Sunday, September 14, 2014

China’s ‘creeping invasion’ on the global order

Jackson Diehl Deputy editorial page editor September 14 at 7:59 PM WashPost

A few months ago it looked like East Asia might be the place where the crumbling global order of the past quarter-century, centered on U.S. power and values, would face a decisive crisis. Chinese boats, planes and oil rigs were pressing into territories claimed by Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines; there was anti-Japanese fervor in the Chinese media and disturbing nationalist gestures from the most hawkish Japanese government in years.

Instead, it was Vladimir Putin who launched a frontal military assault to stop the spread of Western influence and institutions to Ukraine, and the Islamic State that forced President Obama to reverse the U.S. retreat from foreign military commitments. In Asia — to which Obama promised to shift U.S. attention and security resources — tensions are, somewhat surprisingly, inching downward.

Senior Japanese officials here say Chinese naval incursions around the disputed Senkaku islands, the most likely trigger point for a crisis, have dropped in recent months. A Chinese oil rig that had appeared in waters claimed by Vietnam was withdrawn. Nationalist propaganda has paused, envoys are quietly shuttling among capitals, and diplomats are thinking that Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may finally meet in November, breaking a long freeze in high-level contacts.

(More here.)

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