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Rising Chinese mistrust of US ‘hand’ in South Asia

world Updated: Sep 09, 2010 14:35 IST
Reshma Patil
Reshma Patil
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Chinese analysts and military leaders are getting bolder in criticising what Beijing perceives as rising American ‘interference’ in China’s ties with India, Pakistan and South Asia.

The Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People's Daily, ended its editorial silence on the latest tension with India over China’s Kashmir policy on Tuesday, with its first piece on the dispute blaming the ‘US disguised hand behind China-Pakistan relations’. Accusing the US of interference could also be a way to deflect the blame from Beijing for
needling India over Kashmir.

The writer accused the US of ‘twisting facts of China’s aid to Pakistan’ and trying to ‘fan up a donation race’ between India and China in their aid to flood-hit Pakistan. Opinion pieces in the newspaper are published after approval from Communist Party officials.

The columnist claimed the US was ‘colluding’ with India to ensure its comeback to the region. “For this, it has to collude with India, whose nerves would always be frayed even at the rustle of leaves from China, and whose resentment of China is still simmering,’’ wrote the columnist. “The media hype about “Kashmir issue” coincides with circumstances in which the US after its Iraq pullout, is anxious to recalibrate its strategic focus to Asia.”

China has always eyed the US influence in South Asia with suspicion, but criticism from its influential think-tanks got louder this year with Beijing's rising global clout.

“The US complains that China is not transparent. We think that the US is not transparent at all in South Asia!” Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies told the Hindustan Times . “We only hope that the US involvement will bring more peace than turmoil in the world...we are not quite sure.”

Earlier this year, China’s military strategist and Air Force colonel Dai Xu wrote that Washington’s anti-missile systems encircled China in a crescent-shaped ring. “The ring begins in Japan, stretches through nations in the South China Sea to India, and ends in Afghanistan.”

In August, Chinese major-general Luo Yuan accused the US of ‘gunboat diplomacy’ and 'bullying the weak'. Writing in the official media, Luo said that the Americans showed up wherever problems took place. “Things become worse with the involvement of the US,’’ he said.

Beijing's wariness of Indo-US ties is expected to keep growing. The Chinese foreign ministry says 'ulterior motives' to spoil its ties with India and Pakistan sparked the reports of Chinese soldiers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. On Tuesday, the ministry's spokesperson reminded the world that China is an ‘important member of Asia’.

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