【英语中国】炫耀武力将削弱中国影响力

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2013-12-6 09:09

小艾摘要: Joe Biden began his week in Japan, where Tokyo’s politicians are furious at China; he then flew into Beijing which is seething about Tokyo’s behaviour; and tomorrow he is due in South Korea, which i ...
Joe Biden began his week in Japan, where Tokyo’s politicians are furious at China; he then flew into Beijing which is seething about Tokyo’s behaviour; and tomorrow he is due in South Korea, which is irate at both China and Japan. Welcome, Mr Vice-President, to East Asia’s new normal.

Two weeks ago, few people had ever heard of “air defence identification zones”, the Cold War-era set of regulations that China has decided to put in place across a large stretch of the East China Sea. But the obscure rules have become the latest flashpoint in the region’s unresolved disputes. By the end of the week, Air Force Two will probably have passed twice through the world’s most controversial airspace.

The air rules are part of a pattern: steady Chinese pressure to push its claims over disputed territories, particularly the islands Japan calls the Senkaku and China the Diaoyu. Since around 2008 China has been sending ships to patrol the seas around them. The air zone extends its claim to the skies above.

The long-term Chinese agenda is to exert greater control over the East China Sea and South China Sea and to ease the once dominant US Navy out of large stretches of the western Pacific. China is attempting what aspiring powers often do: to prevent another country from dominating its own region.

China’s move appear to be driving something of a wedge between Japan and the US. Tokyo was heartened when two US B-52 bombers flew across the air zone, calling China’s bluff. But to its displeasure, Washington has told US airlines to abide by the rules. Japan sees the pressure from China as a hot, immediate challenge: for the US, it is a more distant concern, a piece on a geopolitical chessboard.

Yet the Chinese tactics are too clever by half. Given Japan’s significant navy, China cannot just simply assert control over the Senkaku – as it was able to do last year with the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which is disputed by the Philippines. If Japan and the US maintain a firm and disciplined position and avoid provocations, the status quo is likely to hold for some time.

Even if China were to muscle control of the Senkaku from Japan, the downside would outweigh any potential gains. The uninhabited islands are a symbol of competing nationalism and of a great power tug-of-war, but they are of little strategic value and would be difficult to defend.

The diplomatic fallout would be immense. Beijing would like to isolate Japan in Asia. But such a move would end up engineering strong regional support for Japan. Even South Korea, one country that shares Beijing’s reservations about the Japanese, has been outraged by the Chinese air zone.

Most of all, Beijing would secure the enmity of the second-biggest economy in the region for generations. China, whose own economy depends on an open trading system, seems to think its tough approach will eventually oblige Japan to respect its designs for the region. But the likely result is one of two very different options: either a beefing up of the US-Japan alliance or a shift in Japan towards greater defence muscle, including even the possibility of a nuclear bomb. Beijing warns constantly about the revival of Japanese militarism, yet it is creating the conditions for its revival.

All of this raises questions about what sort of endgame China has in mind. In a recent speech in Beijing, Paul Keating, former Australian prime minister, laid out China’s dilemma. Mr Keating is one of a small group of retired Asia-Pacific leaders who believe the US should do more to accommodate China’s interests in the region and to share power with Beijing. But to his Chinese audience, he made a very different appeal. “There can be no stable and peaceful order in Asia unless Japan is, and feels itself to be, secure,” he said.

If Beijing really wants to shape the next century in Asia at the expense of the US, it will need friends and allies to advance its priorities and to push its agenda.

If, instead, it steps up efforts to coerce its neighbours, China is setting itself up to be a very lonely great power.

乔?拜登(Joe Biden)本周一在日本启动了他的此次亚洲之旅,在那里,他看到的是日本政界人士对中国极为恼火;然后他又飞抵北京,看到的是中国方面对日本的行为咬牙切齿;明日他将访问韩国,而韩方对中国和日本两方面都极为不满。这就是美国副总统面对的东亚新“常态”。

两周前,没有几个人听说过“防空识别区”这个概念。这是一套源于冷战时代的规则,而中国已决定在东中国海划设大范围的防空识别区。但这些晦涩的规则已成为该地区未决争端的最新引爆点。到本周结束时,美国副总统的专机很可能已两次飞越世界上最具争议性的空域。

这些空中规则是一整套策略的组成部分,这套策略是:中国对争议领土不断加大压力,推进自己的主权主张,尤其是针对日本称尖阁诸岛(Senkaku)、中国称钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿的东中国海岛群。大约从2008年开始,中国派出舰船在这些岛屿周围海域巡逻。防空识别区将中国的主权主张延伸到争议岛屿的上空。

中国的长远议程是加大对东中国海和南中国海的控制,逼退一度主宰浩瀚的西太平洋的美国海军。中国正在做出雄心勃勃的新兴强国经常做出的尝试:阻止另一个国家主宰自己的家门口。

中国此举似乎离间了日本和美国。当美国出动两架B-52轰炸机飞越中国防空识别区,证明中国不敢怎么样时,东京方面曾感到宽慰。但是,令日方不快的是,美方建议本国航空公司遵守中国防空识别区的规则。在日本看来,来自中国的压力是一个紧迫的、火烧眉毛般的挑战;而对美国来说,中国的姿态是一个较为遥远的问题,是地缘政治棋盘上的一步棋。

然而,中国的策略有点聪明过头了。鉴于日本海上自卫队实力不俗,中国不可能轻而易举地确立其对尖阁诸岛的控制——尽管它去年能在南中国海轻易确立对斯卡伯勒浅滩(Scarborough Shoal,中国称“黄岩岛”,中国和菲律宾就该浅滩主权归属存在争议)的控制。只要日本和美国保持坚定而有原则的立场、避免惹事,现状就可能维持相当长的时间。

即使中国用武力从日本手中夺回尖阁诸岛,负面后果也将超出任何潜在收获。这些无人居住的岛屿是针锋相对的民族主义以及大国角力的象征,但它们没有什么战略价值,而且难以防守。

动武将引发巨大的外交冲击波。北京希望在亚洲孤立日本。但武力夺岛将形成亚太各国强烈支持日本的局面。就连像中国一样对日本耿耿于怀的韩国,也对中国的防空识别区感到愤怒。

最重要的是,北京将招致亚洲第二大经济体持续几代人的仇恨。自身经济依赖于开放贸易体系的中国,似乎认为其强硬手段最终将迫使日本尊重中国对地区的设计。但实际结果很可能是两种截然不同的选择之一:要么美日强化同盟关系,要么日本转而发展更大的防御实力,甚至有可能发展核武。北京方面一直警告要警惕日本军国主义死灰复燃,然而正是中国自己在为日本军国主义死灰复燃创造条件。

这一切不禁让人们猜测,中国设想的最终结局是什么?澳大利亚前总理保罗?基廷(Paul Keating)最近在北京发表讲话时,阐述了中国面临的两难困境。基廷是少数几位认为美国应采取更多行动顾及中国在该地区的利益、并与中国分享霸权的亚太退休领导人之一。但他对在场的中国听众发出了不同寻常的呼声。他说:“亚洲不可能有稳定与和平的秩序,除非日本处于而且感到自己处于安全之中。”

如果中国真想在亚洲塑造下个世纪、削弱美国的势力,那么它就需要朋友和盟友,以推进自己的重点事项和自己的议程。

如果中国不这么做,而是加大力度胁迫邻国,那么到头来它将让自己变成一个非常孤立的大国。

译者/何黎

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