(BGF) – China has being seen as a third world country where the U.S and Western countries lay their manufacturing factories. And the real fact is, most of them are underestimating China. The world did not realize the truly danger of Chinese extreme nationalism which has been sticking into Chinese leader’s mind. This spirit is the root for all provocation actions that China is taking against its neighbors in the South China Sea. 

In a commentary, Vietnamese professor Tran Kinh Nghi shared with Boston Global Forum about the Five mistakes that the world has committed in dealing with China. 


June 27, 2014 | By Tran Kinh Nghi, Independent researcher from Hanoi

For years, international opinion says a lot about mistakes made by China in its conspiracy and scheme to occupy and monopolize the East Sea (international known term: South China Sea), but has not mentioned about the world’s mistakes in dealing with China. Actually, the situation in the East Sea would not like what we see it today if the world has not committed too many mistakes in dealing with China in the whole process. Below is a brief summary of five major mistakes.

ban-do-vung-luoi-boDescription of the “cow tongue” China wants to impose in the East Sea (South China Sea).

First mistake – The world used to see China as a backward populous poor country that needs help rather than precaution and prevention. That perception defined the way the world, especially European countries and the U.S. lived up with China during the past half-century since the PRC State came into in 1949. In reality, there was a period when the U.S. and the West opted against China but only because of fear of communism rather than fear of the danger of Chinese nationalism to become the most frightening thing. After China started to implement the “open-door policy”, the whole world jumped to help it like the rich helping the poor. Thanks to the flow of capital investment and science and technology inputs from the United States, EU and Japan and the generosity of international financial and trade institutions, China has quickly gathered enough conditions for the realization of its long cherished expansionism and hegemonism. One of the first measures that the Chinese leadership particularly focused on was to build its modern navy forces to bully the littoral small states around the East Sea in attempt to occupy and monopolize this sea as “core interest” of China.

Second mistake – When Beijing officially announced in 2009 the U-shaped line (also known as ” 9-dotted line” or “cow tongue”), which was randomly  sketched  by a general of  the Chiang Kai-shek  regime, the world thought it totally ridiculous without realizing it as a real danger so as to do something to remove it right in the bud. Only until recently when ones see Chinese mighty forces ramping threatening peace and stability in the East Sea, people become surprised or frightened. The “cow tongue”  that they thought as a childish-like joke has now that become evident in the world map with even some “bones” in it running  from Sanya military base south of  Hainan Island to the so-called “Sansha City” coming down Johnson reef in the mid-sea and surely be down further to the Strait of Malacca sooner or later.

However, until now the world has not reached any collective measure to cope effectively with this dangerous scheme of China. While ASEAN grouping 10 regional countries directly affected by the “cow tongue” continues to be divided, the UN seems to be hypnotized.

Third mistake – Most countries fail to envision a day when the East Sea become “internal waters” of China and all foreign ships will have to ask for permission and pay fees for the Chinese authorities. The Ironical fact is that, in spite of the vitally important role of these shipping lanes to the whole world, most countries tend to consider them only disputes between  a few regional states with China while some even want to take advantage to “fish in trouble water” by separate relations with China.

Fourth mistake– The world system of rules and mechanisms for international cooperation, including the two massive bodies such as the UN and WTO have been standing helpless before the blatant absurd actions of one member country – China, no matter what Chinese activities in violation of the Law of the Sea, environment law, human law, weapons laws and so on so forth.  How ironical that the U.S., EU and Russia often try their best to mobilize international resources to intervene in the internal affairs of other states here or there, but there have been no similar action for the China case. Everything they have done so far are just lip service.

Fifth mistake– The World accepts China as a superpower without requiring it to meet primary qualities of a superpower. China always acts like bandits using strength despite of laws, morality and humanity. All the same fighting against Vietnam, but  the U.S. knew how to respect the right or wrong, anyway, while  China just shows barbaric brutality and bastard tricks ready to change white and black. China’s behavior made ​​one think of a kind of extreme nationalism like what the Nazi did before the World War II.

Above is a summary of 5 main mistakes that the world has made in dealing with China in general and in East Sea disputes in particular.  As long as the international community fails to form consensus unity and take concrete measures in dealing with the Chinese hegemonic and expansionists plots,  long term peace and security of Asia and the world at large  will continue to be threatened by China. Vietnam and the Philippines are just the first victims.