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China has set the record on naval power. It has the largest armed force in the world, the number being estimated at 2.25 million troops (Beier, 2005). More than this, nuclear weapons place them at a unique position, raising their chances of becoming a homogeny. This means that their aspirations are directed towards becoming more powerful, up to the point when no other power can challenge it. The world watches as China grows in strength every day. The naval power in China is growing bigger in every way and expectations of further rise are very high. Thus, despite the upset of the balance of power in East-Asian region, Chinese naval power will bring stability to the region as it will provide more security for the trade routes for East-Asian countries, promote peace and security amongst states and carefully replace the U.S. presence in the region.
Chinese Navy has been increasing in power over a number of years now (Li, 2009). Much like previous empires and hegemonies, key success to maintain a global power is to have a power navy. This not only enables the state to regulate the trade flow, but also demonstrate its might to other states. China’s navy has been a crucial part of becoming hegemony. The Chinese economic and political power is increasing as well as its navy (Li, 2010). It is important to examine the symbiosis between the enhancement of the naval power and regional balance of power in East-Asia. The increase in Chinese naval power will affect the regional balance of power in East Asia as discussed below in this paper.
China has an estimated 30 intercontinental and 110 intermediate range ballistic missiles, which it intends to use in the bid to defend the country (Crisp, 2010). The marine force is also highly armed, and more launches into the same area are expected in the future. The nuclear power is so forceful that neither the power of United States of America nor the Russian one can be used as a basis of comparison. Other nations in the East Asian parts of the world give a lot of credit to China as far as naval military ability and power is concerned (Li, 2010).
It is clear that the gap between the military power of the United States of America and that one of China is becoming smaller day by day (Lim, 2011). The strength of China’s naval power challenges the existence of U.S.A military and the entire East-Asian region. The security of many nations has relied mainly on the ability of nations to maintain peace with the U.S.A government (Kamphausen, 2011). The question raised is whether the rise of China’s naval power will maintain the same standard in the East-Asian region (Pillai, 2008). Many nations are concerned on whether they shall enjoy peace, despite the change of the superpowers` positions.. Therefore, balance of power simply remains challenged with the rise of such military forces like the China’s one.
Nations around the East-Asian region are under great caution due to the changes that have resulted, following the rise of China as a super power (Pillai, 2008). It is inevitable that relationships and certain alignments between different nations in the East-Asian region will change. Therefore, nations are planning their defense forces, keeping in mind that the balance of power is bound to change. China’s naval power is likely to cause a shift of superpowers that may affect global peace, as nations speculate, and as they remain prepared for tensions and war (Ross, 2006). The military power is concerned that other nations will be unwilling to wait and see China overpower the Americans, and the alliances to contain it are made. However, the speculations on possible war could be misplaced (Ross, 2010). China is rising in naval power and it will definitely affect the nations around the East-Asian region on international relations.
Counting on the peaceful rise of China, several benefits can be achieved in the East Asian region (Yoshihara and Holmes, 2011). For example, it will bring a lot of security as far as trade is concerned, allowing the nations in this region to access the routes that were once impossible. Secondly, it will bring a lot of peace in the region, as they ensure that the nations are very secure even amongst themselves. Moreover, the rise in the China’s naval power tentatively has the strength to overcome the military operations of the United States in the East-Asian region as the most dominant international power.
Rise of the Chinese Naval Power
The world came to the unipolar system of ruler ship, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The United States of America dominated the system, becoming a globally well recognized superpower (Purvis, 2011). For decades no power has been able to challenge the military power of the USA (Li, 2009). In fact, many nations predicted that it would be impossible to challenge it, even after many years. The American military prowess has always earned them trust from other nations (Purvis, 2011). This has made it easy to occupy such regions as the East Asian region, providing security in the region where the war and conflict is dominant (Pillai, 2008). The East Asian region comprise five nations which are: China, Mongolia, the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea, Japan and the Republic of Korea (Beier, 2005). The region is among the world’s most populated regions in the world. It is estimated that it has more than 130 inhabitants per square (Ericson, 2008). The population heavily depends on the naval security of the region. The nations around the region have interest on the resources that are within the sea, and the commodities that come through the sea.
Economic growth and development of the countries in the East Asian region entirely depends on the resources within the sea (Ericson, 2008). The hydrocarbon, coming from coal and oil, is the resource every nation contends for. As such, many of the nations will claim the ownership of the resource, causing territorial disputes. Energy resources are scarce, yet very vital for any given nation (Beier, 2005). For several decades, energy resources have become the central focus all over the world. Freedom, peace and stability have been advocated in the regions where the energy sources are located. However, some of the efforts seem unfruitful, calling for more stern measures to be taken to ensure stability. The East Asia region has, therefore, the paramount significance in the world today. The development of the naval power of China seems to be moving towards that direction.
The region is known for its culture complexity and diversity (Ericson, 2008). Many of the inhabitants do not share the same religion or the same culture. Some of them are Muslims, others Christians, while others practice Hinduism. There are also indigenous religions, which include Confucianism, Shinto in Japan, shamanism that is mainly practiced in Korea, Taoism among others. The ethnic groups are also many and diverse (Pillai, 2008). Only this can pose threats to the regions security; if at all, no stern measures are taken. More so, the governments within the region are different, formed basing on very diverse ideologies. This means that the region is exposed to political instability. In the past, many conflicts have arisen, creating a lot of insecurity within the region. Governments have been overthrown, while the people have been left in the great social crisis (Lim, 2011). China’s diversification on the naval military unit is slowly taking up the mandate of addressing these challenges.
The economic dynamism of East Asia is great (Crisp, 2010). The region is endowed with great natural resources that attract many tourists. The sea region is very attractive to the global world, earning it a lot of foreign exchange. The seas bordering the region also give much economical benefit to it. The seas have been positioned strategically for oil trade, accounting for more than a quarter of the world’s oil trade. This has given a lot of credit to it, with possible chances of expansion in the future. Still, the population in the region heavily depends on the thriving marine trade (Yoshihara and Holmes, 2011). They are able to gain meaningful living out of fishing among other submarine trade. International peace and the policy of neutrality in the East-Asian region is a key determinant of success in trade. China`s developments in its naval power base come in handy at such a time when such need arises.
The fight for supremacy has troubled the East-Asian region for many years. The United States military forces have been very instrumental in addressing the matter. Currently, the region heavily depends on the presence of troops from the United States of America (Kamphausen, 2011). The American government is allied to several nations such as Japan and Taiwan (Crisp, 2010). For many years Japan has been able to help the U.S troops in their military operations. In return, the U.S troops have provided security to Japan as a nation. Taiwan on the other hand has recorded a lot of economic growth and development because of the alliance that exist between the nation and the U.S. This has been in pursuit of a power balance within the region.
Despite the benefits of this dependence, there have been many setbacks. The region, for example, has been forced to conform to some of the U.S policies (Purvis, 2011). They have been unable to reconcile the differences that have kept arising over the years. Some of the policies, made by the U.S government, only further divided the region (Purvis, 2011). For example, opening of the world market to the farmers in the region was supported by Southeast Asia, while Japan and Korea opposed it (Ross, 2006). The United States of America’s militia has also been known to use excessive force within the region (Kamphausen, 2011). This has brought the mistrust and rivalry. The American government is viewed with suspicion. Several nations see the government as one that pursues personal goals and interests, without taking into consideration the nation’s interests. They have been able to push up for their own agendas, coercing other nations to comply with their standards (Pillai, 2008). Some of the agendas include human rights provision among others. There is, therefore, tension within the region, as some of the nations refuse to comply with the requirements of the U.S government, while some support the government fully. In the future, it is likely that nations will want to break away from pursuing Americans interests, and move towards promoting national interests along with China’s move in developing its naval military unit (Kamphausen, 2011).
Several alignments have been seen to develop, so that the U.S troops can finally be removed from the region (Lim, 2011). China’s naval power is apparently embarking on such a process quietly. This poses great threats to the security of the region. Some of the nations have already shown signs of alliances, as a bid to do away with the Americas militia. The people of these regions are under terror. The enemies of the U.S government are more likely to retaliate and attack such regions (Purvis, 2011). Conflict therefore seems easier than peace, with the continual presence of the U.S troops in the region.
Chinese Naval Power and the Implications
The rise of China as a superpower is likely to be embraced. It has been able to prove without reasonable doubt that it is capable of bringing many benefits in its rise (Cheung, 1990). The involvement of China in the Taiwan presidential election in 1995, for example, gave it a lot of credibility (Ross, 2006). It was able to pursue its national goal of having one China and such, many nations have been able to align their thoughts with those of the nation. The nations aligned to it are likely to receive economic growth and security. In particular, the East-Asian region is likely to be on the verge of breakthrough.
It is possible that the rise of Chinese naval power will bring in a lot of relief in the region. The American militia is likely to end its operations in the region. The political and economic struggles will be done away with, and a new era will be ushered in. China’s naval ambitions are likely to gain support from Japan and other powerful nations, such as South Korea. These nations are strongly opposed to some of the policies proposed by the U.S government. For example, Japan needs to be assured that the U.S navy is pursuing the interests of the nation (Ross, 2010). However, the U.S navy has not guaranteed such deals. The relationship between the two countries seems to get strained day by day. The American navy has been seen as one that breaches the terms of agreement and is opposed to any other nation’s opinion. In this regard, America is not able to manage its relationship with the partners effectively.
It is, therefore, very important that security in the region is enhanced, so that the high population is able to conduct trade without any barriers. Economic and political stability can be achieved if, and only if, a great military power is deployed within the region (Li, 2010). The Chinese naval capacity perfectly fits in this mandate. The security of the region is likely to get better if China is going to adopt sustainable strategies in its naval military unit. This will bring the stability and prosperity that has been yearned for many years. The world today is moving towards an era of co-operation as far as keeping peace is concerned. Nations view peace- keeping as something that cannot be controlled by one superpower while they follow its military rules and regulations (Pillai, 2008). There is a move to ensure that problems such as terrorism, degrading of the environment, depletion of resources cannot be achieved without co-operation from other nations. China is likely to understand this clearly through its naval military engagement. It is clear that China’s naval power is posing a great challenge to the United States in the East-Asia region. More results are likely to be achieved through diplomacy and ensuring greater market forces all over the world.
The Chinese government is ready to make economic investments within the region through its naval military operations (Crisp, 2010). The investments are likely to bring a turnaround in the East Asian region. The Chinese government has been moving towards globalization. A lot of priority has been given to privatization of the state-owned properties. This has literally opened the Chinese country to the world (Beier, 2005). Most nations of the world are likely to make more ties with the government in the near future. The steps that China has taken towards globalization and convergence with other nations in the form of several reforms have enabled China to get a unique position of the economic growth. It has been rated at number six in terms of world’s largest economies. However, it is almost impossible to make serious investments unless security is enhanced. The only option is to take over the responsibility of offering good security in the region and that is why the naval power of China is paramount.
Several agreements between the East Asian countries are going to remove trade barriers, creating a free trade area. This will make many nations come together and enhance trade relations and hence economic growth of the region (Lim, 2011). More so, the area is dependent on safe shipping that can be affordable. The United States cannot provide this. The trading interests of China are more likely to seek to gain control of security, so the shipping is made easier. This is the work of the China’s navy which seems to be strategically aligned to take charge of the situation. Japan will support the efforts because they rely on importation of food and other important resources. Taiwan is also likely to support China due to the dependency of shipping for basic amenities.
The creation of public goods, as a global move, cannot be left to the control of the U.S troops. Shipping lanes, fisheries, better markets have become public goods that must be achieved through the co-operation of various nations (Li, 2009). China rises while the outcry for such a time is being evidenced. The policies that the rising Chinese naval power is likely to make will replace the older ones, giving better alternatives instead. It is possible that the growth of the Chinese naval military power will enable the region to gain more ties within the region. It is likely to call for co-operation, especially when there are important sea-lanes and other important routes. They are also more likely to call for co-operation in their bid to defend the territory. This includes efforts to have joint training of the naval defense team, sharing of intelligence and having similar weapons in the region.
The diplomatic improvements are inevitable with the growth of Chinese naval power (Heginbotham, 2002). The Chinese government has shown with no reasonable doubt that it is capable of defending and helping other nations during the crisis. Moreover, their military endowment makes it possible for other nations to look up to them for defense. For example, Beijing is likely to be wooed by the well capable defense force in China. They have been particularly negative as far as use of military power is concerned to achieve political goals. This is slowly changing as China proves its ability to link military capability and diplomacy. In the past the Chinese navy has adopted strategies to modernize it. It set up steps to lay a strong foundation as a first priority. This has already happened, making it possible to implement other strategies. The other strategy is to make great progresses by 2020 (Pillai, 2008). The other step is to be able to lay strategic goals and objectives by the time they get to the mid twenty-first century. This includes having an armed force that is informed. This will ensure a defense force that is able to bring the security within the region. The goal is to foster peace amongst the nations in the region and other countries. The defense team is meant to achieve mutual benefits, and the call is actually to receive co-operation from other nations.
Some of the regional goals, that will be achieved, are maintenance of sovereignty of nations, securing regional development goals, and having an organized response to any possible threat.
Politically, China is able to provide better alternatives (Ross, 2010). The United States base its political ideologies on liberal democracy and capitalistic approach in their model. This has not left the world at a better place when it comes to the human rights enhancement and growth. China offers an alternative that may successfully achieve human rights goals through its naval base. This is achieved through Confucian ideology, which promotes the peasants and other low class individuals in the modern world. In Eastern Asia, the bid to achieve human rights goals has almost been impossible despite the policies of the American government (Li, 2009). By ushering in the rule of the Chinese naval power in the region, these goals are more likely to be achieved. The Chinese naval power will protect the islands within the region that are well endowed with numerous resources (Heginbothan, 2002). The resources include crude oil and natural gas. The supply of petroleum is to be secured, due its unavailability and the economic significance of the product. Major Powers are attracted to this product and as such, it has been subject to competition. For decades, the energy security remains one of the reasons why nations have kept fighting, other making agreements on the same. The dependency on the crude oil makes it inevitable that a power a systemized way of protecting the product is provided. The nations in the East Asia are recognizing the need to make changes on the protection of this resource (Lim, 2011).
Reliance on the US has proved to be problematic due to the economic challenges that they have continually faced (Beier, 2005). For example, recessive years have questioned the credibility of the state to provide security. While at it, Chinese naval power looks promising. Their capability to provide security of the resource is becoming more reliable. They have less chances of recession and economic prospects are very reliable.
Economic development and growth for China entirely depends on the security of energy reserves (Crisp, 2010). The transport of crude oil is hindered by insecurity. The shipping lanes must be stable if at all economic growth is going to be achieved. Therefore, the likelihood of use of force and, thus, causing insecurity from the Chinese naval power is unlikely (Cheung, 1990). The likelihood of making good relations with the main suppliers, Iran, Iraq and Libya, are very high. They understand well the implications of forceful acquirement of crude oil. It may result to more insecurity in the region. This only leaves diplomacy as the only amicable solution for the crisis. Negotiations are more likely to take place in the coming years, and China will be on the forefront towards this.
China has been able to come up with a policy known as three ‘NOs’ (Ericson, 2008). For one, there is an agreement that there shall be no engagement with other power outside the region. This will avoid alliances that bring more conflicts within the region. The second “no” entails doing away with multilateral agreements and negotiations. Lastly, the policy discourages involvement of the international community in the issue. China, therefore, calls for negotiation and co-operation with the community that is competing for the resources in the region. They are willing to have joint development goals with the nations that dispute over certain regions, for example, Spratly islands (Lim, 2011). However, the government is unwilling to compromise their control in some regions, such as Hainan islands, unless their political sovereignty is recognized. This calls for other nations coming together and discussing every prevailing issue so that stability is achieved. Chinese naval dominance of the is actually meant to benefit the region. The approach is called for amidst of all the prevailing conflicts.
Several areas of co-operation have already been identified (Ericson, 2008). For one, the mariners need to be trained. The mariners need to portray professionalism to ensure that the resources are preserved while at the same time achieving the economic goals and objectives. The second area is the exchange of data relevant for the effective marine trade. The third aspect is coming up with plans of avoiding pollution of environment as other goals are achieved. The last area is combating all acts against the laws of the sea, such as piracy and terrorist attacks. The Chinese naval power is pursuing these areas. Achievement of these goals will be a big step towards security in the region.
Chinese Hegemony in East Asia Region
The peaceful rise of China as a naval superpower is a subject of discussion in the international community scene. There are fears of forceful rise into power, making the East Asia region to be subject to imbalance of power. It is clear that any forceful rise into power will be met with opposition from the government of the United States. More so, the nations allied to the United States government would join forces to deter such an entry. The economic prosperity of China, coupled with the military endowment of the defense force makes it possible for China to gain full control of East Asia region. During the last 18 years, China has portrayed its capability to rise as hegemony within the region, and the nations are likely to have prepared for such a moment (Lim, 2011). Nations are obviously threatened. Several signs of this are the continuous preparation of confidence building measure. The measures are meant to ensure that China does not take over the East Asia region. Some of the issues that the measures have addressed are the creation of neutral zones within the region where no nation can claim territory over, transparency within the military and co-operation in military exercises.
The relationship between Japan and the United States of America acts as the greatest hindrance for China’s rise (Lim, 2011). The combined power of the two states may be able to contain China’s efforts. The naval force of the U.S. has more than 180 ships, and the number of aircrafts is exceeding two thousand. Japan is well able to use more than 45 surface combatants, which include helicopters and directed missiles (Ross, 2011). This and more naval power can easily contain China as a rising superpower. China must, therefore, be ready to compete with such forces or better work towards co-operation with Japan to remove the U. S troops from the region. The presence of the U.S navy in East Asia region to some extent has been of great relief in the region (Robinson and Hadiz, 2004). The peaceful order which happened as a result of the presence of the U.S navy has ensured that trade has been boosted. More so, stability has been achieved due to the realization that any threat would be dealt with amicably by the U.S government. Still, the facts that the U.S has been able to put clear-cut lines between politics and economic issues, nations have credited their presence. This has ensured that trade flows freely despite the fact that they have a lot disputes and that they are doubtful of each other.
It is important to note that the U.S navy has great power within its system (Xiabo, 2000). It is hard to replace such a system. The roots of the powers are deep, reinforced by various partnerships from Asia and other parts of the world. In this regard, removal of the U.S troops in East Asia seems impossible. One of the major setbacks for China is that it faces population problems (Ericson, 2008). The nation is so heavily populated to the point that the responsibility on China’s government is so high. Provision of basic amenities and economic development may come prior to the rise of China as hegemony in the East Asia region. The poverty levels within China as a nation are high, and this hinders the nation from ever being able to fight against heavy forces such as Japan and the U.S. This is because military conflicts call for a lot of funding and use of resources, which China may not have as a nation.
China’s rise to power in the navy has been possible because of the close tie it has established with the neighboring countries (Cheng and Tien, 2000). The dominance and the economic development of China requires total co-operation with the region. The probability of China destabilizing the region faces some challenges. Firstly, the capacity to convince some of the nations allied to the United States navy is limited. Chances of emerging of other superpowers like Japan cannot be ruled out. Japan has the capability of rising as a superpower in the coming decades (Ericson, 2008). The economic power for Japan is great, and much more growth is expected in future. To be able to rise as hegemony, the Chinese naval power is committed to deal with such powers, winning them to their side.
The challenge to remove the U.S as hegemony is of major consideration among the East Asian countries (Cheng and Tien, 2000). China’s naval power seems to rise up to the challenge of adopting better policies than the U.S navy to ensure that the region is stable. China must be ready to take stern measures to ensure that its activities do not lead to further conflict. Rather, every activity should further lead to peace and stability. The challenge in this pursuit is that areas of conflict may have to rise occasionally. To be hegemony, sometimes, a certain amount of force like that one of the China’s navy is required. The chances of having to suppress a few opposing sides are high, with the consideration that not everybody will co-operate in achieving common goals (Xiabo, 2000). Nations have often discussed on the way forward, and most of the nations agree to stability, peace and economic growth and development of the region.
Total balance of power is called for in the region (Cheng and Tien, 2000). China and other opposing powers are called to recognize the interests of other nations. The rights of the competing nations should be recognized to the point where they can co-operate in achieving common goals. This is one of the approaches that the U.S government has proposed in order to ensure achievement of balance of power in the region. However, balance of power may be a long process. The presence of the U.S government already threatens such moves (Ericson, 2008). The nations allied to it, together with policies that do not favor the regional peace and stability. Somehow, the chances of one power to rise above the hegemony of the U.S government are high. If that nation happens to be China, major benefits will be achieved. The setbacks could be high, and China must be ready to live by their word of peaceful rising. The nations which are likely to cause conflicts must be assured that the rise of China is only meant for the good of the country.
The regional balance within the East Asia region is vital. The powers interested in the resources that exist in the region have been involved in various conflicts. It is, therefore, crucial that any state looks into the well-being of the region. The sea-lanes should be secure enough to allow the large population that lives in the region to have more benefits. Every alliance made should ensure that security is enhanced and economic growth is boosted in every nation within the region. China as a nation has progressively proved that it is capable to rise as a superpower. This is evidenced by its high levels of economic growth and development, and its enormous naval power. Despite the speculations that China will threaten the balance of power in East Asia, the benefits of its rise are innumerable. The nation’s outcry of the U.S government to be finally removed from the region will finally be achieved. Ultimately, China will pursue the success of the region, unlike the U.S navy. Still the trade routes will be finally accessible, ensuring that the economic benefits of the region are gained peacefully. The call for secure sea-lanes seems to be at hand, counting on the Chinese naval power.