China, under the egotistical megalomaniac Xi Jinping, has taken a turn towards a geopolitical suicide. For the first time, China has explicitly granted permission to its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels, a move that could see contested waters around the nation become more volatile. While the Chinese Communist Party and it’s Naval People’s Liberation Army (NPLA) have steadily been increasing their belligerence in the disputed waters of the East China Sea, this legislation goes way beyond the grey areas.
While earlier there was a chance for deliberation between the two sides of China and Japan over the disputed waters of the East China Sea and the Senkaku Islands, Jinping has taken more decisive yet disastrous steps in his sheer frustration of loosing in every single sector.
This irresponsible step by the Jinping administration goes beyond any norm of intimidation and nudging. And if one looks at the current development from the lens of the delicacy of the territorial issue between China and Japan, the recent action by China is no less than a declaration of war!
The Xi Jinping administration has tried to intimidate Japan and when it did not work out, China even tried to placate Tokyo, which was its policy decision for the later part of 2020 and even till a few days ago.
Biden has already hinted at reversing many of Trump’s policies on China. And by essentially scaling back the trade war, he would let China go scot-free apart from puny restrictions on Human Rights as if that worried China, which is now a part of the UN’s Human Right’s Council. Thus, in view that a weakened US policy on China under Biden would be detrimental to all the efforts made to keep a check on its rising belligerence, like-minded powers are coming together.
However, Jinping too has become confident in his ability to intimidate the alliance of like-minded countries minus the US. Thus, the recent Chinese actions come even after the trilateral meet among the representatives of India-Japan-France. French envoy Emmanuel Lenain, who was also present at the virtual meet had said, “We are building piece by piece a strategic triangle between Paris, Tokyo and Delhi committed to a rules-based Indo-Pacific order.”
For a very long time, China has indulged in maritime sovereignty disputes with Japan and several Southeast Asian countries in the East China Sea and often uses its coast guards to fend off the fishermen from the territories that it considers its own.
As per the same news report, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters that they had conveyed their interest and concern to the other side regarding the new law, calling Xi Jinping’s continued forays “extremely regrettable”. The new bill also gives the coast guard personnel a green light to demolish structures built on the reefs by other countries in the territories claimed by China, notwithstanding the status of the dispute and to board and inspect any foreign vessels in Chinese-claimed waters, thus, ending any scope of deliberation.
From whatever frame of reference you may look, it is obvious that Xi Jinping can see his defeat in the larger geopolitical game, which has frustrated him. To continue holding sway domestically and internationally, he is using desperate measures, which will end up being counterintuitive.