China gewinnt weiter an Einfluss in Südostasien
Chinas zunehmende Größe wirft auch immer weitere Schatten, alles weist auf eine heranwachsende Supermacht hin, schreibt die Washington Post: With stronger economic ties between East Asian countries and China has come a rise in Beijing's political and diplomatic influence, according to a variety of sources in China and the region. Treading softly but casting a big shadow, they say, China has emerged as an active and decisive leader in East Asia, transforming economic and diplomatic relationships across an area long dominated by the United States. The shift in status, increasingly clear over the past year, has changed the way Chinese officials view their country's international role as well as the way other Asians look to Beijing for cues. In many ways, China has started to act like a traditional big power, tending to its regional interests and pulling smaller neighbors along in its wake. The new Chinese role has been evident recently in international efforts to deal with North Korea's declared nuclear arsenal. When Kim Jong Il's government declared Feb. 10 that it was suspending participation in Chinese-sponsored six-nation nuclear talks, the question that arose immediately in Asian capitals and beyond was: What will China do about it?Japan, whose economy surpasses China's by a large margin, in some ways has been the Asian country most uncomfortable with China's rising stature. The oil sources and sea lanes increasingly seen as vital by China and its traders have long been viewed the same way by Japan. In that light, Japan's government has tightened strategic cooperation with the United States, and in December, it issued a 10-year defense program that identified China as a potential threat. Chinese officials and foreign policy specialists emphasized in interviews that they had no intention of challenging the U.S. role as Asia's main military power, a fact of life here since World War II. U.S. power was on vivid display in East Asia after the Dec. 26 tsunami in southern Asia, with a U.S. carrier group dispatching helicopters to deliver food and medicine to hard-hit Indonesian towns while China's navy was nowhere on the horizon. But with 1.3 billion people, 3.7 million square miles of territory and a $1.4 trillion economy, China is the rising regional leader in other fields. This view has come into focus particularly over the last year, when U.S. diplomacy has seemed preoccupied with Iraq or anti-terrorism and China increasingly has asserted its pre-eminence. "There is now this feeling that we have to consult the Chinese," said Abdul Razak Baginda of the Malaysian Strategic Research Center. He added, "We have to accept some degree of Chinese leadership, particularly in light of the lack of leadership elsewhere."