China on the move
Western interest in China began in the 1620s and this country that was content within it's own borders and economy had no interest in the rest of the world. There were of course Chinese sailors who ventured far from home but these travels were very limited and the most significant Chinese-Western relations occurred as the British East India company imposed itself on China causing the opium Wars and a consequent subjugation of China which some say it has not been forgiven.
In recent times we have seen China emerge as a economic and military superpower able to take on Europe and America. They have their own space program and since the year 2000, they have invested heavily creating weapons of war and an army of who knows how many millions of troops well skilled in kung fu and backed by massive technology.
Over the past 20 years as China exploited the world's resources and turned them into cheap consumables that soon end up in the trash heaps of the western cities, it has financed its own core infrastructure and a new generation of Chinese citizens set with a mind to compete on western terms has evolved.
This is far from a healthy scenario and a threat to our planet. In addition to the unbelievable delicacies such as rhino horn, elephant tusk, shark fin, seahorses and basically anything that may be edible, the Chinese are the biggest consumers of raw material such as iron ore, bauxite, coal, oil and other diminishing resources. In fact many fish and animal species have become extinct through overconsumption and environmental degradation, but that is not especially the fault of the Chinese, there are many others who due to economic deprivation in their own countries cooperate with Chinese exploitation.
Like the colonial powers of yesteryear, China has become the latest coloniser building infrastructure in various countries throughout the world in order to extract the resources from those countries. The Chinese imperialism began to grow wings when it annexed Tibet. Then in a war with India in 1962, it annexed part of Kashmir and then the Pakistanis helped themselves to a portion in 1947.
The Silk Road has always been an important series of trade routes between China and Europe, and with China's annexation of Tibet and other regions in what are now the west of China, it has improved these routes and is planning major improvements for its own economic and strategic advantages.
Today the big news is the Chinese takeover of the Philippine Sea and parts of the South China Sea that have traditionally been the territorial waters of the Philippines, Vietnam and other countries. They have poured vast amounts of money and committed environmental sacrilege by converting tiny coral atolls into military bases to police the region. In countries like the Philippines, the territorial waters have now shrunk from the traditional 200 km that most countries joy to as little as 12 km in some places as the Chinese extend their 200 km zone from their man-made islands.
Yet other Chinese expansionism goes largely unnoticed as they have obtained huge resources in Africa through a mix of fair trade and underhand methods to get what they want. Given their military expansion in the South China Sea, the construction of a huge port in Sri Lanka and now the construction of a new Port in Gwadar, Baluchistan, a territory currently occupied by Pakistan, and a road and rail link planned from Gwadar to Beijing.
It is rumoured that part of the deal for putting the road down through Pakistan requires that the Pakistani government provides a 60 km wide zone where there is no habitation along the road and rail routes giving the Chinese a level of security and freedom to create defensive or offensive positions.
After the Nepal earthquakes, China continues to be very helpful and it has for long time been supporting the Maoist rebels seeking to assume control of Nepal. Of course India is in the firing line and given that India is Pakistan's imaginary enemy, Pakistan is likely to support Chinese aggression toward India even though Pakistan itself is likely to become a vassal state of China.
Of course this would also mean that India would be most likely to lose any chance of recovering Pakistani occupied Kashmir of which Pakistan has already given a portion to China, and the Chinese military who outmatch India are likely to have little problem overpowering the Indian defences unless the India turned to its nuclear weapons.
No matter how well educated in world politics one is, there are a great many ifs and buts. Should China get too big for its boots and some voices in China are already saying that all the islands in the North Pacific are Chinese by right including Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hawaii and the tens of thousands of small islands across the region.
In terms of its Western front, quite conceivable that China plans on absorbing all the territories as far as the Caspian Sea. No one knows how much Russia would stand on their way but now that China has emerged as a superpower on par with the USA and the need to feed its burgeoning population, these points are worth consideration even though there's nothing anyone can do about it.
"Seldom a day passes when China is not elevated to the status of a "threat". According to Admiral Harry Harris, the US Pacific commander, China is "building a great wall of sand in the South China Sea".
What he is referring to is China building airstrips in the Spratly Islands, which are the subject of a dispute with the Philippines - a dispute without priority until Washington pressured and bribed the government in Manila and the Pentagon launched a propaganda campaign called "freedom of navigation".
What does this really mean? It means freedom for American warships to patrol and dominate the coastal waters of China. Try to imagine the American reaction if Chinese warships did the same off the coast of California.
The United States is encircling China (and Russia) with a network of bases, with ballistic missiles, battle groups, nuclear -armed bombers." John Pilger
Relations between India and the USA have taken recent turn for the better but China owns a large portion of the US national debt and has the power to wreck its economy. So while the US military makes provocative drive-bys of the new military bases in the South China Sea which are about as effective as some Palestinian kids throwing rocks at the Israeli wall.
At present the token Indian voice for Baluchistan is a good one because India needs a land connection to Iran which is an important trading partner. The route through Kashmir to Afghanistan due to its mountainous nature is impractical for serious trade although if was significant trade between Russia-Kazakhstan and India, this would be a good route. The present there is a planned route from Moscow to the ports of the Persian Gulf in Iran but the goods would need to be transferred to ship to reach India.
It would not be surprising if there were groups in China who have not forgiven the past and seek to punish those who once published China, but the ethos driving Chinese expansionism is based on ignorance and insecurity, the condition brought on by its past mistreatment by Western powers.
There may be some who still remember that the British, Indians, Americans and Russians once helped save China from Japan but in the modern age this probably counts for little. But of what is predicted to comes true, India would lose its Himalayan states.
So initially in the name of trade, economic and social support, China is spreading its tentacles stop it has close and ties with Laos and building a rail line down through the country so that it can tap into the regional resources. So in another 50 years time China could become the world's largest country with a population of more than 2 billion with the economic and monetary clout to dominate all life on earth.
The real question is, will there be any life left on earth?
Wiki on China's Economic Corridor
Wiki on the North South trade route
Would China declare war on India if India attacked Pakistan, even in self defence?
China orders citizens to prepare for people's war at sea