GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
Sir Lawrence Freedman is an Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London. He is the Dean of British Strategic Studies”. He is also wrong on China.
In an article in the Sunday Times 19 September 2021, he states that the context of the US/UK/Australia Nuclear-Powered Submarine Agreement “is the massive build-up in China’s armed forces in recent years…and the authoritarian turn in its internal affairs, the suppression of freedoms in HK, and a range of territorial demands against Vietnam, Japan + India along with pressure on Taiwan”. One by One.
1. Massive build-up in China’s Armed Forces. China is spending more on Defence. That is what it is – Defence. Not 1 Chinese soldier nor 1 military base outside China. 400 American bases surround China with ships, missiles and troops, in an arc that extends from Australia north through the Pacific to Japan, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India.
2. The Pentagon + Academic circles in the US have been digesting the writings on the Thucydides Principle by US Harvard Professor Allison and the expectation of War between the US + China
3. There have been territorial disputes between China/Vietnam for many years but Vietnam accepts Covid-19 vaccines from China. The last hostilities between the two countries were 46 years ago. No expansionism here
4. Recently two leading UK Supreme Court Judges announced their intention to continue to sit in Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal. Would they be extending their involvement in Hong Kong if freedoms were being suppressed?
5. Border disputes with India are just that – border disputes. They were in 1962 and they were in 2020. No expansionism here
6. “Pressure on Taiwan”. Taiwan is Chinese territory. The US accepts there is only one China. Taiwan’s attempts to assert independence have been resisted since 1949. No expansionism here
Consider, finally, the words of former Prime Minister Keating of Australia – China has no expansion plans – no territorial ambitions.