PICX908 - What security Challenges China Poses, What Options Australia has to meet its National Security Challenges - Research Essay Assessment Answers

August 25, 2017
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  1. What security challenges China poses, what is response of the regional countries, what options Australia has to meet its national security challenges? Support your discussion with examples and case studies.

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What security challenges China poses, what is response of the regional countries, what options Australia has to meet its national security challenges? Support your discussion with examples and case studies.

Introduction

In the past decade, China military build-up and modernization have increased at a rapid pace. It is recognized that since 1978, China focused on it military and civilian build up, by constantly increasing its investments in those areas. As a result, the Chinese military, The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) took a back stance on Asia and Pacific issues during that period, particularly, from the 1970s to 1990s. Thus, as conventional wisdom would have it, the build-up of Chinese military would pose significant challenges in the region, especially, with its non-diplomatic stance that it continues to adopt. Although, one may consider that such a military build-up, is as a result of the natural consequence of the rapid economic growth over the period, such truism is considered irrelevant by various military strategists. Arguably, in that period, even in the period of economic challenges, The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been developing and growing in an opaque manner. In this regard, it is essential to decipher the country’s intentions to grow and develop appropriate, particularly, in defence. However, even though the effects of the military build-up have not been clear, it started being clear since 2010, when the Chinese military began taking a clear stance on issues in the region. The stance taken by China has posed significant threats to countries in the region, including Australia. In this regard, the following article exploits the challenges posed by the rise of the Chinese military, the response of regional countries, and the options that are available to Australia to meet its military challenges.

Regional zeitgeists, such as Carr and Dean (2013) believes that China can be persuaded to become a ‘responsible shareholder’ in global issues, particularly, those in the Asian region. The regional zeitgeists believe that adopting a different strategy would encourage ‘hard-liners’ within the system to continue to pursue the unipolar stance as it has been witnessed in the East and South China Sea. Arguably, this is somewhat true, as Carr et al. (2016) noted, particularly, in regards to the recent China’s support of sanctions against North Korea. In response, to the North Korea nuclear tests in January 2016, followed by a long-range missile tests in March of the same year, China started to support United Nations resolutions on North Korea. China started to implement the United Nations resolutions regarding North Korea and required that all companies operating in North Korea comply with the UN resolutions. Although this seems to be a step in the right direction of reducing the rise of military threats in the region, it is still to be seen whether China would implement the United Nations resolutions. It must be noted that China remains the only country in the world that is willing to trade with North Korea, and thus, the success of a sanctions or resolution depend on o the willingness and ability of China to implement. North Korea and South Korea are still at a state of war decades since the end of the Korean War, and the situation does not seem to get any better. The rise of the Chinese military over the decade has only escalated the situation further, as it has facilitated the rise of the military capabilities of North Korea. The growth and expansion of the Chinese military have made it increasingly difficult for the country to adhere to the global principles regarding peace and stability of the region. Also, this is witnessed in the adoption of sanctions against North Korea in March 2016, and China agreed to implement sanctions of any material, such as, coal, iron ore, and gold from the government of North Korea; however, it permits to trade, as long as, it benefits the people directly. It is widely believed that the North Korean and the Chinese government would exploit this loophole to provide the necessary minerals and finances that the government needs to develop its military capabilities. China accounts for 70% of North Korea’s trade, and it has become a necessity for the country’s strategy to avoid a humanitarian crisis, which may spill over to its borders. It remains North Korea key, and probably only ally in the world, and its rise of military strength has resulted in the increase of militarization in the peninsula region (Iain, 2016). As a result, South Korea is increasingly looking towards its partners, such as the United States for support regarding the increasingly rise of North Korea’s power in the region. As a result, there has been an increasing escalation of the ‘calls for war’ in the region. Furthermore, the continued partnerships between South Korea and the United States, especially, in regards to military drills have continued to increase; rather than, reduce the propensity of war in the region. The drills have long been criticized by the China, an. As a result, China and its long-standing ally, North Korea has increase investments in their militaries. Although the drills work in Australia’s interests, it places the country in a precarious position, as it constantly faces a heightened climate of the region, which hampers peace (Dunk, 2016).

Furthermore, the rise of the military power of China has continued to hamper regional peace, particularly, in regards to, Taiwan independence. It is conventional wisdom to recognize the rise in investment in Chinese military is designed to dissuade Taiwan from seeking independence. Although, Taipei independence is supported and recognized by the United States, and its allies, including Australia and Japan, the rapid rise of China is viewed as a barrier to Taiwan’s independence. Of concern, it the Chinese statement that necessary force would be applied to keep Taipei under its jurisdiction, and thus, the military rise of The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is considered as a result of the threat of Taiwan’s independence. Although, the Taiwan and China stopped hurling shells at each other in the 1970s, the progress towards the formal recognition of Taipei’s government has been slow. The Taiwan’s relations act, which offers the country direct military support, in a case of an invasion from China, or any other country has continued to result in the increase of militarization of China. The recognition of a possibility of war, particularly, in regards to China and United States has resulted in the rise of military investments. The Taiwan’s independence has continued to increase the regional militarization, as a result, counter any peaceful measures that can be adopted. It is conventional wisdom that the Chinese military would deploy its military beyond the Taiwan’s traits, and thus, the tensions remain high.

The anxieties posed by the militarization of the Chinese military are highly prevalent, particularly, in the East and South China Sea. The issues of the East and the South China Sea have continued to highlight how China would wield its military influence if permitted to do so. Since the start of 2010, the disputation of the East China Sea’s Japanese governed Senkaku Islands has been more frequent, provocative, and intense. In 2015, the Chinese military power was occasioned by its unilateral announcement of the Aid Defence Identification Zone that covers the disputed islands of the East and the South China Sea, and this has heightened the view that China intends to apply a greater clout in the region. The Chinese activities in the South China Sea are of greater concern to Australia, which entails the building of extensive artificial islands in the disputed area. The island would hold significant military assets and weaponry in the disputed islands, as a result, of the recent militarization of the woody islands by the installation of the missile batteries. Increasingly, China has claimed vast areas of the South China Sea, which can only be justified by the notion that it lies beyond the premise of international law. All of which, has been occasioned by the economic and military intimidation of the numerous South China Sea Countries, and this, has perennially frustrated the end of the binding Code of Conduct with the Relation of the Southeast Asian countries. Thus, the diplomatic gains that have been made by the Chinese military over that period have been largely lost. Although the fears linked to the militarization of the Chinese military have been lauded as unnecessary alarmism, these sentiments are increasingly being viewed as a reality. In this regard, if China is to gain a de facto military control over the areas of the South and East China Sea, it would occasion a strategic and fundamental redrawing of the regional strategic map, and thus, countries in the region, including Australia would have to establish new set of strategy for the region. Such a move would undermine the American and Allied strategic capabilities to support the present liberal order in the region. For instance, a rule based system, which is currently, is existent that is occasioned by an open and free access to the sea line, particularly, in regards to trade, movement, and communication has been continuously hampered by the continued by the building of islands in the South China Sea. The obligation of the countries in the region, such as, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan, in addition to, other great powers to uphold the regulations in regards to the narrower strategic, national, political, and economic interests, or the dependence of the international law has been greatly affected by the China’s military influence in the South China Sea.  

China has grown to become the most powerful military in the region. Its growth has resulted in the reduction of the significant influence that the United States, and to some extent, Japan, poses to this region. Its rise has resulted in the demise of regional unipolarity. The rise of China has resulted in various countries investing in military equipment to enhance their level of security and protection in the region. However, China is the major mover in this area, and its investments, particularly in military have escalated to make the country the second-largest defence spender in the world. It is second only to the United States, which has spending about three time that of China. However, china’s spending is significantly larger that even Japan and this has resulted in the increase in military spending across the region. China increase spending in the military budget has resulted in the rise of spending across the Asia Pacific region. Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are incurring more money to modernize their military spending. Reports indicates that the military spending across the Asia Pacific region would increase from $435 billion in 2015 to $533 billion by 2020, and thus, accounting for about a third of the global military spending in the next four years. Thus, there is an emergence of a possible arms race in the region. The South China Sea is considered key water, through which $5 trillion of the world’s maritime trade passes through per annum. The polarization of that region has occasioned countries, such as, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan to increase their spending on military arsenal to escalate the tensions in the region further, and thus, there is no sign of this trend reducing (Pant, 2012). Indeed, this strong indication shows that there’s danger of the development of a full-scale regional arms race. The 2015 defence statistics indicate the of the 10 countries whose have the fastest defence spending in the world, four countries are bordering the South China Sea, and this are: Vietnam, China, Philippines, and Indonesia.  The concerns about the emergence of an arms race in the region cannot be highlighted further. The rise in military spending by China and its subsequent intrusions in the territorial waters has resulted in the increase in the military spending by all countries in the region. The countries in the region are increasing their spending in the military arsenal to attempt to increase its defence spending to neutralize the advantage of other countries in the region. The rise of spending has caused a spiral of a rise in insecurity in the region, with countries, such as, asserting its authority in the region (Park, 2013). Although, Japan is not part of the South China Sea, Tokyo perceives this as extremely important to national security, because a significant proportion of its trade passes through the sea, which includes its vital energy resources from the Middle East. Thus, as a result of the significance of the Japan attributes to the South China Sea, it has sought support efforts to resist the Chinese hegemony in the region (Park, 2011). Japan is increasingly easing its longstanding restrictions on arms sale, and taking considerable measures to reinterpret its constitution to allow the wide scale usage of military force across the region. Also, Japan is deploying about 500 troops to the disputed Diaoyu and Senkaku islands to protect against further Chinese interventions. Japan has also initiated talks with other countries in the region, such as, Indonesia and resolved to strengthen their security ties. The countries have also agreed on the supply of security equipment to bolster their level of security and preparedness (Lee, 2016).

China has grown to displace Japan as the main military power in the region. As a result, Australia can no longer afford its defence strategy to be a derivative of its allies in the world, such as, United States and Japan. In Australia’s strategic history, has a defence strategy, which relies heavily on the great power of its allies, as their interests are compatible with its strategic tactics, and this resulted in little or no significant investment in military (Wallis and Wesley, 2016). However, the growing tension in the region, and the security challenges posed by the rise of China, has resulted in strategic interests of those countries being different from that of Australia.  Whereas for all of Australia’s strategic history, its great power allies’ grand strategies were mostly compatible with Australia’s own strategic interests, leaving a small number of cases in which Australian policy had to compensate in areas where its interests diverged from its allies’, the three trends occurring at present are likely to tip this balance, to a position where Australia may well find its strategic interests increasingly differ from that of its ally on more and more occasions. Thus, as a result, Australia can no longer afford for its strategy to be derivative of its great power ally’s grand strategy, it must chart its way forward and play a active role in both local and regional defence, with the objective of advancing peace and protecting its borders. Australia must take considerable measures to increase its investments in the military by acquiring both the naval, ground, and air artillery, and partner with like-minded countries. The Australia Defence Force (ADF) should entrench the US-Australia alliance to play a central role in advancing the countries strategic interests at the regional and international level. The partner with US would result in the redesign of the Indo-Pacific military operations to make more responsive and influential. Also, primary to the redesign of the Indo-Pacific military alliance is the development of an alliance between Australia and Japan. The cooperation with Japan is strategically relevant and practical to Australia’s strategic development. The partnership with Japan is particularly essential in the design and development of submarines to replace the aging Collin’s class submarines. Thus, it is essential to hasten the relationship between Japan and Australia. Of more importance, it the development of the bilateral and trilateral military cooperation’s in the region, especially, with Japan, United States, and Australia. In spite of the outcome of the design and developments of the naval ship, the trilateral relationships are essential in the Indo-Pacific region. The trilateral relationship would help to advance Australia’s interests in the region, particularly, in regards to trade within the region, and the protection of the country’s strategic interests with partnering states. The trilateral agreements would offer Australia an access to military warfare, and a chance to develop its military through mutual training and drills, which would enhance the preparedness for war. The agreements offer Australia potential benefits of countering the growing militarization of China and the wider region, and also, cooperation in the protection of the economy and other key strategic interests. The agreements would extend the present Australia joint agreements with New Zealand, and offer an opportunity to entrench the country’s influence in the region. Australia should seek to enhance its strategic military arsenal by acquiring the situational awareness and space surveillance capabilities, which can be enhanced through a Joint alliance between the United States and Australia. Particularly, Australia should seek to have the relocation of the US optical space surveillance telescope to Australia. Furthermore, the alliance offers Australia an opportunity to acquire ground –based and space-based reconnaissance, intelligence, and surveillance systems. The alliance enhances the country’s role in regional geopolitics and also, ensures that its interests are considered.

Conclusion

China has increasingly developed to become of the largest military spenders in the globe. As a result, the country has taken considerable measures to raise the propensity for war in the region by escalating conflicts. China, through its various territorial disputes at both the East and South China Sea, support of North Korea, and the inhibition of Taipei’s independence has resulted in the rise of tensions in the region. The role of China in the region has continued to hamper security and threaten peace in the region, especially, in regards to the South China Sea. In this regards, Countries in the region have increased their spending in military in attempts to modernise their military. Military spending in the region is projected to increase from $435 billion in 2015 to $533 billion by 2020, which would account for a third of the global defence spending. Additionally, countries in the region are increasing the level of strategic alliances to protect its territories. Japan is reviewing its constitution to facilitate arms sale to countries in the region, and also, partnering with other nations to enhance protection. Australia should seek and trilateral agreement with United States and Japan to boast its ground, naval, and air arsenal, and also, enhance its interest at the regional and international level.

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