East Asia Correspondent – David McDonald
How Xi Jinping Sees The World…And Why
By Jeffrey A. Bader
Despite its history of weakness, China is an emerging world power, largely due to the changing nature of its leadership and the historical forces that affected the country. Due to a number of factors, China is not only emerging as a world power, but also as a military power:
- China’s revolutionary period was one of anti-west insurgencies and isolationism. During China’s revolutionary era, China stayed isolated from global affairs, with the exception of several anti-west insurgencies it funded in Southeast Asia. In many of these insurgencies, China hoped to replace pro-western, “imperialist” governments with socialist ones. In order to protect itself from what it saw as a neo-imperialist west, Mao’s China adhered to isolationist tendencies
- Under Xi Jinping, China’s military continues modernization. In the previous two decades, China’s military spending increased, leading to modernization. Under Xi Jinping, the military continues to develop its nuclear capacity and grow its regional influence in the South and East China Seas. In this same period, China grew its Coast Guard fleet to a massive size.
- China’s military modernization means the abandonment of its isolationism. Despite its originally anti-western and, therefore, isolationist beliefs, China’s military modernization makes it a global player. Globally, China is the U.N.’s largest troop contributor for peacekeeping operations. China also cooperates with the U.S. and other countries in counter-terrorism and anti-piracy operations.
- Under Xi Jinping, China’s navy is expanding its sphere of influence. Other nations heavily criticize China’s military growth because of its expansion into the East and South China Seas. Many of China’s neighbors feel threatened by the move.