to even more actively contribute to ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in the international community, including the Pacific regions.” Washington has used similar words to justify its “pivot to Asia”—a systematic military, diplomatic and economic build-up aimed against China.

Well aware of the deep antiwar sentiment and opposition to the constitutional reinterpretation in the Japanese working class, Abe also sought to use the PNG visit as a platform to promote patriotism and reverence for Japanese soldiers killed in World War II.

Abe conducted a stage-managed trip to Wewak, where he visited the Brandi battlefield and a war memorial for Japanese troops. PNG, where about 200,000 Japanese soldiers died, was the scene of some of the most terrible fighting of World War II.

Abe vowed never to “repeat the horrors of war,” telling reporters: “I pledged in front of the spirits of the war dead that Japan wants to be a country that thinks about world peace with its friends in Asia and around the world.” Yet, he clearly glorified the military campaigns of World War II. According to the Japanese public broadcaster NHK World, Abe said Japan’s present-day prosperity was based on the troops who sacrificed their lives.

Abe also visited Cape Wom, the site of the Japanese army’s surrender in PNG, and reportedly secured an agreement with PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for the return of soldiers’ remains to Japan. This will lay the basis for a series of militarist reburial ceremonies, designed to overcome popular hostility to preparations for another war.

Abe’s comments are in line with his administration’s efforts to whitewash the crimes of Japanese imperialism, including the Japanese army’s use of sex slaves, or “comfort women,” during World War II, and the Nanking Massacre of 1937, in which up to 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were killed.

Because of its energy and mineral resources, and strategic location, PNG, a longtime Australian colony, is being drawn into the firing line of the mounting tensions between the US, China and Japan.

The strategic significance of the ExxonMobil LNP plant was highlighted in 2011, when then-US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton accused China of seeking to undermine the US grip over the project. She told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the project was an example of the competition underway between China and the US.

Referring to the gas supplies at stake, she asserted: “ExxonMobil is producing it. China is in there every day, in every way, trying to figure out how its going to come in behind us, come in under us.” She declared it would be “mistaken” to think the US would retreat from “the maintenance of our leadership in a world where we are competing with China.”

So far, Washington has encouraged the unshackling of Japanese militarism, as part of its build-up against China. But US and Japanese imperialism fought for control over PNG, and the entire Asia-Pacific region, in the last world war. The re-emergence of Japanese militarism and its quest to secure access to energy and other critical resources once again poses the question of which imperialist power will dominate the region and, in particular, subjugate China.

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