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China Factor

The successful conclusion of the Belt and Road Forum (BARF) in Beijing, which India chose to stay away from, has led to a chorus of voices warning that in doing so, India has isolated itself both regionally and globally.

 

Arun Prakash has analysed the strategic implications of China’s ingress in India’s neighbourhood (‘A strategic encirclement’, IE, April 25), suggesting the possibility of China inflicting a “Pearl Harbour” in the Andamans.

 

Big catchwords are being thrown around with wild abandon, with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seen walking hand-in-hand with Chinese President Xi Jinping in too many carefully orchestrated photo-ops.

 

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and initiation of Chinese economic reforms in 1979, two approaches have characterised western, particularly the US’, strategy towards Russia and China.

 

The core parts of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system have been moved to the site of what had been a golf course in southern South Korea.

 

US President Donald Trump met with 15 UN Security Council ambassadors at the White House on Monday, delivering his concerns about the status quo in North Korea. He urged the Security Council to be ready to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with his US counterpart Donald Trump on the growing tensions in the Korean Peninsula Monday morning, Beijing time, amid speculation that North Korea could soon carry out a sixth nuclear test.

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with his US counterpart Donald Trump on the growing tensions in the Korean Peninsula Monday morning, Beijing time, amid speculation that North Korea could soon carry out a sixth nuclear test.

 
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With tensions in the Korean peninsula continuing to escalate, Beijing took the rather extreme step on Friday of warning that something needs to be done to wind down the U.S.-North Korea confrontation, saying the “the storm is about to break”. The heightened rhetoric of recent days follows Washington’s display of naval power with the despatch of a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group to the waters off the Korean coast. Though U.S. officials described the move as merely cautionary, President Donald Trump, who has made North Korea a key foreign policy concern of his administration, used the word “armada” somewhat ominously. For their part, the North Koreans have threatened nuclear retaliation in the event of any attack. In late March, the U.S. had commenced installation of the so-called Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea in response to missile tests by the North. The agreement, in the works since last year, has already increased regional tensions, entangling China as well. Washington and Seoul have emphasised that intercepting the North’s advanced development of inter-continental ballistic missiles was the real objective behind the new system. But apprehensive that its own nuclear infrastructure would be inevitably exposed to snooping by the THAAD radar, Beijing has sought to counter Seoul with trade and tourism boycotts.
 
Amid escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, North Korea has warned of a nuclear attack on the US at any sign of American aggression. This comes on the heels of Washington’s recent decision to send a naval carrier strike group to the region and US strikes against a Syrian airbase for purported use of chemical weapons. It appears that Washington wants to keep all its options open to get Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear programme. That the US has already begun deploying the THAAD anti-missile defence system in South Korea shows that Washington is preparing for all possible contingencies.
 


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The successful conclusion of the Belt and Road Forum (BARF) in Beijing, which India chose to stay away from, has led to a chorus of voices warning that in doing so, India has isolated itself both regionally and globally.
 
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