Besides the usual controversies regarding the revaluation of yuan, additional disputes could lead to friction between the United States and China. These points of tension go further than the purely economic facet the media conveys.
For one, China’s military growth is conquering the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with the primary focus of protecting commercial sea-trade. Primary resources, like energy, are the most monitored, as they are a dire necessity for China’s development today. Though China’s fleet expansion is significant for its economy, it also overlaps — and potentially overtakes — formerly dominated American military zones.
Although Beijing is increasing its military budget, including its marine costs, it still spends significantly less than Washington (though no exact figures are shown for China). The difference in funding, however, is still threatening to the United States, in that this is the first time that China has passed such protective policies on its coasts and its national interests.
Chinese ships are moving their boundaries offshore. Anti-piracy laws are being introduced specifically to trade destined to the Horn of Africa, while war ships are docking in the Arab peninsula. At the same time, the number of military submarines and planes is on the rise as well.
The White House is still keeping a passive attitude towards China’s navy, though experts predict tension with the United States might increase since China’s previous lack of military technology is progressing rapidly. Oriental Asia Fleet’s Vice-Commander, Admiral Zhang Huachen, offers an effective synthesis of this phenomenon, “With these changes we are shifting our protection policies from just our coasts to the entire sea”.
The main strategy at use is based on operative systems, with the function of stretching an imaginary line connecting southern Asia. Marine cargo follows routes that begin in the Arab Gulf, Karachi, and extend all the way to India’s geographic triangle. Similarly, countries interested in collaborating with China are building ports to facilitate trade: Sri Lanka, Burma Thailand, Malaysia, and the Malacca Strait being prime examples. The route then continues eastwards and through Singapore’s oil refineries, stirring the fleets northbound again.
China’s increase in the establishment of infrastructures, and high supply rates is alarming the Unites States, Japan and India. But for Beijing, these changes are necessary. Despite its role as a manufacturing nation, as well its lack of natural resources, China is expanding internationally to compensate its natural resources weaknesses.
China’s ideological identity is fading in regards to political affiliations. More space is thus left for economic growth, giving way for a different kind of social consensus. New contradictions are nevertheless emerging, since China is again changing its controversial metamorphoses. Internal instability could culminate through a lack of supply which has to be guaranteed. On the other hand, China’s focus on securing a successful trade route could generate even graver tensions in fields that extend beyond simple economics.