China and Sri Lanka> Ilangamuwa and Pilger

ONE. Nilantha Ilangamuwa:Sri Lanka: Chinaphobia — Solution or Delusion!” … Sri Lanka Guardian, 14 March 2017

Many analysts and other concerned parties in diplomacy and international relations have started vowel war against the Chinese influence in the island nation Sri Lanka in recent past. One of many laughable factors of this highly motivated drama is those who clapped and appreciated China during the previous government, led by the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who went home two years prior to the completion of his term due to attachment to power, turned into harsh critiques of Chinese diplomacy with the current government. 

Chinaphobiac statements by Indian, Japanese even some segments of the United States is a matter in conflict of interest, but how should Sri Lanka have to look at this? Sri Lanka as a debtor with huge amount of foreign debt, neither party is less important than the other, but the nation has the need to better articulated strategical approach to keep all of them in good relationships while protecting its own fundamental rights and market value of not only the ground but also the whole area of maritime. This will not be given priority in any agenda if the country’s economy is handled by a person who is smart in boasting nonsenses, but defaces in action based on acccountability and transparency.

There is however, no doubt that  the present ruling collation led by the President Maithripala Sirisena, is maintaining an “unclear policy” on China, but managing the situation without hurting each other, though Chinese envoy in Colombo is keeping a poker mood towards the government while in public domain. At the same time, some of the interested parties were in panic and tried to portrait the situation as alarming to the neighboring countries and other competitors.

However, the influence of Chinese policies is not new or limited to Sri Lanka. In fact, Chinese policies in restructuring many jurisdictions are moving faster than any other nation on the planet. Some called it “China debt trapped policy” while others may call it “Chinese colonization”, the diplomacy of the Chinese way of the ruling power has entered a new era, in which many corrupted policy makers in low-income countries are trying to find shelters under the Chinese umbrella. This has been earned nothing but addled reputation to Chinese policy. Mere investments and influencing the targeted countries by using most of corrupted subjects around the world may not last long and it will never win the heart and mind of the general public – which is made up of individuals with their own beliefs.

As far as the ground reality in Sri Lanka is concerned, it is delusional if someone urged Sri Lanka to sideline China. In fact, Chinese policies have been embedded into the local system over long period. To China, Sri Lanka is much more than a strategic island nation in the Indian Ocean to enhance its own power balance. Both parties “desire” lying with greater degree of responsibility.

Notwithstanding all this, China is facing two major challenges in its market economy. First is the authenticity of the local production as the rights of intellectual property has been evaporated.  Second, the most corrupted “policy makers” in many low income countries become trustworthy allies of China when it comes to investments. These major obstacles are producing bad taste in the system resulting in losing public trust.

But, China is taking “necessary steps” to sharpen its production and strengthen its reputation, though annulment of  labour rights and environmental issues such as air pollution, which Slavoj Žižek, a Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst termed as “airpocalypse”, are on high ground under the Communist Party rule. Those fundamental issues are creating the havoc. Those bottom lines are no longer isolated problems.

However, Chinaphobia is not the panacea to the very problems in the country, but it could give a chance to reengineer the diplomacy in bilateral and multilateral relationships. China is one on top of the list. Sri Lanka needs China, but how we need and what Sri Lanka can achieve in long term is the most important question.

You Decide!

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TWO> Debra Killale deploying John Pilger: The Coming War on China: John Pilger asks is Beijing really the enemy?”  April 2017, 

IT’S no secret that Beijing has been building up its military might in the South China Sea. But there’s another superpower making an even bigger play to stay top dog and many of us wouldn’t event realise. The United States has surrounded China with 400 military bases in an almost perfect “noose”.

In a new documentary set to air on Sunday night, The Coming war on China, award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger challenges the notion of the world’s newest, biggest trading nation as an enemy. He also reveals the build-up to war taking place right on Beijing’s doorstep. Filmed over two years in the Marshall Islands, Japan, Korea, China and the US, Pilger highlights America’s secret history in the region.

John Pilgers latest film challenges what we think about China and the US. Picture: SBS

John Pilgers latest film challenges what we think about China and the US. Picture: SBSSource:SBS  The eye-opening documentary reveals some surprising findings including that the people of the Marshall Islands were used as nuclear guinea pigs under the top secret “Project 4.1”. Pilger also travels to Japan and Korea where he speaks to and observes people resisting the US expansion. He visits the Japanese island of Okinawa where 32 US bases are located and speaks to those who are challenging the world’s biggest military power. On the Korean island of Jeju, a world heritage site, he witnesses farmers, villagers, priests and supporters who block gates to a base only to be removed every day. In an interview with ahead of the film going to air, Pilger said he wanted to “help people make sense of a critical subject that is seldom more than a series of sound-bites.”

“I say critical, because a strange and dangerous atmosphere currently separates the world’s greatest military power, the United States, and a country that will almost certainly become the world’s greatest economic power, China,” he said.

Pilger’s film reveals a build-up to war on China’s doorstep with US bases in Japan, Korea and hundreds of other places.

Pilger’s film reveals a build-up to war on China’s doorstep with US bases in Japan, Korea and hundreds of other places.Source:SBS “In the past few years, the provocations, threats, contradictions and confusion have caused the kind of mistrust that make war by misunderstanding or by mistake or accident a real possibility. And both the US and China are nuclear-armed.”

Pilger also raises questions over whether it’s Beijing we should really be worried about. “China is surrounded by 400 US military bases in what one strategist describes as a ‘noose’,” he said. “Many of these bases are on China’s doorstep, armed with missiles, naval battle groups, nuclear bombers, drones. US naval warships patrol just outside Chinese waters.”

While the US has almost 1000 foreign bases, China has just one which Pilger said was smaller and did not threaten California.

The Korean island of Jeju, a semi- tropical sanctuary and World Heritage Site has been declared “an island of world peace”.The Korean island of Jeju, a semi- tropical sanctuary and World Heritage Site has been declared “an island of world peace”.Source:SBS

Acknowledging Beijing was building provocative airstrips on disputed islets and reefs in the South China Sea, Pilger said the US not only surrounded the country, but was also establishing new bases aimed at China. He also makes the point that it was Barack Obama and not Donald Trump who turned a “regional dispute in the South China Sea into a major flashpoint between nuclear powers.”

“In 2011, Obama came to Canberra and announced the ‘pivot to Asia’ — an innocuous term for the greatest build-up of US naval and air forces in the Asia Pacific since World War Two, aimed at China,” he said. “Trump is cartoon-like and slightly unpredictable; otherwise his foreign policy, such as it is, is consistent with US designs for dominance since the Korean War in the 1950s.” Pilger thinks Australia has a lot to be concerned about.

The Okinawans are challenging and resisting the greatest military power in the world. Picture: SBSThe Okinawans are challenging and resisting the greatest military power in the world. Picture: SBSSource:SBS

“On one side is China, Australia’s biggest trader; on the other side is the US, Australia’s “longstanding ally”,” he said. “Longstanding ally means that Australia’s political, military, intelligence and security establishments are fully integrated into US war and strategic plans. We are a colony. We don’t have an independent voice. A vivid example of this was Labor’s defence spokesman, Richard Marles, calling last year for the Australian navy and air force to take warlike action in the South China Sea — in line with the wishes of the Pentagon. The Turnbull government has so far resisted going along with this. But the situation is precarious and very dangerous.

Pilger brings together rare archival footage and eyewitness accounts in the documentary which was filmed over two years.Pilger brings together rare archival footage and eyewitness accounts in the documentary which was filmed over two years. Source:SBS  
“If Australia provoked China militarily, it could mean war of some description; and Australia might even find itself on its own. If Australia was truly independent it would have no enemies. “This makes the Turnbull government’s acquisition of billions of dollars’ worth of armaments, submarines and fighter- bombers impossible to justify.”

Pilger, who returned to China for the first time in decades, said he was surprised at the transformation of impoverished, dark cities to modern, booming international centres as well as the optimism of the Chinese. However he said many people remained fearful of what the US would do to maintain its position as the world’s top dog. “One strategist said to me, ‘We don’t want to be your enemy [in the West]. But if we are constantly described as such, we have to prepare,’” he said.  “Accordingly, China has been rapidly increasing the size of its military; and specialist literature in the US says that China has upgraded its nuclear weapons posture from low alert to high alert.”

John Pilger’s The Coming War on China premieres on SBS on Sunday, 16 April at 8.30pm.

Continue the conversation @newscomHQ | @johnpilger

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ALSO SEE Essays by Padraig Colman = CHINA and SRI LANKA

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