Behind the China’s so-called 21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road

12/12/2014


The Silk Road, or Silk Route, is a series of trade and cultural transmission routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the West and East by linking traders, merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, nomads, and urban dwellers from China and India to the Mediterranean Sea during various periods of time. Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, and Arabia, opening long-distance, political and economic interactions between the civilizations.
Recently, China has made a major effort to boost its initiative on establishing the so - called “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road”. China tries to sell this idea in almost every multilateral forum that its participants attended and also at each and every bilateral meeting with other countries. However, China's goal in this initiative is very conniving that needs everyone’s utmost vigilance.
The idea on establishing the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” was first officially mentioned in a speech presented by China’s President Xi Jinping in Indonesia on March 10th, 2013 and later in an official introduction made by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 16th ASEAN - China Summit in Brunei on September 10th, 2013. It was also integrated into the content of the Platform for Action on the in - depth and comprehensive reforms introduced at the 3rd Central Conference of the Communist Party of China and in China’s 2013 Annual Report on Government’s Tasks.
Since the beginning of 2014, China has launched a "campaign” to promote the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” concept with the participation of various political and scholarly circles of China in all possible forums and through its massive propaganda machine.
At a National People’s Congress (NPC) meeting in March 2014, in his speech, a delegate from Hainan Province, China, affirmed that China already considers Hainan province, especially uses the so - called “Sansha City” as the outpost for building “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road”. Thus, the political implications of this initiative of the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” is readily exposed. Obviously, the far - reaching and profound intention of China is to use the campaign to promote “the 21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” concept as a means to “legitimize” China’s inappropriate announcement on the establishment of “the Sansha City” in June 2012.
Looking back on 600 years ago, when there existed a “Maritime Silk Road” of the ancient time and to the fact that China is now striving to use the sea voyages carried out along the former “Maritime Silk Road” by Zheng He in early 15th century in order to argue that the Chinese then were already “exploring, establishing and enforcing sovereignty” over Paracel and Spratly islands, one may understand that China is actually attempting through its “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road" initiative to “legalize” the so - called “China's sovereignty over Paracel and Spratly archipelagos”, and to justify its use of force to occupy Paracel islands in 1974 and then captured certain underwater shoals of Spratly Islands in 1988.
Moreover, the connotation of the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” is not clearly defined. It only vaguely mentions in general terms about the promotion of maritime cooperation that centers on exploiting marine resources. Indeed, the far - reaching and profound intention of the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” concept is through maritime economic cooperation to “overshadow” the status of sovereign disputes in the East Sea and to realize the attempt set forth by Deng Xiaoping 30 years ago that “sovereignty belongs to us, while setting aside disputes and pursuing joint exploitation”.
Another element hidden in the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” initiative is China’s plot to counter the U.S. policy on “pivoting toward Asia” and developing a “strategic rebalance in Asia - Pacific”. China’s “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” initiative is also designed to create its own advantages in the competition with the U.S. for regional influence, and in pulling coastal states in the region into an orbit where China plays the key role. By so doing, China will completely take over the control of the arterial shipping lanes from Pacific across to Indian Ocean and then to Africa, hence achieving its objective in building China into a maritime power who can well scramble for super - power position now being held by the U.S.
Based on the above analyses, international researchers likely comment that China’s initiative on the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” obviously contains multi - political connotations, and that the economic contents of which are just “the hat” used to conceal the far - reaching and profound political aims in the task of transforming China into a maritime superpower, successfully challenging the present “monopolistic” position of the U.S. In addition, this initiative further clearly shows the expansionist and hegemonial ideology of the Beijing’s ruling authorities. Thus, the major countries like the U.S., Japan, India and other in Europe will certainly not support China’s “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” initiative, because they can maintain enormous gains only when maritime freedom, security and safety in general, and in the East Sea and East China Sea in particular could be maintained.
Recently, China has tried to integrate this content into various international forums that were hosted or participated by China. At the economic forum held in Boao, Hainan, in April 2014, for the first time, China took initiative in conducting a separate thematic panel discussion on the East Sea, and therein Chinese Premier Li Keqiang once again urged a mutual cooperation in building the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road”.
At the senior officials’ meeting (SOM) between ASEAN and China in Pattaya from April 21st - 22nd, 2014, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister again mentioned the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” idea and urged ASEAN countries to support and put into the content of discussions between ASEAN and China in the near future. However, all the ASEAN countries seem to keep a cautious attitude with very lukewarm response to the proposal made by China. Perhaps, they all had the sight of China’s political intentions behind this “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” initiative.
China also proactively pushed the idea on building the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” as the main theme of the 8th Tonkin Gulf Cooperation Expanded Conference held from May 14 - 15, 2014 in Guangxi, China. In two sessions on the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road”, China sought hard to integrate this idea into the efforts to push forward the idea on the Tonkin expanded cooperation (essentially the cooperation in the East Sea).
China will certainly plan to utilize the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), to be held in Shanghai, China, from May 20th - 21st, 2014 with the participation of several countries’ top leaders in order to promote the idea on the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road”.
During the past visits to Asia in general, and Southeast Asian countries in particular, Chinese leaders, including their local level ones have never forgotten to mention the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” in the process of enlisting these countries’ support.
It is possible to realize that China is taking every advantage and opportunity to promote the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” initiative. Hence, all the countries should hold high their vigilance so that they may not be trapped into China’s conspiracy hidden in this sinister initiative./.
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All comments [ 11 ]


Huy Quốc 12/12/14 20:10

What is being called the Maritime Silk Road will link Chinese ports to ports in South Asian countries, as routes targeted for development will extend southward from China to South China Sea, then along the north Indian Ocean to the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Hoàng Lân 12/12/14 20:14

So ambitious and so greedy!

Vân Nhàn 12/12/14 20:16

We should be alert about what China does, they don't bring any good for us unless they get more benefits in that.

Hùng Quân 12/12/14 20:52

the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” concept is through maritime economic cooperation to “overshadow” the status of sovereign disputes in the East Sea

Hùng Quân 12/12/14 20:52

the “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” concept is through maritime economic cooperation to “overshadow” the status of sovereign disputes in the East Sea

Quân Hoàng 12/12/14 21:45

China uses rhetoric and sweet-sounding promises to win over foreign countries diplomatically, but those countries realize later that China alone is benefiting.

Lê Tín 12/12/14 21:47

Damn belt, damn road!

Quốc Cường 12/12/14 21:48

Another element hidden in the 21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” initiative is China’s plot to counter the U.S. policy on “pivoting toward Asia” and developing a “strategic rebalance in Asia - Pacific.

Huy Lâm 12/12/14 21:50

The major countries like the U.S., Japan, India and other in Europe will certainly not support China’s “21st Century’s Maritime Silk Road” initiative

Quốc Kiên 12/12/14 21:51

Vietnam should keep a cautious attitude with very lukewarm response to the proposal made by China.

Phạm Hiếu 12/12/14 21:53

all the countries should hold high their vigilance so that they may not be trapped into China’s conspiracy hidden in this sinister initiative

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