The seeming rapport in recent years between Russia and China is one of the foundations of the post-Cold War world. Yet Russo-China friendship is an aberration of history. This article examines whether the Sino-Russian accord is based on secure and enduring foundations, or whether it is a very temporary alliance of convenience that will erupt sooner rather than later into conflict and expanding conflagration throughout Asia. China’s past inclination to resort to invasion backgrounds the current suspicion between the two newfound “friends” amidst China’s growing incursions into traditional Russian spheres of influences, and even within the Russian Far East. Scenarios for future conflict are examined, particularly what will emerge as major contentions arise over water resources, both between Russia and China and further afield. Also examined is the recent historical relationship between China and the USA.
Key Words: Russia, China, Russo-China relationship, China-USA relationship, Russian Far East, Asian water resources, Sino-Soviet discord, 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, China’s territorial ambitions, 1979 Chinese invasion of Vietnam, 1962 India-China border war, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Primorsky Krai, Mongolia
One of the primary geo-political shifts in recent years has been the rapport that has seemingly developed between two historic enemies, Russia and China. Discord between the two powers goes back to the centuries-long duration of the Mongol occupation of Russian territory, and subsequent annexation of Chinese territory by Imperial Russia. This historic conflict was not mitigated by the triumph of Communism in China, despite the proclaimed aim of world proletarian solidarity.
However, in recent years Russia and China have developed trade and diplomatic relations. Most significantly, Russia has been China’s main supplier of arms (followed by Israel). Chinese and Russian leaders have sought accord in the face of what they consider US global hegemony following the collapse of the Soviet bloc.
It is the thesis of this paper that the accord between Russia and China will not hold, any more than the “fraternal relations” between the two when both were nominally “Communist”. The author believes there will eventually be conflict between Russia and China over land and resources. As shown in other articles, Asia is replete with potential crises over land and resources, many of which could erupt into regional conflagration1.
In the 1960s, when Chinese “Communists” dissolved their “fraternal relations” with the USSR and resorted to the old ethnic rivalries, American journalist Harrison Salisbury wrote a prophetic book on geopolitics The Coming War Between Russia & China.2 Salisbury’s predictions seem to have been proven wrong in recent years with the new Sino-Russian accord, yet developments now indicate that his predictions are unfolding, and precisely at the time he foretold they would – the 21st Century. Now another book, although not subscribing to the expectation of a war, is being published that nonetheless shows the rising tensions. It is Russia and China; Axis of Convenience: Moscow, Beijing and the New Geopolitics, by diplomat Bobo Lo.3
The present writer has long held that a Russo-Chinese accord would not hold, but rather there would be conflict with the possibility of war. I wrote in 1983:
The split between Russia and China over Communist ideology is a mere façade, and practically irrelevant. The real split is historically and racially based. We can trace the Russo-Chinese split back to 1229 when the Mongol ‘Golden Horde’ of Genghis Khan invaded Russia. The Mongols ruled Russia for 250 years. Even as late as the 18th C. Mongols still ruled the Lower Volga and the Crimea. This centuries- long Mongol rule has resulted in an ingrained… fear of Eastern conquest.4
Harrison Salisbury states:
The Russian makes no distinction between the people of the East. He does not distinguish between the Mongols who ravished his land 600 years ago and the masses of China whom he believes are standing just beyond the lower hills of Asia ready to attack again. No Russian finds it unusual to hate the Chinese. He does not apologise when he says ‘little yellow bastards.
Stalin backed Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists. The primary Soviet goal was a united front between Chiang and Mao to fight the Japanese, while recognising Chiang as the leader of China. Mao put up a pretence of fighting the Japanese and claiming to be able to work with Chiang. Salisbury remarks that Stalin always preferred Chiang to Mao, whom he regarded as a “Trotskyite”. During World War II Chiang was the focus of Soviet support, not the Reds under Mao. In 1945 the Russians prepared to evacuate Manchuria, but stayed until 1946 at the request of Chiang in order to thwart a Maoist takeover. The Soviet ambassador was only withdrawn from Chiang’s entourage on Oct. 2, 1949, the day after Mao announced his government in Peking. Russia’s continuing support for Chiang at the ambassadorial level, right up until the formation of the Communist regime, created a grudge that Mao forever carried.
Even under the Sino-Soviet alliance of 1950, the military equipment from the USSR was second-rate and expensive. In 1957 Mao took a delegation to Moscow and asked for nuclear warheads, but was rebuffed.
1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance
Mao’s dreams of establishing China as a superpower rested on the assumption that it would be built up with Russian largesse. This was not the case. Rather, the 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance, which served as the basis of Russo-Chinese relations for thirty years, was humiliating and debilitating. It was one, moreover, which was the primary cause for China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1979, as will be explained below.
Mao could have cultivated friendship with the USA, which was favourable towards a Maoist takeover. Gen. George Marshall, for example, was antagonistic towards Chiang and did not view the Chinese Communists as having Soviet support. Marshall told Chiang that US assistance would halt if Nationalist forces continued pursuing the Red Army into northern Manchuria. This was in 1946, at a time when such an offensive could have finished Mao. This gave Mao a strong base from which to gather his strength and finally defeat Chiang.
As Chang and Halliday point out in their definitive biography of Mao, this US assistance to Mao and betrayal of Chiang was decisive.5
Conversely, as surprising as it might superficially seem, aid from Stalin to Mao was extracted at a very high price; the prelude to the humiliating Sino-Soviet treaty. This was not at all a matter of Communist solidarity, but of the ancient animosity existing between Russia and China, whatever the ideological facade. In return for Russian aid, Red China was committed to repaying with food on such terms as to create famine. In Yenan, for example, 10,000 peasants died of starvation. It was a prelude to the future “Great Famine”, again the price of assistance from Russia.6
Mao was determined to establish China as a super-power, but he was badly mistaken if he thought he could secure his ambitions with Russian help. Nonetheless he courted Stalin by flagrantly repudiating American and other Western relations, although his aggressive actions caused Stalin alarm. Chang and Halliday write: “It is widely thought that it was the US that refused to recognise Mao’s China. In fact, Mao went out of his way to make recognition impossible by engaging in overtly hostile acts.”7
It is only recently that the secret annexes to the 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty have become known. The $US300 million loan was spread over five years. Stalin approved 50 large industrial projects, a lot fewer than Mao intended.
Mao paid a high price in return. Manchuria and Xinjiang were to be recognised as Soviet spheres of influence, with exclusive Russian access to their industrial, financial and commercial activities. “As these two huge regions were the main areas with known rich and exploitable mineral resources, Mao was effectively signing away most of China’s tradable assets.”8
Mao referred to the two regions among his inner circle as Russian ‘colonies’. This was to be a permanent sore point with China’s leadership. In 1989 China’s leader Deng told Russian leader Gorbachev that,
Of all the foreign powers that invaded, bullied and enslaved China since the Opium War (in 1842), Japan inflicted the greatest damage; but in the end the country that got the most benefit out of China was Tsarist Russia, including the Soviet Union during a certain period….
About this, Chang and Halliday remark that “Deng was certainly referring to this treaty.”9
The ironically named ‘friendship treaty’ established virtual Russian colonial status over China. The Chinese had to pay huge salaries to Soviet technicians in China, in addition to extensive benefits to them and their families. Compensation had to be paid to Russian enterprises for the loss of the technicians who were working in China. The clause that Mao particularly sought to conceal was that which placed Russians employed in China outside of Chinese jurisdiction. The Chinese Communists had always railed against this status imposed on China by the imperial powers during the 19th Century as ‘imperialist humiliation.’10
The old imperialism had returned under Soviet ‘fraternity.’
During the years 1953-54 Mao embarked on a so-called “Superpower Programme” that was again to wreak havoc, especially on the peasantry. The Chinese were told that the equipment from the USSR was ‘Soviet aid’, implying a gift. But everything had to be paid for, mainly in food.11
In underlining the seriousness of the Russian terms on China, Halliday and Chang state that China has only 7% of the world’s arable land, but 22% of the world’s population. However, that is something that also should be kept in mind with regard to present and future developments.
China’s repudiation of the Treaty was aggressively signalled by its invasion of Vietnam in 1979 as a direct challenge to the USSR. However, major border clashes and loss of life among Chinese and Russian troops occurred even during the years that the ‘friendship’ Treaty was operative.
Sino-Soviet Border Clashes
Sino-Soviet discord through the late 1960s resulted from contention over the status of Outer Mongolia and from numerous territorial disputes along the Sino-Soviet border. These conflicts had festered beneath the surface of Russo-Chinese relations for over a century, ever since Czarist Russia forced China to sign a series of treaties ceding vast territories. Mao’s China considered the USSR as a continuation of Czarist Russia.
According to S. C. M. Paine:
For China, the physical territorial losses were enormous: an area exceeding that of the United States east of the Mississippi River officially became Russian territory or, in the case of Outer Mongolia, a Soviet protectorate.12
The USSR never had any desire to assist China to superpower status. The Soviet policy towards China was to secure a united front between Chiang and Mao to fight the Japanese. The supposed treaty of friendship between Mao’s China and the USSR signed in 1950 was one of Chinese subjugation. The Chinese soon turned their attention to securing the return of areas regarded as having been stolen by Imperial Russia.
Salisbury states that in 1952 a college textbook was published, A Short History of Modern China, which includes a map depicting China with 19th C. borders, designating 19 regions ‘lost to a European power.’ These stretch from India to Indo-China. Five other regions were taken by Russia. Mongolia and Tibet were shown as territories of China. Ten years later China moved on its claims with confrontations on the borders of India, Outer Mongolia and Russia.
In 1964 A Concise Geography of China was published. This shows China’s borders being settled with all neighbours, except for Russia. Frontiers between Sinkiang and Kazakhstan, and along the Amur and Ussuri rivers are designated “undefined national boundary”.
In 1964 Mao told a delegation of Japanese socialists:
There are too many places occupied by the Soviet Union. About 100 years ago, the area to the east of Lake Baikal became Russian territory and since then Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Kamchatka and other areas have become Soviet territory. We have not yet presented our account for this list.
In 1960 there were 400 border clashes between Russian and Chinese troops; in 1962 more than 5000; in 1963 more than 4000.
The biggest clash came on 2 March 1969 when Chinese forces attacked Russian troops on the disputed uninhabited island of Zhenbao (Damansky in Russian) in the Ussuri River. The incident was contrived by Mao as a show of defiance. A Chinese elite unit ambushed Soviet troops, killing 32. The Russians responded on the night of 14-15 March, brining up heavy artillery and tanks, and firing missiles 20 kms into China. Around 60 Russians and 800 Chinese were killed during the engagement. A CIA aerial photograph showed the Chinese side had been shelled so extensively as to look like a pot-marked moon landscape.
Mao was taken back by the massive Russian response and worried over a Soviet invasion.
On 13 August the Russians attacked at the Kazakhstan-Xinjiang border, surrounding and destroying Chinese troops deep inside China. Mao hurriedly ordered earth defences to be constructed should the Russians drive for Peking.13
At this time, the Russians intended to drive home their offensive to the point of nuclear attack, but were rebuffed by the USA when approval was sought. The journalist Victor Louis, associated with the KGB and Moscow’s emissary to Taiwan, stated that Russia intended bombing China’s nuclear test site and setting up an alternative leadership structure to take over China.14
The revelations of a top Nixon aide go further: Pres. Nixon’s chief of staff H R Haldeman revealed in The Ends of Power that for years the Russians had been warning the US that China mustn’t be allowed to build a nuclear capacity. In 1969 the Russians approached the USA for a joint strike against China. Nixon rejected the Russians, but was informed that they intended to proceed anyway. He warned Russia that the USA and China shared common world interests, and would send 1300 airborne nuclear weapons to Russian cities. The Russians backed down.15
Salisbury’s thesis was that a food-population crisis, which is periodic throughout China’s history, would result in China’s seeking living space and resources in Russia. Salisbury states China will not sit back and starve with the lands of Russia beckoning. “They will – and must – fight.”
In 1979 the Soviet publication Soviet-Chinese Relations – What Happened in the 60’s, stated in a realistic manner the real causes for the Russo-Chinese conflict behind the facade of ideological rift:
The more distant goal was to call in question and, if possible, challenge the legality of the existing borders between the USSR and China, and thus to substantiate Mao’s statement, made during a meeting with Japan’s socialists in 1964, about ‘the seizure of 1.5 million sq. kilometres of Chinese territory by Russia’… In analysing the Maoists’ stand on the territorial questions, one should turn to China’s history and consider the expansionist aspirations of the Chinese emperors and the chauvinistic claims of the Chinese nationalists who dreamed of the return of the ‘golden age’ of the Chinese empire when many of China’s neighbours were mere vassals… It is crystal clear that in pressing their territorial claims the Maoists pursue far-reaching expansionist aims which can be summed up as Great Han Hegemony….
`Far from the USSR having been a benevolent father figure in siring a Communist offspring that would achieve super-power status with Russia arms and technology, and that would stand side-by-side with the USSR in confronting the imperialist powers and bringing Communism to the world, China had been relegated to the status of a colony. The bitterness endured long past Mao’s demise.
Towards the end of his life, Mao changed tactics and sought an alliance with the USA, which the American ruling and business elites had long sought. The USSR became the common threat that would be contained by a Washington-Peking Axis. Despite the apparent thawing of the ‘cold war’ between Russia and China initiated recently by Putin, the main focus for China’s power comes from a symbiotic economic relationship between the USA and China. This will be considered further.
China’s Territorial Ambitions
China’s expansionary aims are not necessarily necessitated by the demand for ‘living space’ or lebensraum in the conventional sense, at least not for the moment, although Salisbury raised the prospect in the advent of a food/population crisis.
China, as we’ve seen, has been expanding economically and this has resulted in the migration of Chinese nationals following economic penetration. The advance has been relatively peaceful and subtle, as in the case of the Russian Far East.
However, Bobo Lo’s contention as to the peaceful economic expansion of China notwithstanding, China has in the years since Mao shown itself ready for shooting wars over strategic territory and even as shows of force towards its neighbours.
Despite the proclamations and treaties aimed at showing China’s ‘good neighbourliness’ towards Russia, Central Asia and India, China continues to raise the question of disputed borders. This seems to be contrary to Bobo Lo’s theory that China will adhere to a peaceful road of economic expansion. It shows, rather, that a long-term fixation remains in the mentality of the post-Mao leadership.
1979 Invasion of Vietnam
China invaded Vietnam in 1979 as a grand gesture for the repudiation of the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance, which was due for renewal. Clause number six of the Treaty stated that if neither signatory announced their intention to terminate the treaty during its final year, the alliance would automatically be extended for another five years. As we have seen, the Treaty was designed not to secure superpower status for China, nor even as a friendly alignment between two supposedly fraternal Communist states, but to maintain a position of subjugation and outright humiliation. The Chinese regarded the Treaty as maintaining Russian “hegemony” over China.
The tensions that occurred between Russian and China, including the border clashes resulting in hundreds of deaths and the threat of nuclear confrontation, happened when the friendship treaty was operative. Bruce Elleman states:
One should recall that on February 14, 1950, Beijing and Moscow signed a 30-year treaty that included secret protocols supporting the USSR’s role as leader of the world Communist movement. When Moscow later refused to renegotiate Sino-Soviet territorial disputes, this led to Sino-Soviet border clashes, most importantly during the late 1960s.
Western scholars have all too often overlooked that even during this period of Sino-Soviet tensions, the 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance remained fully in force throughout this entire period of unrest. From Beijing’s viewpoint at least, the 1950 Sino-Soviet treaty was a major instrument through which Moscow had tried to exert its “hegemony” over China.
Moscow was clearly concerned with what might happen when the Sino-Soviet treaty reached its 30-year term. Beginning in 1969, the USSR frequently urged China to replace the 1950 treaty with a new agreement. During 1978, Soviet forces were increased along the Sino-Soviet and Sino-Mongolian borders. Moscow also sought to force Beijing to come to terms by intensifying diplomatic relations with Hanoi, signing a twenty-five year defense treaty with Vietnam on November 3, 1978.16 [Emphasis added].
China’s invasion of Vietnam in 1979 was therefore intended as a direct provocation to the USSR, which had signed a defence treaty with Vietnam in 1978, itself aimed at China. This Soviet-Vietnamese alliance made Vietnam the "linchpin" in the USSR's "drive to contain China."17
The rift between China and Vietnam became apparent when thousands of ethnic Chinese began to flee Vietnam during 1978. Territorial disputes over the Spratly Islands, and Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia, increased Sino-Vietnamese tensions.
Elleman states that far from China having faced a defeat in Vietnam because of its quick withdrawal, the invasion was aimed at:
1. Defying the USSR, which had signed a defence treaty with Vietnam, showing the Russians up as so-called “paper polar bears”; thereby
2. Repudiating the Russo-Chinese supposed accord which had been nothing but an encumbrance and was due for renewal at precisely the time of the invasion:
Instead of backing down, however, China announced its intention to invade Vietnam on February 15, 1979, the very first day that it could legally terminate the 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty and it attacked three days later. When Moscow did not intervene, Beijing publicly proclaimed that the USSR had broken its numerous promises to assist Vietnam. The USSR's failure to support Vietnam emboldened China to announce on April 3, 1979 that it intended to terminate the 1950 Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance.
…After only three weeks of fighting, China withdrew and disputes over the Sino-Vietnamese border remained unresolved. To most outsiders, China's military action thus appeared to be a failure. But, if the real goal behind China's attack was to expose Soviet assurances of military support to Vietnam as a fraud, then the USSR's refusal to intervene effectively terminated the Soviet-Vietnamese defense treaty. Thus, Beijing did achieve a clear strategic victory by breaking the Soviet encirclement and by eliminating Moscow's threat of a two-front war. [Emphasis added].18
China threatened Russia with war if Russia went to Vietnam’s aid. Meanwhile, the Chinese had developed an alliance with the USA, which threatened the USSR on two fronts.
To prevent Soviet intervention on Vietnam's behalf, Deng warned Moscow the next day that China was prepared for a full-scale war against the USSR; in preparation for this conflict, China put all of her troops along the Sino-Soviet border on an emergency war alert, set up a new military command in Xinjiang, and even evacuated an estimated 300,000 civilians from the Sino-Soviet border.19
China had witnessed a lack of will on the part of Russia, buttressed by the Politburo’s failure to act in Poland against Solidarity.20
China’s imperial ambitions towards Vietnam go back to 208 BC when a Chinese general, Trieu Da, proclaimed himself emperor of much of the country. In 111BC Vietnam was annexed by the Han and became the district of Giao-chi. After centuries of resistance, some measure of independence was achieved, but Vietnam continued to pay tribute to China. The Mongols were successfully repelled during the 12th century, the Vietnamese being the only people to do so, attesting to their tenacity. The Chinese occupied the country in 1407. Liberation was accomplished in 1428 after twol decades of further resistance. China attacked in 1788 by was repelled.
In 1909 China tried to claim the Paracel islands, the start of a series of aggressive moves that continue to the present. In 1956 the Chinese navy took part of the Paracels, with a further invasion in 1974. In 1984 China set up the Hainan administrative area to control the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos. In 1988 Chinese and Vietnamese ships clashed over Johnson Reef. In 1992 there were further incursions into Spratly. The Chinese entered into a contract with the US Crestone Energy Corp. in 1994 for the exploration of oil around Spratly. In 2000 Vietnam made concessions to China over the territorial waters off Tonkin Bay. During 2004 there were over 1000 Chinese incursions into Vietnamese waters, with 80 Vietnamese fishermen being detained in December. There was Chinese oil drilling in Vietnamese waters in 2005, and in that year the Chinese navy fired at Vietnamese fishermen in Vietnamese waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. In 2007 the Chinese fired on Vietnamese fishermen off the Paracels. The Chinese navy conducted exercises in the area. The Chinese Government ratified a plan to build Sansha, a large city to serve as the axis for merging three archipelagos, including the Paracels and Spratly, under Chinese control.
The continuing aggression towards Vietnam by China to the present day indicates that China’s ‘good neighbour’ treaties with Russia, Central Asia and India are expedient masquerades which will drop should China no longer be able to achieve its objectives by diplomatic and subtle means. China covets Vietnam’s oil and gas reserves, just as it does the resources of Central Asia and Western Siberia. Vietnam provides the present-day example of how China reacts when its geo-political aims cannot be fulfilled other than through war and military coercion. China’s actions toward Vietnam provide further indications that Bobo Lo errs in thinking the Chinese too pragmatic and rational to ever resort to military action with Russia again.
China’s War with India
China’s border disputes with India during the period of 1960-62 left 3000 Indians dead. Bill Emmott, former editor of The Economist and a member of the elite think-tank the Trilateral Commission21 states of the conflict:
In 1962 China and India fought a border war that humiliated India and left an enduring legacy of bitterness and suspicion. Both countries are now increasing their military spending and trying to modernise their armed forces. The border dispute remains unresolved. China claims an entire Indian state, Arunachal Pradesh, which borders southern Tibet and is roughly the size of Portugal. India claims that China is occupying 15,000 square miles of what is rightfully India – in Aksai Chin, an almost uninhabited plateau high in the Himalayas.22
The Chinese are not about to let the disputed areas rest, and again there is a lesson if it is thought that China has repudiated its claims against Russian territory.
On the face of it the two sides have since made progress. A border crossing was opened to trade in 2006 for the first time since the war. That year, however, the Chinese ambassador to Delhi caused outrage by publicly emphasising that China claims the whole of Arunachal Pradesh.
Ten months ago a “confidence-building” visit to China by more than 100 Indian officials had to be cancelled after China acted in a typically provocative way: it refused to grant a visa to a member of the Indian delegation from Arunachal Pradesh on the grounds that he was Chinese and did not need one.23
Far from the Chinese leadership being too pragmatic and rational to resort to war, China has continued to use force even after Mao’ death. Additionally, China has continued to maintain its claims over disputed territory with its neighbours, including Russia, Vietnam, India, has invaded Tibet, and has displaced Russian influence in Mongolia and is doing likewise in central Asia and in the border areas inside Russia herself. As will be considered below, should one or more of a number of crises emerge in regard to resources, there is little reason for to expect that China will not resort to war or won’t oblige a military response from Russia to protect its own resources from Chinese control.
A recent feature in The Sydney Morning Herald24 based on Bobo Lo’s assessments shows that the old conflicts between Russia and China are already resurfacing despite the trade relations and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation:
…. Russia is erecting legal and illicit barriers to Chinese trade in a climate of rising paranoia summed up in the Pravda headline: "Chinese immigrants to conquer Russia".
Russia's anxiety trades partly on an old fear that Chinese hordes are itching to take back the resource-rich and under-populated regions of Siberia that Russia annexed from Qing Dynasty China.
”The Russians are spooked by the idea you have 110 million people in just three northern Chinese provinces and 6 to 7 million people in the Russian Far East," says Bobo Lo, author of the forthcoming Axis Of Convenience: Moscow, Beijing And The New Geopolitics. "They feel no matter how sweet the political relationship, nature abhors a vacuum and therefore as soon as China feels brave or confident enough to move into the Far East, it will."
Many Chinese traders in Siberia have had to return to China because of new visa requirements and a law that bars non-Russians from making cash transactions in Russian marketplaces.
For their part, Chinese authorities have enforced tough passport requirements on traders who had previously travelled freely across the border. They have also booted thousands of Russians out of northern China as part of an over-zealous security campaign that is driving foreigners out of the country ahead of the Olympics….
…Oil volumes fell last year but defence sales crashed, prompting analysts to speculate that China's People's Liberation Army no longer relies on Russian technology. Russia once supplied the bulk of Chinese industrial machinery but now the long lines of excavators, trucks and machinery are all heading the other way.
China is meanwhile increasing its dominance of almost every sector of the Siberian consumer goods market. Two years ago the mayor of Vladivostok made the hyperbolic claim that all of the port city's retail trade and half of its trade in services were controlled by Chinese.
For all the fuss about a Russian-China axis against Islamic separatists and US missile shields, the relationship is constrained by Russian insecurity and Chinese insensitivity. It is just one example of how China's ascendancy is provoking fear and resentment throughout the world and particularly in its immediate neighbours, where the impact is most intense. [Emphasis added].
The present Russian policy seeks to offset American world hegemony, while declining to regard a ‘multi-polar world’ as one in which China is one of three world powers, despite the development of relations between Russia and China at Putin’s initiative. An article in The National Interest, a “neo-conservative” journal, says of the Sino-Russian relationship:
Putin’s approach toward Asia is heavily influenced by his concerns about the viability of the Russian Far East and Siberia. Early in his presidency, Putin dropped the multipolar view of China as a potential ally in an America-balancing exercise. In 2000, Russia signed a formal treaty of friendship with China and soon afterward acted to transform the Shanghai Forum into a regional security organization. But Putin clearly saw the dangers of too close an embrace with Russia's giant Asian neighbor. The Kremlin certainly wants to keep a generally friendly relationship with China and to develop greater economic ties with it. At the same time, it is becoming more worried about the prospect of Chinese migrants settling on the Russian side of the border, thus changing the entire ethnic composition of the region and putting its Russian identity in question. Russia's demographic decline—to the tune of just under a million citizens a year--is a constant theme in Putin's pronouncements. The Russian president is desperately looking for ways to balance against a possibly gathering Chinese threat.25 [Emphasis added].
China is presently taking over the Russian Far East by stealth, through commerce. Tensions are arising, and one day will erupt. Where will the USA stand? Other states in Asia will be drawn into such a conflict. India is traditionally aligned to Russia, Pakistan to China.
Central Asia & Shanghai Cooperation Organization
A Voice of America analysis26 of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization provides some relevant background about Sino-Russian relations, and alludes to the potential areas of strain and discord.
The parties to the Sino-Russian accord, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) formed in 1996, were first known as the "Shanghai Five," bringing together Russia, China and three Central Asian states: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, three countries sharing borders with Russia or China or both. In 2001 the regional arrangement formally became the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Bobo Lo says Beijing is the driving force behind the SCO. He says that being part of SCO allows China to expand its influence in Central Asia. He states that being part of a regional co-operation organisation allows China to portray itself as a responsible good neighbour, allowing Beijing to expand its influence without suspicion:
The SCO really is China's baby. The SCO allows China to do in Central Asia what it probably wouldn't be able to do at the bilateral level because if China is just dealing with Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan, then the smaller state is going to be spooked. But if it's in a sort of a nice pan-regional context, then China can paint itself as a good regional citizen, as a good international citizen and the Central Asians will feel less threatened by them," says Lo. "So the Chinese see the SCO as a way of sanitizing their entry into the region."27 [Emphasis added throughout].
De Nesnera writes that although Russia and China are presently in accord over wishing to minimise US influence in Central Asia, both continue to have their own ambitions that are even now coming under strain:
At the same time, many analysts say Russia still sees itself as the dominant power in the region. Robert Legvold from Columbia University says that for the time being, Beijing and Moscow are deferential to each other.
Prof. Legvold is quoted as stating:
“In the most important respect, China is deferential to Russia by not really challenging Russia's historically primary role in the area. But because of the dynamism and strength and size of the economy, inevitably the shadow of the Chinese economy in Central Asia is growing and being felt by the Russians," says Legvold. "And there is an uneasiness in Russia about the sheer magnitude of growing Chinese economic influence in the area”.28 [Emphasis added].
Bobo Lo indicates that the present Sino-Russian agreement regarding the countering of the US presence in Central Asia is not going to obliterate the historical roles both see themselves playing as the dominant power in the region. According to de Nesnera:
Bobo Lo from the Center for European Reform says that while Beijing and Moscow agree on the need to limit the U.S. presence in Central Asia, they disagree on one key element. "They have very different visions of what a post-American world order and particularly regional order in Central Asia would look like. Russia really wants, in a way, to return to the old status quo. Now it knows it cannot be the old Soviet Union again, so it's not going to try that. But it still sees itself as the leading power in the region. It has a sort of a sense of historical, strategic entitlement," says Lo. "The Chinese, however, think they have just as much right to be in the region. So they are actively, really actively, pushing their political, security and, above all, economic interests in the region.29
Bobo Lo concludes: “And Russia and China, in many respects, are direct competitors."
De Nesnera concludes that analysts will be watching to see what extent the Russian and Chinese rivalry manifests in Central Asia: “Most analysts say it will be fascinating to see in the years ahead the extent of Moscow and Beijing's competition in Central Asia…”
Bobo Lo, in an interview with a Russian think tank called Open Democracy, explained his perspective on Sino-Russian relations, which provides further insight.30 The interview began with the statement by the interviewer: “The China threat looms large in the Russian imagination, but is not justified by the facts, suggests Bobo Lo, writing for Open Democracy's new collaboration on Russia and the world.”31
Regardless of whether the Russian suspicion of the Chinese is justified, it is the perception that matters, and that perception is based on ages-old animosity and on the present-day grab for resources which, as previously alluded to, could initially become manifest in Central Asia, a pivotal region in geo-politics, and one in which the USA and the omnipresent George Soros32 have also been particularly active.
Bobo Lo alludes to the goodwill between Russia and China that was initiated by Putin. However he adds several areas of frustration for the Chinese. One of long-term significance as to Russian attitudes is that: “Beijing was also frustrated that the Kremlin cancelled an agreement to build an oil pipeline to China in favour of a Japanese-backed route to the Pacific Ocean.”
Bobo Lo does not see this as a lasting problem for Russo-Chinese relations, yet states very significantly that this is because China realises that Russia regards itself as a European rather than as an Asian power.
This Chinese realisation, based on understanding historical and geo-political realities, must have a significant impact on Russo-Chinese relations, as it did in the past, even when both nominally shared ideological commitments under Communism. Lo states:
…Chinese have few illusions about Russia. They know that normatively, historically and strategically it is overwhelmingly Western-centric. That doesn't mean pro-Western, just that Russia looks to the West for its main strategic points of reference. Russia is a European civilisation. Most of its population lives in the European part of Russia. The centres of political and economic power have been always there. Even under the Soviet Union the Far East was a European outpost, not part of Asia. [Emphasis added].
Lo, it must be pointed out, does not believe there will be a military confrontation between Russia and China, contrary to Salisbury, but does nonetheless definitively state the underlying tension between the two:
You can argue that Russia should have a more balanced foreign policy. But people are what they are. The Russian elite's interests are in the West. They want a good relationship with China. But this is not the main game and won't be in the future - not if Russia can help it. [Emphasis added].
Lo is asked: “Traditionally, the Russians have felt acutely threatened by China. Is that diminishing in the light of the new economic opportunities opening up in the Russian Far East?” In response, Lo repudiates the thesis that there will be Russo-Chinese military conflict and the threat of invasion, but rather states that the rivalry will take the form of geo-political and realpolitikal manoeuvring:
The real threat is this: China's rise will lead to Russia's steady marginalisation from regional and global decision making. The Chinese do not intend to invade Russia militarily, because they would lose. The consequences would be too horrific to be contemplated. They are not going to fill the Russian Far East with lots of Chinese. Those northern regions have always been considered a barbarian outland. …[Emphasis added].
Yet Lo does not deny the demographics that could see China’s excess population seeking lebensraum at Russian expense, as China’s population expands and Russia’s declines. While analysts such as Lo look in rationalistic terms, they cannot deny that it is perception that is of significance, that rational factors are not as significant to historical dynamics as the irrational, the instinctual:
The reality is that there are 110 million people in northern China (this is the most common figure, but it is probably more) compared to fewer than 7 million Russians east of Lake Baikal. More generally, we are speaking about a total population of 1.3 billion and rising as against one of 142 million and falling. This clearly plays on the Russian mind.
If you ask Russians how they view the Chinese, well, they view them much more favourably than a few years ago. China now is number one among countries with whom Russia is said to have friendly relations. On the other hand, if you asked people whether they are in favour of Chinese workers coming in to alleviate Russia's labour shortage, they would say absolutely not. If you asked them whether they minded having a Chinese neighbour, the answer would be predictable. At the street level, attitudes towards the Chinese remain unreconstructed.
Attention is now turned to the crucial role of Central Asia in the coming conflict between Russia and China:
Russia and China have very different objectives in Central Asia. Russia wants to reassert its regional leadership there. China, however, wants to be one of three strategic principals in the region, along with the United States and Russia. Moscow and Beijing are keen to douse any notion of Sino-Russian rivalry in Central Asia. But this rivalry exists.
China has done nothing in Central Asia for two hundred years and is keen to get back in the game. But it wants to do this in such way that it doesn't offend others, particularly key states such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. How, then, to package its re-entry so that others do not combine to stop it? The answer is to act under the cloak of pan-regionalism. Here the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement fits in beautifully. It makes China look like a good regional citizen. [Emphasis added].
As Lo states, there are rival objectives between Russia and China in Central Asia. China is using the Shanghai agreement as a means of penetrating the region peacefully, without causing suspicion as to motives. Note also that China is comfortable with an American presence in Central Asia. This is very different from the Russian attitude. This would seem to go back to the historical relationships between Russia, China and the USA.
Lo continues by describing the contending nature of two pacts, that of Shanghai, and that of the CSTO, which is fundamentally an anti-China alliance:
The Russians understand the Chinese game, so they're lukewarm about the SCO. The SCO does for China what the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) does for Russia. The CSTO, which Russia established in 2002, has one crowning virtue from Moscow's point of view: China is not a member. The CSTO helps Russia to reassert its influence in Central Asia. The SCO and CSTO are effectively competing organizations. [Emphasis added].
According to Lo, China’s primary concerns are the Asia-Pacific region, and the control of its sea-lanes to oil sources.
China's main interest is not Central Asia, but the United States and the Asia-Pacific region. Its major objective in Central Asia is peace and stability. To achieve this, it is developing its connections with regional elites. … A quiet Central Asia helps to hose down separatist sentiments in China. We are not talking about Tibet here so much as the Uighurs in the far western province of Xinjiang.
Elsewhere Lo states that China’s military outlook is presently being directed south:
…But the thrust of their military planning is towards the south, not the north. They've focused on acquiring Kilo submarines, Sovremennyy destroyers. In theory, these might lead not only to the recovery of Taiwan, but also enable the Chinese to protect the sea-lanes through which 80% of their oil imports pass, and to project power in the South China Sea and the Pacific. [Emphasis added].
When Lo states that stability is the principal aim of the Chinese in Central Asia, it appears that he is underestimating the potential for direct confrontation between Russia and China, on the assumption that that stability in Central Asia will endure indefinitely, aggravated by a myriad of sources for conflict throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region. Lo states that the apparent Sino-Russia accord of the present is uneasy. He states that China seeks to develop “new sources” for energy in Central Asia. It seems reasonable, then, to ask whether there will be direct conflict between Russia and China in that region over the question of resources and Chinese incursions presently being undertaken by subtle means.
From the Chinese point of view, greater economic interdependence creates a more stable environment, and energy is the spearhead of this. China worries about the security of sea-lanes. Currently, it gets about 50% of its oil from the Middle East, another 25% from Africa, and the rest from various other countries. It would like to diversify, not just globally but also at the regional level. The Chinese have found it very difficult to develop an energy relationship with the Russians, and they are therefore looking to develop new sources in Central Asia - which is why energy ties with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are so important. [Emphasis added].
Later, Lo reiterates that he does not believe that there will be military confrontation between Russia and China, and alludes to Russian paranoia. Again this assumes that the insatiability of China in regard to resources, and the potential for major crises in the entire region, will not develop beyond economic rivalry and subtle demographic shifts to actual military conflict. We have already seen border conflicts between Russia and China during the 1960s and 70s over ancient land disputes, at a time when both supposedly shared a common ideology, and both supposedly stood against the capitalist world. These appearances were deceptive. History rose above ideology.
The obsession with the security of the Russian Far East reflects paranoia, not reality. The RFE scarcely features on the list of Chinese military priorities.
More generally, Beijing understands that the best way of becoming the next global superpower is through peaceful means. If it resorted to armed action, it could lose badly and that might bring about the collapse of the communist regime. The risks are enormous.
People have a somewhat hysterical view of the Chinese. But actually they're quite pragmatic. They do want to engage, not because they are "nice", but because constructive engagement is the most effective way to achieve their objectives.
Lo states the fundamental reasons for division rather than accord between Russians and Chinese, both in terms of economics and of innate psychological or ethnic differences, as well as the commonality between Russia and Europe as distinct from Russia and China:
…First, the Russians like doing business with people they know. They have done gas deals with various European countries since 1967. By contrast, they have little understanding of how the Chinese operate. Second, there is the issue of price. The Europeans pay top dollar, whereas the Chinese are always looking for a discount. Third, most of the deposits are in western Siberia, much closer to Europe than to China. Fourth, the pipeline network is overwhelmingly directed towards Europe.
Russia needs to develop new oil and gas pipelines. But its focus is still very much on satisfying the needs of the expanding European market. That's where the money is. Incidentally, oil and gas make up 60% of Russia's total exports and more than half of federal budget revenue. Moscow does not have an alternative market just sitting there. Russia and Europe need each other….
Despite rejecting the notion of a coming war between Russia and China as per Salisbury, Lo definitively states that there will be tension arising between Russia and China as the latter seeks to extend its influence into Central Asia. He also sees Russia in alliance with Europe:
The fact that China has a much more dynamic economy than Russia will, in time, lead to growing tension between them. For example, the Russians will not take kindly to the Chinese becoming increasingly influential in Central Asia. However, such tensions will fall short of confrontation. I think the Russians will react to China's rise by gravitating towards the West - in ten years or so, maybe earlier. It will be interesting to see how the leadership in Beijing responds to this. Beijing is smart enough not to overreact but some kind of froideur in its relations with Russia will be unavoidable.
In my forthcoming book I call their relationship an ‘axis of convenience'. Both countries have become closer because of selected common interests, rather than ideas. But interests change. [Emphasis added].
Russian Far East: Economic and Demographic Expansion
As seen from the above,China is pursuing its goals in Central Asia under a facade of “good neighbourliness”. The same strategies are being pursued in the Russian Far East. Despite the apparent accord between Russia and China, from the high level diplomacy and trade, to commerce of Chinese traders crowding out the markets of the Russian Far East, Putin, the architect of Russo-Chinese relations, does not hide his concern about China.
Putin has warned for years about the demographic expansion of China relative to the demographic decline of Russia:
President Vladimir V. Putin warned last year that the spread of Asian influence in the Russian Far East placed Russia’s very existence at stake. “If we don’t make concrete efforts,” he said, “the future local population will speak Japanese, Chinese or Korean.”33
Local authorities also express such concerns:
“What we see in the Russian Far East is the peaceful and slow colonization of all Russian territories in the area by the Chinese,” said Alexei D. Bogaturov, the deputy director of the Institute of U.S.A. and Canada Studies here. “We have a grave problem, I think.”34
New York Times correspondent Michael Wines, writing from Zabaikalsk, a town in the Russian Far East sharing a border with China and Mongolia, writes of the Chinese encroachment:
For a lesson in 21st-century geopolitics, come to this border town, until just a few years ago an outpost for Russian infantry awaiting a Chinese invasion.
Russian gun emplacements are crumbling now but the invasion is under way anyway: Chinese built the town’s few new apartments, China Telecom connects the cellular phones, and Chinese traders hire busloads of jobless Russians to tote Chinese-made clothes and electronics through the Chinese-built border crossing. Maybe 1,000 of the 11,000 or so residents are Chinese, too.
The inescapable impression, here and elsewhere in the region, is of a land clinging tightly to its essential Russianness—and slowly losing its grip. Along a stretch of Russian borderland as big as Western Europe, demographics, economics and, for the first time, history are all working against Moscow. [Emphasis added].
Wines states that the collapse of the Soviet Union ended the subsidies the state had provided for the Far East, and the economic collapse has been offset by China, worrying even those Russians – up to Putin – who had sought a Russo-Chinese accord to counterbalance the USA:
When Communism collapsed, so did the subsidies. The military all but disappeared, too, leaving a wreckage of near ghost towns behind. China has filled the vacuum. From Vladivostok to Zabaikalsk, Russians are coming to depend on the Chinese for everything from buildings to bananas to boomboxes. And that is unsettling even to the architects of the Sino-Russian reconciliation.
…Mr. Putin’s fear is that Chinese economic expansion will crowd out Russian commerce and political power unless Moscow repopulates and rebuilds this ravaged region first. But precious few Russians want to move here, and money for rebuilding is scarce. [Emphasis added].
In a brilliant strategy of psychological warfare aimed at wooing Russians into embracing Chinese overlordship, the Chinese have built a model city, albeit one that does not reflect the reality of the Chinese peasant. Wines writes:
For Zabaikalsk residents, paradise begins 50 yards across the border, past abandoned Russian tanks and rusted barb-wire fences. There the Chinese have built a gleaming free-trade center, a small city of hotels, freight-forwarding offices, wholesale stores and pagodas.
On the horizon, 10 minutes down a freshly paved highway in China, is the city of Manzhouli. Ten years ago a Chinese version of Zabaikalsk, it is today a staging area for Russian trade—a forest of skyscrapers and cafes “where even the street sweepers have cellular phones,” one Russian said enviously. “It’s a beautiful city. I wish ours was like that,” said a Russian woman who would identify herself only as Valentina.
Russian Far East: China’s Lebensraum
What more glaring admission can there be that China has designs on Russian territory that have not diminished since the Sino-Russian friendship treaty, but rather have received new impetus via the supposed Sino-Russian rapport? The lands and oil of the Russian Far East beckon. Chinese farmers presently rent and cultivate land in the Russian Far East due to the shortage of land in China.
In the Primorsky Krai35 region, some 30,000 Chinese have permanent residence. The region is a disputed territory, with rich land that was not cultivated until the arrival of Russians in the beginning of the 17th Century. Treaties in 1858 and 1860 moved the Russian border south to the Amur and Ussuri Rivers (which were to become sites of conflict during the 1960s and 70s), giving Russia possession of the region.
Primorsky Krai's economy is the most successful in the Russian Far East.
Food production is the most important sector, particulartly fish processing. The annual catch constitutes one half of the Russian Far East total. Agriculture is important, and includes the production of rice, milk, eggs, and vegetables.Grain, soybeans, potatoes, and vegetables are the prime elements in agriculture.. The breeding of livestock, especially sheep, is well developed. The timber industry has an annual yield of about 3 million cubic meters and is the second largest in the Russian Far East.
Machine manufacturing is the second most important element of the economy, and half of the output is to service the fishing industry and shipyards.. The construction materials industry supplies the whole Russian Far East.
The region generates more electricity than any other Russian Far East administrative division.
The defence industry is also important; with naval vessels and military aircraft production.
The railway infrastructure is twice the Russian average, and is connected with China and North Korea.
The coastal location makes the region an important maritime trade and defence route into the Pacific. Primorsky Krai-based shipping companies provide 80% of marine shipping services in the Russian Far East.36
Primorsky Krai is the largest coal producer in the Russian Far East. Among the other minerals found here are: tin, tungsten, lead, zinc, silver, gold, fluorspar ore (containing rare minerals such as beryllium, lithium, tantalum and niobium), and Russia’s largest supply of boron ore (boron being used in textiles, aerospace materials, smelting, control of fission in nuclear reactors, rocket fuels, jet engines, and hundreds of others uses).37 38
As the Russian Far East becomes increasing reliant on Chinese investment and as the Chinese population expands and the Russian declines, a future food-population crisis in China could see the Russian Far East as China’s lebensraum to be taken by force. The Russian Maritime Region, Primorsky Krai, is a rich prize in both land and minerals. Tibet was invaded, colonised and turned into a “special economic zone” by China for the control of the many mineral resources there and the water sources for much of Asia. In any one of a number of crisis scenarios that could afflict China and Asia generally, the Russian Far East would be irresistible.
Treaty with Mongolia Aimed at Russia
China sees Mongolia as an integral part of its territory, despite present declarations about “good neighbourliness”. Mongolia has long been coveted by China. Mongolia’s historic relations with Russia have been to offset China.
China has in recent years displaced Russia in Mongolia, which was previously a Soviet protectorate. China is pursuing its integration of Mongolia via diplomatic means. The friendship treaty with Mongolia can only be interpreted as being aimed specifically at Russia.
China underlines the strategic importance of Mongolia for both itself and Russia: “As China’s important neighbor to its north, and situated between China and Russia, Mongolia enjoys a unique geographic position. …”39
The Chinese Foreign Ministry describes the relations between China and Mongolia when the latter was under the Soviet umbrella as having suffered “ups and downs”:
In 1962, both sides signed Sino-Mongolian Treaty on Friendship and Mutual Assistance, and in 1962, signed Boundary Treaty. In mid and late 1960s, their relations suffered ups and downs. In 1970s, the two countries restored to exchange of ambassadors. In 1980s, their relations saw gradual improvement.
In 1987, China and Mongolia restored scientific and technological exchanges suspended for more than the previous 20 years, and signed 1987-1988 Plan for Scientific and Technological Cooperation. [Emphasis added].
The Ministry’s statement on Mongolia has details about the cultural, economic and educational relations between the two, but merely mentions in passing ‘development in the military area’:
In 1989, their state and ruling party (Chinese Communist Party and Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party) were relations normalized. Since then, their friendly relations and cooperation have consolidated and developed in such areas as the political, economic, cultural, educational and military. In 1990, China and Mongolia issued a joint communiqué, revised Sino-Mongolian Treaty on Friendship and Mutual Assistance in 1994, and signed Friendship and Cooperation Treaty between China and Mongolia based on the previous treaty. … China is now Mongolia’s largest trading partner and investor. Both sides share identical or similar views on many issues in international affairs, support each other and enjoy fruitful cooperation.40 [Emphasis added].
The Soviet control of Mongolia was secured under the humiliating 1950 Sino-Soviet treaty.
Elleman states that Soviet control of Mongolia was one of the ongoing contentions between Russia and China.
On February 15, 1950, Mao also grudgingly agreed to recognize the "independent status" of the MPR. This admission was a far cry from recognizing Mongolia's complete independence from China, however, since Mao firmly believed that the Soviet government had earlier promised to return Mongolia to China. Based on Mao's later complaints, Mao must have received assurances from Stalin that Mongolia's status, as well as the exact location of the Sino-Mongolian and Sino-Soviet borders, would be discussed at future meetings. Thus, it was Moscow's refusal to open negotiations with Beijing that eventually led to border clashes during the 1950s and 1960s. Although the Sino-Mongolian border was resolved in 1962, Mao publicly denounced Soviet encroachments on Chinese territory and he protested Soviet control of Mongolia: "[T]he Soviet Union, under the pretext of assuring the independence of Mongolia, actually placed the country under its domination."41 [Emphasis added].
Mongolia has been a point of contention between Russia and China even after Mao’s death and decades after the 1960s border clashes. In 1978 the Chinese were still demanding Russia’s withdrawal from Mongolia, despite the wishes of Mongolia herself for the protection accorded by Russia:
Finally, on 26 March 1978, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded that Moscow, in addition to recognizing the existence of "disputed areas" along the Sino-Soviet border, must completely withdraw Soviet troops from the MPR42, as well as pulling them back from along the entire Sino-Soviet border.43
The USSR responded by increasing Russian defences along the disputed borders, while Mongolia reiterated its friendship with Russia and hostility towards China:
In response to China's demands, Leonid Brezhnev, the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, visited Siberia during early April 1978, and announced that new, more advanced equipment had been provided to missile units stationed along the Sino-Soviet border. These new weapons, Brezhnev announced, would be instrumental in "securing ourselves and our socialist friends against possible aggression, whatever the source." Soon afterwards, on 12 April 1978, Ulan Bator also publicly protested Beijing's demands, stating that additional Soviet troops had been stationed along the Sino-Mongolia border at Mongolia's request in order to offset increased Chinese troop concentrations to the south of the border.44 [Emphasis added].
China has been pursuing the old, one could say ancient, policies in regard to her neighbours through the strategy of economic subversion, from which is now proceeding a silent invasion of Chinese, populating Russian territory and displacing Russia in Mongolia through Chinese economic clout. This is the same strategy that China is using throughout the South Pacific, extending its influence over the small but strategically situated island nations through aid and economic development, followed by the opening or buying of port facilities.45
Mongolia, like Tibet, is mineral rich. Its wealth includes: coal, copper, molybdenum, iron, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc, wolfram, fluorspar, gold, uranium, and petroleum. Mongolia is a rich prize; one that has been lost to Russia.
Scenarios for War
Bobo Lo’s insightful perspective of the coming divergence of interest between Russia and China nonetheless underestimates the potential for a shooting war between the two. One reason is that water is an increasingly worrisome resource throughout the world, no less so in Asia and Russia.
As water sources become scarce or polluted, water will become a source of conflict no less than oil. Indeed, it seems reasonable to contend that water will be a resource even more desperately sought after than oil, since it is one of the most fundamental elements for the survival of life.
Of major concern are Chinese attempts to dam or redirect the southward flow of river waters from the Tibetan plateau, where major rivers originate, including the Indus, the Mekong, the Yangtze, the Yellow, the Salween, the Brahmaputra, the Karnali and the Sutlej. Among Asia’s mighty rivers, only the Ganges starts from the Indian side of the Himalayas.
However, into this scenario are China’s similar moves in regard to the designs it has on the waterways of Central Asia and of Russia. We are beginning to see China’s intransigence and aggressive intent even now in regard to control of water resources.
The article by Marat Yermukanov footnoted here is worth studying in detail. It shows that China regards large regions of Central Asia as Chinese territory. It is published by a well-informed think tank on the region of the former USSR:46 Yermukanov writes [Our emphases throughout]:
Over the last decade Kazakhstan and China have conducted a wide range of talks on the environmental safety of shared rivers and the use of joint water resources. Beijing took every occasion to deny on official levels that China was building dams in the Irtysh River, which is shared by China, Russia, and Kazakhstan, to divert water for irrigation purposes. The government of Kazakhstan is well aware that China faces a hard dilemma struggling to cope with growing water demands in its rapidly developing western provinces while having to respect previously reached international agreements on the Irtysh and Ili Rivers.
While Bobo Lo states that China has entered the Shanghai accord with Russia and Central Asian republics to secure its aims while appearing to be a ‘good neighbour’, Yermukanov reports that China has shown its aggressive hand in its determination to secure the water resources of Central Asia and Russia:
Patience ran out when Beijing started construction of a canal linking the Black Irtysh with the Karamai River on Chinese territory, dramatically lowering the water level in the river. China's water-management policy threatens to drastically reduce crop production in the environmentally vulnerable regions of East Kazakhstan, Pavlodar, and Karaganda.
As for Russia, Yermukanov explains the ominous implications: “Such a move could also cause a severe drought in Russia's wheat-growing Omsk region.”
Yermukanov states that local Russian authorities are in disagreement in regard to the practicability of negotiations with China. However, it would seem reasonable to conclude that those who are holding out the prospect of negotiated settlements are merely verbalising hopes rather than likelihoods:
Last November, in a desperate attempt to prevent an environmental disaster, the governor of Omsk region, Leonid Polezhayev, ordered 10 billion roubles to be allocated for the construction of a huge water reservoir to accumulate floodwaters for industrial use. He argued that a political solution to the Irtysh River dispute was not feasible, since the Chinese did not wish to negotiate. However, Amirkhan Kenshimov, deputy chairman of the Water Resources Committee of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Agriculture, announced that China had expressed a readiness to resume talks on the division of the Irtysh and Ili water resources.…(Izvestiya Kazakhstan, February 14).
Yermukanov cites the pessimism of Sinologists in regard to China’s willingness to negotiate other than for the purpose of stalling: “Experts familiar with the state of affairs on the Chinese side are less optimistic about Beijing's resolve to solve the problem of water resources in the Irtysh-Ili basin without dragging out the talks endlessly.”
China has already began giant projects on both the Ili and Irtysh Rivers, in what appears to be a disregard for the ‘good neighbourliness’ and the aim of maintaining stability in Central Asia that Bobo Lo contends is putting brakes on open conflict between China and its Russian and Central Asian neighbours. He states that the Kazakhstan Government is not even fully aware of the situation:
Many in the government are apparently not aware of the fact that last year China opened a hydroelectric power station that consumes 15% of the Ili River's water resources. Environmentalists warn that in the next few years China will build additional hydroelectric power installations along the Irtysh and Ili Rivers; 65 hydroelectric power stations have already been built. Among the installations not revealed to the Kazakh government delegation is the Kapshagay (a hydroelectric power station in Kazakhstan carries the same name) water reservoir, with the enormous capacity of 380 million cubic meters. China is planning to build another 13 reservoirs in the coming years (Novoye pokolenie, February 10).
Yermukanov refers to the industrialisation of northwestern China’s polluting of Lake Balkhash, and the increased food production in Xingjiang Uighur. He points to Chinese mismanagement, and to the refusal of China to sign an agreement on shared water resources.
The forced industrial development of north-western China is likely to pollute Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan with chemicals and fertilizers, as the Ili River feeds the lake. The increase of paddy fields in Xingjiang Uighur Autonomous Region has already led to the depletion of the Irtysh and Ili Rivers. According to the latest data, as a result of mismanagement the annual loss of water in the Chinese section of the Ili River basin makes up 4.4 cubic kilometres, which equals 15% of the whole water resources of the river. That reduces substantially the amount of water inflow into Lake Balkhash. The root cause of the problem is that until now China had not signed the international convention on trans-border waters.…
Yermukanov ominously points to the ethnic dynamics of the region, which he states could lead to violence. The Chinese are changing the demographics of the region with Chinese ethnic incursions, in the name of peaceful commerce. Yermukanov also reveals that China has territorial designs on Kazakhstan. While Bobo Lo maintains that China is too pragmatic and has too much to lose to continue pressing its territorial claims on Russia as it did under Mao, its present designs on Kazakh lands give pause to thought in regard to whether it has indeed forgone its ambitions in regard to Russia:
The accelerated development of Xingjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is increasingly alarming the Kazakh government. Border areas in southern regions have already become an incongruous melting pot of dozens of ethnic groups. The water shortages in this densely populated area could lead to a violent outbreak of interethnic conflict. Another worry is that, despite the signing of border agreements between Kazakhstan and China, Beijing did not abandon altogether territorial claims on some southern regions of Kazakhstan. Some years ago a Kazakh Foreign Ministry delegation was surprised to see the former capital, Almaty; Balkhash; and other areas of south Kazakhstan marked as parts of China on a map in Beijing's central museum. The Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan filed an official protest, and the Chinese promised to correct the mistake. But the school text on Xingjiang history lists the same parts of Kazakhstan as Chinese territory (Zhas Qazaq, February 3).
In contradistinction to Bobo Lo’s references to China’s façade of ‘good neighbourliness,’ Yermukanov states that China has held such principles ‘in contempt’ in regard to the life-and-death survival issue of water resources. He points out that Russia has yet to initiate a common front with Central Asia in regard to China. However, this must eventuate as China’s continuing encroachments on Central Asian water sources will directly and significantly impact on Russia.
Beijing's current adamant attitude on the issues of trans-border rivers clearly reflects China's manifest contempt for the principles of good-neighborly relations. Given the lack of interaction between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, Astana has no alternative to drawn-out, yet fruitless, talks with China on this issue of vital importance.
The crucial issue of water resources is a factor that Bobo Lo, for all his perceptiveness, seems to have overlooked, and one that has significant potential for armed conflict.
Sino-US Confrontation Unlikely
There are some who, for varying reasons, would appease Red China. They are blind to history's clear lesson, for history teaches with unmistakable emphasis that appeasement but begets new and bloodier war. It points to no single instance where this end has justified that means, where appeasement has led to more than a sham peace. Like blackmail, it lays the basis for new and successively greater demands until, as in blackmail, violence becomes the only other alternative.47
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, 1951.
What of the US factor in Asian and Sino-Russian affairs? Will the USA step in and confront China, which is often seen as a geo-political rival in its ambition to secure ports and waterways around the world? Would the USA confront China in a showdown over Taiwan? Would the USA, perhaps in alliance with Russia, confront Chinese incursions into Central Asia?
Any confrontation between the USA and China is unlikely. In a confrontation between Russia and China, the USA will not intervene against China any more than the USA was willing to assist Russia in preventing China’s gaining nuclear capabilities.
The US attitude is unlikely to have changed from 1982 when US National Security Adviser William Clark told Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser that Australia “would be expected to cope alone with any local or regional conflict.” The exception would be if the USSR were supporting an aggressive state. But China was regarded as an ally against Russia.48 In 1983 Paul Wolfowitz, more latterly US Deputy Secretary of Defence and president of the World Bank, when US Assistant Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, told Chinese Premier Zhao that the US “welcomed China’s increasing and stabilising influence in the region, which he described as one of the more dramatic recent shifts in power play in south-east Asia.”49
Over the course of several decades since 1983, the role of China has certainly become far more “dramatic”.
The same business and political elites that governed the USA back then are still running things. Their outlook towards China has been friendly since the deposing the Chiang. As paradoxical as it appears, the USA was as insistent that Chiang deal with the Communists, as Stalin was in regard to Mao compromising with Chiang.50 As we have seen, it was Mao who rebuffed the USA in favour of a debilitating treaty with the USSR.
When Mao dramatically repudiated the 1950 ‘friendship treaty’ with Russia, he signalled by the invasion of Vietnam that he sought an alliance with the USA. This was the culmination of a long-desired aim of political and business elites in the USA, particularly those associated with the Rockefeller banking and oil dynasty.
Chang and Halliday state that Mao had sought an alliance with the USA as far back as 1953, when Stalin died. However, the Korean War had made such a relationship impossible to sell to the American people. In 1969 President Nixon expressed interest in pursuing relations with China.51
It was in Korea that the USA was directly confronted by China. The reaction was a telegram from the Joint Chiefs of Staff advising Gen. MacArthur to prepare to evacuate and leave the peninsula to the Communists. As the document shows, the USA was well aware that China had directly entered the conflict.52
MacArthur considered the American policy “defeatist” and made four recommendations:
(1) Blockade the coast of China; (2) destroy through naval gunfire and air bombardment China's industrial capacity to wage war; (3) secure reinforcements from the Nationalist Chinese garrison in Formosa to strengthen our position in Korea if we decided to continue the fight for that peninsula; and (4) release existing restrictions upon the Formosa garrison for diversionary action against vulnerable areas of the Chinese mainland.53
Pres. Truman responded to MacArthur’s opposition regarding a “no-win” policy – a policy that was to be repeated in Vietnam – by dismissing the popular military commander in 1951. Much has changed since that time, but the changes make a direct confrontation between the USA and China even less likely: China is now dealing from a position of strength far beyond its capabilities in 1950, and in particular the economies of China and the USA are now in symbiosis, a matter that will be further discussed. Any military confrontation would have repercussions more far-reaching globally than MacArthur’s recommendations in 1950.
To return to the rapport that was established between the USA and China in 1970, what is notable is that Nixon’s primary adviser was Dr Henry Kissinger, a protégée of the Rockefeller family. The Rockefeller dynasty has had a keen interest in China since the 1920s. In 1956 John D Rockefeller founded the Asia Society, a high-level think tank of politicians, diplomats and business leaders, to promote economic relations with Asia.54 55
The importance of Kissinger for the Rockefeller family is indicated by the introduction he was given by ambassador Richard Holbrooke to the 50th anniversary gala banquet of the Asia Society honouring the Rockefellers:
To discuss the Rockefeller Legacy, not just John D. Rockefeller III, but the whole family, there really was only one person who could do it, and that was Henry Kissinger. Henry has been a friend of the Rockefeller family as you all know, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, David Rockefeller, and the rest of the family, so many of whom are here tonight, for fifty years. He also has a very strong and deep connection to Asia. We all know that he was the main architect of the historic opening to China, which has resulted in so many positive achievements, and remains one of the most complicated, if not the most complicated, bilateral relationship we have in the world. Henry has been very gracious to join us tonight, and I have no other duty here except to invite to the stage former Secretary of State, Nobel Peace Prize winner, our friend, Asia Society’s friend, Henry Kissinger.56 [Emphasis added].
Kissinger, despite being outside of Government service, remains deeply influential in State, business and diplomatic circles as head of Kissinger Associates, his private advisory service, and retains his connection with high-level think tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg conferences, and as seen, the Asia Society.
However Mao, posturing as the pre-eminent anti-American champion before the Third World, in an ideological conflict with the USSR had to be as cautious as his American counterparts in selling the idea of what would amount to a Sino-American alliance. The alliance began at the lowest level; American and Chinese ping-pong57, in what was to be called ‘ping pong diplomacy.’
Kissinger made his first trip to China in 1972 to plan a visit from Nixon. The Americans offered as a preliminary goodwill gesture the redirection of diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Mao’s China. The US also offered to get China into the UN. Additionally, the US would provide China with information on all its dealings with Russia. Kissinger also told the Chinese that the US would be withdrawing from South Vietnam58, and that American troops would soon be pulled out of South Korea. China was not asked for any concessions.59
In 1973 Kissinger assured Mao that the US would come to China’s assistance if attacked by Russia.60
The groundwork was also laid for the technological and industrial build-up of China, and therefore the establishment of the military strength that Mao had failed to achieve via the USSR. On 6 July Kissinger told Mao’s envoy:
I have talked to the French Foreign Minister about our interest in strengthening the PRC [People’s Republic of China]. We will do what we can to encourage our allies to speed up requests they receive from you on items for Chinese defense.
In particular you have asked for some Rolls-Royce technology. Under existing regulations we have to oppose this, but we have worked out a procedure with the British where they will go ahead anyway. We will take a formal position in opposition, but only that. Don’t be confused by what we do publicly…61 [Emphasis added].
Kissinger’s last sentence is a key to understanding world history and politics: “Don’t be confused by what we do publicly.” It is the manner by which high politics works behind the scenes, and has little to do with what is given out by the news media for public consumption.
The building of China into a military and economic super-power courtesy of Western big business, headed by the Rockefeller dynasty, was to be delayed a few years by the Watergate scandal which forced Nixon from office, and resumed under the Trilateralist-dominated Carter Administration.
Carter’s Trilateralist Administration Develops Ties with China
This writer has outlined the development of relations between the USA and China in the context of a growing military and diplomatic offensive in the South Pacific. In The Menace of China in the Pacific62 I describe the continuation of US-China relations under the Carter Administration, in the aftermath of the Nixon-Kissinger regime. The Rockefeller influence, in this instance via the Trilateral Commission, remained:
The “normalisation of relations” between the USA and China came in 1978 under the Carter Administration. Pres. Carter’s was a Trilateral regime.
Previous groundwork had been undertaken during the Nixon Administration through the so-called “Ping Pong diplomacy” of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger…
After Kissinger had made the preliminary arrangements, Pres. Nixon travelled to China in 1972.
In 1973 David Rockefeller went to China… [and] waxed lyrical about the Mao regime writing: “The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao’s leadership is one of the most important and successful in human history...”63
David Rockefeller’s Standard Oil obtained exclusive rights to China’s oil exploration; his Chase Manhattan Bank to industrial finance.
When in 1978 Taiwan was dumped and diplomatic relations formally established under the Carter Trilateralist regime, Leonard Woodcock, an early member of the Trilateral Commission, became first US Ambassador to China. Apart from the Rockefeller interests, other early globalist corporations whose chief executives were Trilateralists included: Coca Cola, given the soft drink monopoly (J Paul Austin, a backer of Carter), Boeing Aircraft (T A Wilson), and Mitsui Petro-Cehmical (Yoshizo Ikeda). …
Japanese Trilateralists were also heavily involved with early dealings in China. Mitsubishi (whose chairman Chujiro Funjino was chairman of the Japanese Trilateral Commission Executive Committee) got the contract to modernise the Shanghai shipyards, the largest in China. Hitachi Ltd. (president Hirokichi Yoshiyama) got a $100,000,000 contract to supply equipment for the Paoshan steelworks and to expand the Hungchi Shipyards. Nippon Steel (Yoshihiro Inayama) was involved with constructing a giant steel plant near Shanghai.64
US-Chinese Economies Symbiotic
The most compelling reason there is little likelihood of a US-China conflict is that their economies have developed a strong symbiotic relationship. This cannot be said of the relationship between China and Russia or Russia and the USA.
Dr . Niall Ferguson states: “…Since April 2002 the central banks of China and Hong Kong have bought 96 billion dollars of US government securities.”
This means that, “the US is reliant on the central bank of the People’s Republic of China for the financing of about 4% per year of its federal borrowing.”
Ferguson mentions the “growing interdependence” between the economies of the USA and China:
Far from being strategic rivals, these two empires have the air of economic partners. The only question is which of the two is the more dependent, which, to be precise, stands to lose more in the event of a crisis in their amicable relationship, now over thirty years old….65
Today, global business in China is such that China Business World has over 1000 listings of US companies just in Beijing and Shanghai.
When in 2006 the US Labour organisation AFL-CIO petitioned the Bush Administration to place economic restrictions on China in regard to China’s labour laws, this was directly opposed by a united front of big business associations. Their letter to Pres Bush is instructive in regard to the continuing pro-China attitude prevalent among influential business identities. Among the 14 signatories are: Business Round Table, Emergency Committee for American Trade, National Foreign Trade Council, US Council for International Business, US Chamber of Commerce, US-China Business Council.66 They called on Bush to reject the AFL-CIO petition to the Office of the US Trade Representative. The attitude of one of their number, Thomas J. Donohue, CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, was expressed before a 2004 conference of the Asia Society: “The China genie is out of the bottle, and there’s no putting him back—nor would we want to even if we could.”67
One of the most interesting personalities of the US (globalist) elite whose activities are intrinsically bound up with China is Nicholas Rockefeller. He is of particular interest because in 2006 he unsuccessfully attempted to recruit award-winning Hollywood director and documentary filmmaker Aaron Russo to the Council on Foreign Relations, with the promise of being part of an elite that rules what he calls “the serfs”.68 His revelations about how the globalists seek world control, including the aim of microchipping the entire population of the world’s “serfs,” embarrassed the global elite when Russo exposed the discussions publicly.
This description of Nicholas Rockefeller by the Rockefeller dynasty’s Asia Society indicates how important Nicholas is to the global business hierarchy:
Nicholas Rockefeller is vice chairman and chief legal officer of the RockVest Group of Investors and is involved in various banking and commercial projects in China and worldwide.
He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Advisory Board of RAND, the Corporate Advisory Board of the Pacific Council on International Relations, the Board of the Western Justice Center Foundation, and the Central China Development Council and has served as a participant in the World Economic Forum and the Aspen Institute. He also serves as a director of the Pacific Rim Cultural Foundation, and is a member of the boards of visitors of the law schools of the University of Oregon and of Pepperdine University.
Nicholas’ China practice includes transactions with China’s largest banks, energy companies, communications entities and real estate enterprises as well as with China’s principal cities and leading provinces. He was chosen as a board member of the Central China Construction and Development Commission and as a director of the Xiwai International School of Shanghai International University. He has appeared numerous times on CCTV and other China media.69 [Emphasis added].
It seems that the business elite in the USA is intrinsically bound up with the interests of China’s economic expansion. It can be said that trade relations and investment by US corporations in Nazi Germany did not prevent war between the two, or that the blood kinships between the royal families of Europe did not prevent World Wart I. Therefore, the economic symbiosis presently existing between the USA and China is not necessarily sufficient per se to prevent the possibility of future confrontation between the USA and China.
The factors are quite different on several levels. There is no powerful lobby with a vested interest in war with China. Despite certain business contacts between China and Germany70, the Third Reich was fundamentally at odds with the international banking and trade system, with its policies of state credit and barter71. China, on the other hand, is an intrinsic, indeed pivotal, part of the world economic system. There is no entangling treaty or alliance system that would see the USA confronting China in support of any other country. As we have seen, the USA will not confront China over Taiwan. China’s control over Tibet has made the country a ‘special economic zone’, which allows global business to exploit Tibet’s mineral wealth; so there is a convergence of interest there.
The USA sees Russia as a potential threat to what the Russians call the US’s “world hegemony”. As cited previously, China is willing to see the USA share its sphere of influence in Central Asia, whereas the Russians are adverse. Even now, without any real strategic threat, the USA challenges Russia by deploying missiles directed towards the Russian frontier, in Russia’s former spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. Poland and the Czech Republic became members of NATO in 1999. In 2008 Russia stated that US plans to deploy missiles and radar systems in the two former Warsaw Pact states are a threat to Russian security.72 The USA will attempt to retain and bolster its influence over Europe and the Middle East, which will challenge Russian interests. The USA, particularly after the Vietnam debacle, will continue to surrender its position in Asia and the Pacific region militarily, but will seek to retain its influence economically in tandem with China. Strategically, Russia must perceive itself as being encircled by the USA and China in previous Russian spheres; the USA with its missile deployment in Eastern Europe, and China with its alliance with Mongolia.
The war in Kosovo against the Serbs was also a direct challenge to Russia’s traditional sphere of influence, and one that secured mineral-rich Kosovo for global business privatisation. As with the subtle informal alliances between the USA and China during the 1970s aimed at the USSR, any future world power alliance is likely to be between the USA and China vis-à-vis Russia. The present friendship treaty between Russia and China is a temporary aberration that will not endure, any more than the treaty between the USSR and Maoist China was based on a real accord of interests.
Russia: Between East and West
The Russian “folk soul” is neither Eastern nor Western73, yet since the time of Peter the Great Russia has sought cultural impetus from the West. For a brief time under Bolshevism, Western technology was pressed into the service of Oriental despotism, and the USSR saw its world mission as the liberation of Africa and the Orient from the West. Yet even while still nominally “Communist,” the USSR soon found itself confronted by Chinese rivalry militarily on its own borders and further afield (Vietnam) and ideologically throughout the world.74
Russia is caught between East and West. When confronted by the East, Russia plays a vanguard role for Europe. An example was the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. However, this was also an example of the USA’s sabotaging Russia.75
The inevitable impress of geo-politics on the relations between Russia and China prompted the popular Gaullist scholar and journalist Dr Peter Scholl-Latour to write:
…Despite her commitment to back ideological crackpots and charlatans in the Third World, Moscow will inevitably end up leading the white vanguard of Europe in Central Asia, Siberia and the Far East. As de Gaulle once prophesied, ‘the Russians will find out one day they are whites too.’76
Today, the ideological commitments are gone, and what remains is a temporary pragmatic alliance between Russia and China, which is only serving to provide time while both try to build their economic and military structures while remaining inherently suspicious of each other.
The British scholar C. Northcote Parkinson77 was of the opinion that between the USA and Russia the “major burden of defence” of the ‘West’ would fall upon the latter. He quoted a 1912 work by Lancelot Lawton as an example of how early this had been perceived, Lawton writing that, “Russia, whose frontiers lie athwart Manchuria, Mongolia, Turkistan, Persia, Afghanistan, and Turkey, has been singled out by Nature to be the protecting bulwark of Western civilisation. Her peasantry are awakening at a time when the borders of Asia, too, are bestirring themselves.”78
Lawton stated that Russia must develop and populate the Far East and Siberia. Today, we see the incursions of China into the region, and the disquiet expressed by the Russians. Lawton viewed Russian territory in the Far East as an outpost of ‘Western Civilisation’, and believed the West was fortunate that the Russians had not been corrupted into decadence, still possessing the sturdy stock of peasants and soldiers who could stem the tide of aggression from Asia.79
Parkinson alludes to the belief in Victorian Britain that Russia was an ‘Asian power’, and among more recent observers that Russia had gone to the ‘Asian camp’ when it became Communist. However, Parkinson – rightly as history shows – saw the USSR as still substantially part of Europe, despite pragmatic policies that might turn to Asia temporarily. He observed that although the Soviet Union might proclaim itself ‘Asian’ as part of a strategy, “words cannot alter facts”. He cites the Russian aggressiveness in the Far East, and in being foremost among he European Powers in suppressing the 1900 Boxer Rebellion80, something that continued to perturb the Chinese in Mao’s time, which, as cited previously, considered the USSR as a European imperialistic continuation of Czarist Russia.
Parkinson concludes that, “As against China, [Russia] is the new Byzantium. The Russians have no more reason than the Byzantines to sacrifice themselves in defence of the West. But what else can they do? The alternative is to see the Chinese at Irkutsk, at Krzsnoyarsk, at Omsk, or Magnitogorsk…”81 This is precisely the scenario unfolding today.
Bolton, K R., The Banking Swindle, Spectrum Press, NZ, 2000.
Bolton, K R ed. George Soros’ World Revolution: How the currency speculator funds New Left revolutions, Renaissance Press, NZ.
Bolton K R, The Menace of China in the Pacific, Spectrum Press, NZ, 2004.
Bolton K R, “Wellington Power Grid Under Chinese Military Front-man ‘Non-Strategic’ Asset Controlled by China,” Restoration, #3 2008, Renaissance Press, Wellington, New Zealand.
Chang J., Halliday J Mao – the unknown story, Jonathan Cape, London, 2005. An Anchor Books edition appeared in 2006, with pagination different from that cited in the footnotes here.
De Colonna Bertram, “The Truth about Germany,” The Mirror, Auckland, NZ, April, 1938.
Evening Post, Wellington, New Zealand, May 3, 1983.
Emmott Bill, Rivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India and Japan Will Shape Our Next Decade, Allen Lane, 2008.
Ferguson N, Colossus: The Rise & Fall of the American Empire, Penguin, Britain, 2004.
Garnaut J., “Russia on edge as China grows,” Sydney Morning Herald, June 9, 2008.
Haldeman H R , “The Ends of Power,” New York Times Books, 1978.
Higham C., Trading with the enemy: how the allied multinationals supplied Nazi Germany throughout World War II, Robert Hale, London, 1983.
Lawton, Lancelot, Empires of the Far East, London, 1912,
Li Xiaokun, “China, Russia, sign border agreement,” China Daily, July 22, 2008.
Paine S. C. M., Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier, M E Sharpe, Armonk, NY, 1996.
Parkinson, C. N., East & West, John Murray, London, 1963.
RIA Novosti, Moscow, “Russia says U.S. missile shield will harm European security,” July 15, 2008. http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080715/114016639.html
Rockefeller D., “From a China Traveller,” NY Times, Aug. 10, 1973.
Salisbury Harrison E., The Coming War Between Russia & China, Pan Books, London, 1969.
Scalapino Robert A., “The Political Influence of the USSR in Asia,” in Donald S. Zagoria, ed., Soviet Policy in East Asia, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1982, 71.
Scholl-Latour, Dr P., Death in the rice fields : an eyewitness account of Vietnam's three wars, 1945-1979, St. Martins Press, NY, 1985.
Spengler, Oswald, The Decline of the West, Allen & Unwin, London, 1971.
Sutton Dr Antony, Trilaterals Over Washington, The August Corporation, Arizona, 1980.
The Dominion, Wellington, New Zealand, May 29 1982.
Trenin, Dmitri, “Pirouettes and priorities: distilling a Putin doctrine,” The National Interest, Dec. 22, 2003.
Wines M., “Chinese Creating a New Vigor in Russian Far East,” NY Times, September 23, 2001.
Asia Society Gala 50th anniversary dinner speeches, http://www.asiasociety.org/support/specialevents/anniversary_dinner/galaspeeches.html
Bobo Lo, Russia-China: Axis of Convenience, 20 - 05 – 2008, http://www.opendemocracy.net/user/511394
Boron entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boron
de Nesnera Andre, “Russia and China focus on Central Asia,” Washington, 12 June 2008, Voice of America, http://www.voanews.com/english/NewsAnalysis/2008-06-13-voa23.cfm
Elleman Bruce, “Sino-Soviet Relations and the February 1979 Sino-Vietnamese Conflict,” 20 April 1996 http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/vietnamcenter/events/1996_Symposium/96papers/elleviet.htm
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peoples Republic of China http://chinese-embassy.org.za/eng/wjb/zzjg/yzs/gjlb/2742/default.htm
“Natural resources of Primorsky Krai,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_resources_of_Primorsky_Krai
“Primorsky Krai,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primorsky_Krai
Rockefeller, N. http://www.nicholasrockefeller.net/rand_dinner/
Soros G., (http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/previousdetail.php?id=125401, Bangkok Post, Jan. 23 2008.
Yermukanov, Marat, “China obstructs River Management Talks with Kazakhstan,” February 17, 2006 :Eurasia Daily Monitor, Jamestown Foundation, http://jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2370793.
About the author:
K. R. Bolton is a New Zealand researcher, author and publisher, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social and Political Research (http://www.academy-of-social-and-political-research.com). This article originally appeared in: The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Washington, Summer 2009. Other recent publications include: Trotskyism and the Family, CKS, Sociology Dept., Moscow State University, October 2009; and Multiculturalism as a process of globalisation, Ab Aeterno, No. 1, November, 2009. Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Appendix: I The Coming War in Asia.
2 Salisbury Harrison E., The Coming War Between Russia & China, Pan Books, London, 1969. Salisbury was assistant managing editor of The New York Times, and a veteran journalist in Russia and Asia. He was the first American journalist to visit Hanoi during the Vietnam War.
3 Bobo Lo was second-in-charge at the Australian embassy in Moscow in the late 1990s and is now director of the China and Russia programs at London's Centre for European Reform.
4 Bolton K. R., The Washington-Peking-Tokyo Axis: Threat to NZ’s Survival, Realist Publications, NZ, 1983.
5 Chang J., Halliday J., “Saved by Washington,” Mao – the Unknown Story (London: Jonathan Cape, 2005), 304-311.
6 Chang, Halliday, ibid., 310.
7 Chang, Halliday, ibid., 362.
8 Chang, Halliday, ibid., 368.
9 Chang, Halliday, ibid., 368.
10 Chang, Halliday, ibid., 369.
11 Chang, Halliday, ibid., 397.
12 Paine S C M, Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier, NY, 1996. Dr Paine is an expert on Russia and Asia and has studied in Russia, China, Taiwan and Japan. She is associate professor of policy & strategy at the US Naval War College.
13 Chang & Halliday, op.cit. 570-571.
14 Chang & Halliday, ibid., 572.
15 Haldeman H R , The Ends of Power, New York Times Books, 1978.
16 Elleman Bruce, Sino-Soviet Relations and the February 1979 Sino-Vietnamese Conflict 20 April 1996 http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/vietnamcenter/events/1996_Symposium/96papers/elleviet.htm Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University, http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/vietnamcenter/
17 Scalapino Robert A., “The Political Influence of the USSR in Asia,” in Donald S. Zagoria, ed., Soviet Policy in East Asia (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1982), 71.
18 Elleman, op.cit.
19 Elleman, ibid.
20 Elleman, ibid.
21 The Trilateral Commission was founded at the behest of David Rockefeller, head of the banking and oil dynasty, as a think tank originally based on a merging of interests between North America, Europe and Japan. The concept now embraces the entirety of the Pacific Rim nations. It draws membership from the elite of business and politics. For example, the Carter Administration had many Trilateralists, from Carter down. The commission’s first director was Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s National Security adviser, and now foreign policy adviser for Democratic presidential nominee Obama. The Trilateral Commission has expanded its membership to China.
22 Emmott Bill, Rivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India and Japan Will Shape Our Next Decade (Allen Lane, 2008).
23 Emmott, ibid.
24 Garnaut J., “Russia on edge as China grows,” Sydney Morning Herald, June 9, 2008.
25 Trenin, Dmitri,”Pirouettes and priorities: distilling a Putin doctrine,” The National Interest, Dec. 22, 2003. Trenin is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Director of Studies at the Carnegie Moscow Center. The Carnegie Endowment is a long-established globalist think tank influential in US ruling circles, along with other inter-locking think tanks and Foundations, such as the CFR , Trilateral Commission, Ford Foundation, et al.
26 de Nesnera Andre, Russia and China focus on Central Asia, Washington, 12 June 2008, Voice of America, http://www.voanews.com/english/NewsAnalysis/2008-06-13-voa23.cfm
27 Bobo Lo, op.cit.
28 de Nesnera, op.cit.
29 de Nesnera, ibid. Quoting Lo.
30 Bobo Lo, Russia-China: Axis of Convenience, 20 - 05 – 2008, http://www.opendemocracy.net/user/511394
31 The purpose of Open Democracy Russia, as described on its website, is to engage in debate about Russia’s place in the world. www.opendemocracy.net/russia/russia_about
32 George Soros, the currency speculator, operates an array of think tanks, fronts and foundations across the world, aimed at breaking down traditional cultures and opening up protected economies to globalisation. Agenda include liberalisation of abortion and drug laws, for example. Generally operating under the Open Society Institute, Soros’ networks played pivotal roles in undermining the Soviet bloc by backing Solidarity in Poland, and in Czechoslovakia, for example, and are very active in the old Soviet Republics. Soros’ activities include “training future leaders” through the “Internet Access and Training Program” in Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Soros’ networks funded and organised the “colour revolutions” in Georgia and the Ukraine. (See George Soros’ World Revolution: How the currency speculator funds New Left revolutions, Renaissance Press, NZ). Soros was a major backer of Obama for the US presidency, along with numerous other luminaries. Soros is investing heavily in China, along with the other US global coporations; for example: Grand China Air, Chinese car manufacturing. During an interview with the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Soros stated that, . "I'm not looking for a worldwide recession. I'm looking for a significant shift of power and influence away from the US in particular and a shift in favour of the developing world, particularly China." (http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/previousdetail.php?id=125401, Bankock Post, Jan. 23 2008.
33 Wines M., “Chinese Creating a New Vigor in Russian Far East,” NY Times, September 23, 2001.
34 Wines, ibid.
35 Russian Maritime Province.
36 Primorsky Krai, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primorsky_Krai
37 Boron http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boron
38 Natural resources of Primorsky Krai, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_resources_of_Primorsky_Krai
39 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peoples Republic of China, I. Sino-Mongolian Relations in Brief, http://chinese-embassy.org.za/eng/wjb/zzjg/yzs/gjlb/2742/default.htm
40 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peoples Republic of China, II Political Relations, http://chinese-embassy.org.za/eng/wjb/zzjg/yzs/gjlb/2742/default.htm
41 Elleman B., op.cit.
42 MPR = Mongolian Peoples Republic.
43 Elleman, op.cit.
44 Elleman, ibid.
45 Bolton K. R., The Menace of China in the Pacific, Renaissance Press, 2004.
46 Yermukanov, Marat, “China obstructs River Management Talks with Kazakhstan,” February 17, 2006
Source: Eurasia Daily Monitor, Jamestown Foundation, http://jamestown.org/edm/article.php?article_id=2370793.
The Jamestown Foundation is a US-based think tank specialising in the analysis of the affairs of the republics of the former USSR, and is staffed by academic specialists. Eurasia Daily Monitor is the Foundation’s publication. Marat Yermukanov is a journalist working for the Russian-language private newspaper Panorama Nedely in Petropavlovsk, North Kazakhstan.
47 MacArthur, Gen. Douglas, “Farewell Address to Congress,” April 19, 1951.
48 The Dominion, May 29 1982.
49 Evening Post, May 3, 1983.
50 Chang and Halliday, op.cit. ch. “Saved by Washington”, 304-311.
51 Chang & Halliday, ibid. 601.
52 Joint Chiefs of Staff telegram to General Douglas MacArthur, December 1950. www.cresswellslist.com/ballots2/hst_maca.htm
53 General MacArthur to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, December 1950.
54 Asia Society Gala 50th anniversary dinner speeches, http://www.asiasociety.org/support/specialevents/anniversary_dinner/galaspeeches.html
55 Other Rockefeller think tanks followed, the most important being the Trilateral Commission, which staffed the Carter Administration, from Carter down. The Trilateral Commission was founded specifically for the purpose of drawing the economies of America, Europe and Asia together. Trilateralists were also to play a key role in fostering relations with China. David Rockefeller, speaking at the Asia Society gala, alludes to his role in developing Sino-American relations, in association with the Trilateral Commission: “Ever since, for example, I had the good fortune to meet in 1973 with Prime Minister Zhou En-lai and subsequently with Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin in connection with the Trilateral Commission.”
56 Asia Society Gala 50th anniversary dinner speeches, op.cit.
57 Chang & Halliday, ibid. 602.
58 However, a united Vietnam within the Soviet orbit was not in China’s interests.
59 Chang & Halliday, ibid. 604-605.
60 Ibid., 612.
61 Ibid., 613.
62 Bolton, K R, The Menace of China in the Pacific, Renaissance Press, Wellington, New Zealand 2004, 18-19.
63 Rockefeller D., “From a China Traveller,” NY Times, Aug. 10, 1973.
64 Antony Sutton, Trilaterals Over Washington, Arizona, 1978. Sutton was a research Fellow with the Hoover Inst.
65 Niall Ferguson, Colossus: The Rise & Fall of the American Empire, Penguin, Britain, 2004. Ferguson is Herzog Professor of Financial History at the Stern School of Business, NY University, Snr. Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford, and Snr Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford.
66 Dated June 23, 2006.
68 Russo made his revelations on the Alex Jones (radio) Show in 2006, stating he was first approached by Nicholas Rockefeller in 1999 because of his impact at the political level. Russo, winner of Emmy Tony and Grammy Awards, was also a political activist, a “constitutionalist” and “libertarian”; he died in 2007. jonesreport.com/article/05_09/29russo.html
70 Higham C., Trading with the enemy: how the allied multinationals supplied Nazi Germany throughout World War II, Robert Hale, London, 1983.
71 For one of the few explanations on how Nazi Germany’s banking and state credit system operated, see Bertram De Colonna, European correspondent for NZ businessman, baking reformer and philanthropist Henry Kelliher’s Mirror magazine, “The Truth about Germany,” The Mirror, Auckland, NZ, April, 1938. This is quoted at length in Bolton, K R., The Banking Swindle, Spectrum Press, NZ, 2000. The policy was basically similar to that of the 1935 First NZ Labour Govt., which used 1% Reserve Bank state credit to fund its famous State Housing programme.
72 RIA Novosti, Moscow, “Russia says U.S. missile shield will harm European security”, July 15, 2008. http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080715/114016639.html For a Russian response threatening to deploy nuclear bombers in Cuba and Venezuela,see Appendix II attached.
73 The Western folk soul is “faustian”, looking starward, into infinity. The Russian soul looks towards the horizon; its expansive outlook is land-bound. See Spengler, Oswald, The Decline of the West, Allen & Unwin, London, 1971, Vol. II 192-196; 295, n.1.
74 However, the Chinese ideological offensive among the colonial peoples and even among Communist parties throughout the world made little headway. See Jung & Halliday, op.cit.
75 Japan was funded in its war against Russia by the prominent US banker Jacob Schiff, senior partner of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., while the First National Bank and National City Bank sponsored Japanese war loans in the USA. Schiff was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun in Japan by Emperor Meiji for his efforts.
76 Scholl-Latour, Dr P., Death in the rice fields : an eyewitness account of Vietnam's three wars, 1945-1979, St. Martins Press, NY, 1985. Scholl-Latour is a Franco-German academic and journalist who spent many years in Africa and Indo-China.
77 C. Northcote Parkinson, the British historian, philosopher and novelist of Parkinson’s Law Fame.
78 Parkinson, C. N., East & West, John Murray, London, 1963, 264.
79 Lawton, Lancelot, Empires of the Far East, (1912), vol. 2, 810. Quoted by Parkinson, ibid., 264.
80 Parkinson, op.cit. 265.
81 Parkinson, ibid. 267. Where Parkinson errs, however, is in the common insistence that the USA is the ‘leader of the West’ and will lead the West in coming to the assistance of Russia against Chinese aggression. New facts, as shown herein, show the reverse.