South Asia and Beyond

Xi Jinping Is The Problem, May Double Down If Perceived To Be Soft On India: China Expert Bonnie Glaser

NEW DELHI: “What is it going to take to get China to re-calibrate, to rethink its approach?”, Bonnie S. Glaser, Senior Asia Advisor, Centre for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, D.C. looks at options in a conversation with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi. While pointing out that one aspect of American “urgency” to act against China is the “worry that Trump may not be re-elected” and “to prevent any reversal” in future policy, she says the U.S. can step up “imposing sanctions for illegal behaviour” in the South China Sea and “send more law enforcement ships to deter China”. The Director, China Power Project, CSIS also foresees a “regular calling out, naming and shaming of Chinese illegal behaviour”. On confrontation turning into conflict, Ms Glaser warns, “the United States and China do not have enough channels of communication and certainly very little goodwill, so the ability to de-escalate and resolve crises is far worse than it was in 2001″(when there was an air collision between a Chinese fighter jet flying into a U.S. reconnaissance plane). While there hasn’t been “any muting of wolf warrior diplomacy, Ms Glaser says Beijing doesn’t see “any benefit in a hot war.” Having worked for more than three decades at the intersection of Asia-Pacific geopolitics and U.S. policy, she sees “some momentum in a pushback against China’s behaviour” but is “reluctant to call it a trend.” As an example, Ms Glaser notes, after this week’s Australia-U.S. ministerial meet, “Canberra hasn’t caved in to the economic coercive actions that the Chinese have taken” but “there are going to be times when Australia may not be as forceful in its response.”

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“Xi Jinping is the problem,” Ms Glaser warns. “If he perceives that he is being seen as soft on issues like the South China Sea, the border with India or Taiwan—on any of these sovereignty issues, he may feel compelled to double down.” Heightened suspicions post the deadly Galwan clashes, she adds, are seeing “a growing number of issues where India’s interests are in alignment with the United States”. The ex-consultant in the U.S. Departments of Defence and State concludes with the hope that “there will be other steps taken by countries to try and compel China to pull back and to reconsider the costs of what it’s doing.”

Amitabh P. Revi

Russian language speaker and conflict journalist. Amitabh Revi has been there, done that—from the battlefields of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to sublime Russia, Australia and the United States. Along the way he's picked up the Dag Hammarskjöld Distinguished Journalist Fellowship, the Ramnath Goenka award for coverage of the Iraq War and RT's Khaled Alkhateb Award for his reporting from Palmyra, Syria.